06 Feb2005

Hapless first time traveler to U.S. customs officer in San Francisco airport: “dat?, dat sir is daing…”. Customs officer to hapless first time traveler: “honey, that ain’t dying, that there is dead!” atinapa1I kid you not, I heard this once flying into the United States in the early 1980’s. I nearly died of amusement. Poor lady probably just couldn’t see life without her beloved dried fish. Or worse, hapless traveler’s silly relatives thought she wouldn’t get caught. Tinapa and daing are acquired tastes that nearly every Filipino has acquired before they reach 5 years of age. There is nothing like dipping a morsel of smoked or dried fish into some favorite vinegar and consuming it with copious amounts of steamed rice, typically for breakfast!

Recently, I even took liberties with my South Beach Diet and renamed it the “South Forbes Diet” with a breakfast of scrambled eggs (one yolk and two whites), shredded tinapang galunggong, chopped tomatoes and vinegar. High protein and low carbohydrates, yum. I lost 9 pounds in two weeks. Go figure.

Tinapa or smoked fish seems to be a relatively universal way for preserving food. Essentially, you take the fish, slice it open, remove it’s guts and blood. Then you wash the fish and soak it in a salt and water solution that is 1 part salt to 8 parts water. atinapa3The fish is then dipped in boiling salted water that is 1 part salt and 10 parts water until the “eyes are white”. Then arrange the fish in smoking trays layered with banana leaves and drain the fish for 15 minutes. Store the fish for about 3 hours in a cool dry place before smoking. Then smoke the fish at about 32-38 degrees Celsius for 1-2 hours depending on the level of heat and until the color is a burnished deep golden brown. Cool the smoked fish then brush with a little vegetable oil. This recipe is from a Philippine government website. I have never made my own tinapa and prefer to buy it…

Dried fish is a little simpler to make. Slice the fish open and remove its guts and blood. atinapa4Wash well and dip in a bowl of salted water. Lay out on drying screens and sprinkle with more salt and dry in the sun until all moisture has been removed. Cover with a net if you want to keep the flies at bay. I just completely buy the story that solar energy kills off all the potential cooties. I have never made my own daing and prefer to buy it…

So where do I get my tinapa and daing? The last year or so I have been buying from Nery Manalo near the center of the AANI FTI Saturday market. Her stall is relatively easy to find as it is stocked chock-full of dozens of types of tinapa and daing. She hails from Rosario Cavite where she makes some of her tinapa while gathers other types from around the country. Her cell phone is 09172749613. My current favorite is tinapang galunggong (female, not male) which when fried up is a meaty, smoky fish that absorbs vinegar well. At P140 a kilo, there are roughly 10+ fish depending on size and they are enjoyed immensely by everyone in our house. If you like the smaller salinas fish (with tons of bones that are edible if you like) these are good as well. Being from Cebu, I also cannot pass up a breakfast of dried danggit – that impossibly thin fish that is crisp and delicious when fried up. Depending on my mood I switch from Del Monte vinegar to artisanal cane vinegar or sometime red wine vinegar to dip the smoked or dried fish in. Chopped red birdseye chillis (siling labuyo) are a must.

Nery, the provedoress, also had smoked small shrimp that I took a photograph of but have not tried. atinapa2She also had daing and tinapang tawilis, dilis, etc. Made in Cavite, Edith’s tinapa are good for several days when refrigerated and several weeks if frozen. She has also started to stock tinapa and daing from other sources (she does not make it herself) in order to have a broader selection at her stall.

Those living abroad may be interested to know that kippers or kippered herring comes reasonably close to some meatier types of tinapa. If you heat up kippers, fry up an egg or two, splash on some cider vinegar and serve with steamed rice and eat with your eyes closed you would think you were back home. It always makes me smile when i visit the food halls at Harrods in London and several Filipinas are at the smoked fish section getting kippers…



  1. Jose Rio B. Aguirre says:


    Maybe you could help me, am an OFW working here Jeddahj, Saudi Arabia, and I’m interested to know the process on how to make tinapa. Please if you could send some information regarding this matter.

    Thanks and best regards,
    Jose Rio B. Aguirre

    Mar 8, 2005 | 8:33 pm


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  3. Marketman says:

    I have never made tinapa myself but my entry describes the method. Parboiling fish then wrapping in banana leaves then smoking with a wood sourced smoke. Marketman was in Riyadh last year for a few weeks of work and I noticed several English stores such as Debenhams or other department stores. If they have food sections you may want to try and see if they sell smoked kippers, a kind of fish that has a similar quality to tinapa (but bigger) and with suka is a good substitute. You many have difficulty finding banana leaves, the right fish, and an area to smoke them if you are planning to do it on your own. I searched several sites to try and find you a detailed recipe but was not successful. Best regards.

    Mar 9, 2005 | 7:55 am

  4. A. Matias says:

    I have fresh and can provide smoked galunggong, caught fresh and can freeze in any quantity. If interested please contact ASAP. Thank you

    Apr 17, 2005 | 4:03 am

  5. yumi says:

    please teach me how to cook tinapa

    Dec 30, 2005 | 1:04 am

  6. Carlo says:

    Nice article. I need help on a dish. Does anyone knows how to prepare Spanish sardines making use of Salinas fish? If you guys know please email me! =) I appreciate the help!!!


    Jun 1, 2006 | 3:14 pm

  7. Marketman says:

    Carlo, sorry, I don’t have a clue how to make spanish sardines…I hope other readers see this and leave a comment… yumi, tinapa is something that is quite difficult to do in small batches… and I don’t actually have the recipe…

    Jun 1, 2006 | 9:38 pm

  8. Jude A. Sanga says:

    Hello fellow kababayans! I’m a housewife and presently into tinapa business, if your living abroad and interested to sell tinapas especially boneless bangus (milkfish) tinapa just contact or text me, by the way i’m from Cavite City, Philippines.
    cellphone number: 00639202252089

    Jul 17, 2006 | 7:49 am

  9. tscandalizajr says:

    iam a food processing and preservation student. what are the materials needed to make a “smoker” and how it is constructed? what kinds of wood are good to use for “smoking” the fish. can anyone help me. thanks in advance!

    Jul 22, 2006 | 12:20 pm

  10. Marketman says:

    tscandalizajr, your best bet is to see the process in actually action…try and interview tinapa manufacturers where they actually make the tinapa…try the numbers of folks above and the one in the post itself…

    Jul 22, 2006 | 1:02 pm

  11. Nel says:

    directions to AANI FTI please! =) wanna get some of that tinapa and vigan longgonisa

    Jul 25, 2006 | 7:52 pm

  12. Marketman says:

    AANI Market on Saturdays is at the FTI (Food Terminal Inc) complex in Taguig. You need to take the service road from the Pasong Tamo Extension going South until the FTI Main Gate. Once at the main gate, enter, take first right then about 150 meters down the road to the left is the Market. Guards at the gate can also direct you.

    Jul 25, 2006 | 9:46 pm

  13. millet says:

    carlo, it is very easy to make spanish-style “sardines”, using either salinas, bangus or whatever fish. clean the fish very well, (it’s up to you to leave the heads and scales on or off). then soak in heavily salted cold water for about 30 minutes. this brining step is to ensure that your sardines remain firm and do not taste fishy after cooking. wash and drain very well. line the bottom of a pressure cooker with a banana leaf or foil, put the fish in one layer (whole if tamban/salinas, sliced if bangus), sprinkle with salt, whole peppercorns, some chopped siling labuyo, and one or two bayleaves. these are the basics. pour in about a cup of olive oil, OR half a cup olive oil and 1 cup corn oil, and about a cup of water. make sure the fish is covered with liquid, with a little more to spare. cover and pressure cook for about 45 minutes. make sure you turn the heat to low once you hear the hiss of the pressure cooker so your sardines don’t dry up. i like to check after about 30 minutes of cooking (of course you have to carefully release the pressure first before removing the lid! )to check if the bones have softened sufficiently, and if the seasoning is right. i usually need about 15 minutes more pressure cooking time. this is the basic recipe, and i suggest you try this first, and then be creative when you have it all down pat. sometimes i like to add half a cup of brandy or rum, or a few dashes of knorr liquid seasoning, or liquid smoke. you may add 1 or 2 whole shallots, one sliced carrot, some sweet pickles, sliced bell pepper, etc. add all of these before cooking.

    Sep 1, 2006 | 8:18 am

  14. JOHN D. RAMOS says:

    can anyone please send recipe for tinapa making? im here in middle east, and i would like to make my own tinapa. or sell tinapa if possible! thanks for your help in advance!

    Oct 3, 2006 | 7:37 pm

  15. Marketman says:

    John, sorry, that is a question asked many times before and I am unable to help beyond the description up above… I have asked the vendors and they have even received calls from my readers from the middle east, but they suggest that you see it in action to learn how to do it… it doesn’t sound that easy to replicate in the middle east…

    Oct 3, 2006 | 8:25 pm

  16. JOHN D. RAMOS says:

    marketman, thanks for your time anyway. hope someone will help me on this. anyway i’ll be visiting this site from time to time. this site will give a lot of help for us working here in abroad. more power and God Bless.

    Oct 4, 2006 | 3:59 am

  17. Jerry A. Villaverde says:

    Does anyone knows where I can buy electric or gas device to make smoked fish. I’ve seen in ating alamin(TFC) by Ka Gerry Geronimo but I coudn’t open their website.Please help me..Thanks…(Jerry A. Villaverde, Riyadh-KSA)

    Mar 13, 2007 | 9:11 pm

  18. Jerry A. Villaverde says:

    Please send it to my email. jerry_villaverde@yahoo.com (mobile no. 966569134518)thanks again..

    Mar 13, 2007 | 9:21 pm

  19. Bennie Lopez Lawang says:

    Million thanks for this recipe. I will give it a try ASAP.All the best kabayan. cheers bennie melbourne australia

    Apr 25, 2007 | 6:27 pm

  20. Grace Martinez Al-Saed says:

    I am housewife in Kuwait. My husband though he is a foreigner, fun in eating tinapa. That’s the reason why I would like to learn how to make it. Could anyone help me and share to me the recipes of making tinapa? It is possible to make it the oven? Please help. Send reply to my email : pretty_girl13110@yahoo.com (Mobile No. 00965-7971314). Thanx.

    Jul 8, 2007 | 6:18 pm

  21. Marketman says:

    Grace, as far as I know, there is no shortcut to making tinapa, that is smoked for a long time in several layers on a fire… If I were you, being in Kuwait, hit an English department store with a food hall and buy smoked kippers, they approximate tinapa fairly well…

    Jul 8, 2007 | 6:43 pm

  22. Renz says:

    How to smoke tinapa fish

    Jul 22, 2007 | 7:31 pm

  23. Marketman says:

    Renz, your question has been asked many times above, and as before, the answer is, I don’t know. It isn’t so easy, apparently…

    Jul 22, 2007 | 7:33 pm

  24. lyn says:

    how to make daing?

    Nov 26, 2007 | 8:08 pm

  25. mar says:

    me i ask how to make a tinapa,can u pls! send me a exact procedure on how to prepared a diliciuos tinapa

    Jan 12, 2008 | 12:13 am

  26. Marketman says:

    mar, please read this other post that I wrote on how to make tinapa. That’s the best I can do for you in terms of a recipe…

    Jan 12, 2008 | 5:49 am

  27. jarah says:

    i am a packaging engineering student from iloilo city.. i just want to know what are the common packaging for dried fish here in phillipines.. i don’t have enough knowledge about it.. we are having a study project on this topic.. maybe you could help me.. we are studying this to improve the market of dried fish here in philippines .. we are the first packaging engineering students here in philippines.. maybe in future we can help our dried fish industry and philippine delicacies… thank you.. please send your reply in : leejarah@yahoo.com… thank you

    Feb 25, 2008 | 3:48 pm

  28. Marketman says:

    jarah, as far as I know, plastics are the only packaging used, if any at all. Besides banana leaves in some markets.

    Feb 25, 2008 | 3:58 pm

  29. Jaf says:

    Hi! I want to engage in dried fish business but I do not know where to sell it. Please help find locations or areas where people usually buys dried fish in bulk. Thank you!

    Mar 20, 2008 | 2:23 am

  30. sylvia says:

    im into appropriate tech and i make tinapa using a simple device. in a kawali, put a cup of bigas(rice) the cheap quality or rice hulls or palay, whichever is available. on top of the rice layer, sprinkle 2 tbsp of brown sugar. Put a rack (or a wire mesh) over the sugar and rice, at least 3-4 inches away. On this wire mesh, arrange your soaked and blanched fish. Cover the kawali and heat to slow medium. When the rice starts to burn,the sugar will produce a sweet smelling smoke and will fill your covered kawali and smoke your fish beautifully. Lower your fire to low and wait for 30 min to 1 hours, depending on how smoked you want your fish to be.

    Mar 29, 2008 | 7:54 pm

  31. Richard Delayco says:

    Hi there can you help me, I’m interested on the preservations of dried fish in olive oil like herring fish or any other fish available, do you have some procedures on how to do it? thanks very much in advance marketman….love ur articles

    Apr 13, 2008 | 7:31 am

  32. jeth lamangan says:

    Just want to comment on the way we do our smoked fish. From my researches of making smoked fish , the fish are not parboiled after brining. Is this the reason why most of our tinapa sold in the market does not looked smoked but rather smoked paint to make it looked like smoked? I’m interested in making smoked fish to augment my income and so I did researches on how other countries do it. I even did some and I’m on the proess of making and marketing them. It is different from what is sold in our markets.

    One thing, why is our tinapa placed in a newspaper as matting? Is it safe when we know that newspaper has chemicals on it because of the prints?

    Jan 13, 2009 | 7:34 pm

  33. lui says:

    accdg to my taste buds, best tasting tinapa fish are of the herring family, ie., tamban, kabasi etc. And of course,bangus (non-herring spc.). the other species of fish for tinapa? p’wede na. p’wede kaysa wala.

    Mar 8, 2009 | 3:28 am

  34. caesar castillo says:

    all you need to know in processing smoked fish or tinapa the original way how its done here in cavite (julugan) tanza . most of the tinapa sold in manila came here. as you may noticed the taste smell and saltiness depends on the formula in the brine or “berokan” salt and water solution for boiling the fishes before smoking. the next step is smoking… the composition of wood do affects the smell and taste . local furniture shops are a great source of “tatals” or rough wood carvings debris. are used inside makeshift oven for smoking fish. my wife is an excellent producer of tinapa and daing here in cavite… queries are welcome at 09215582550 or email me at caesarz3@yahoo.com dealers and enterprenuer welcome po.

    Apr 17, 2009 | 11:19 pm

  35. maricel says:

    hello guys…
    im a dried fish supplier of good quality dried fish from masbate if u need a dried fish supplier just text me here, 639283893761 or email me, curtmarlove@yahoo.com

    Apr 20, 2009 | 10:12 am

  36. Dexter Camba says:

    Dito ako sa Bohol. Can u refer me to a tinapa maker in the province?

    Apr 26, 2009 | 10:20 pm

  37. maxlom says:

    Hello Marketman,
    I want toknow how to make Dried Tuyo.


    Apr 27, 2009 | 12:30 pm

  38. Charles C. Paloma says:

    I want technology or equipment in preserving fish through dry in any climate condition> What i mean is wet and dry season.

    May 7, 2009 | 1:50 pm


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