Seafood has become so pricey in recent years, that it seems much of the Filipino diet has shifted to cheaper carbohydrates and often chicken as the main source of protein (if one can even afford the protein). It’s sad really, for a country with so many islands and previously such bounty from the sea. Even dried fish like danggit is now fetching PHP600 a kilo at close to the source, and perhaps as much as PHP900 a kilo in parts of Manila. Provincial markets once groaning with seafood are now often half-empty and the fish seem to be getting smaller and smaller.
Growing up, my parents were huge fans of seafood, and we had fish VERY OFTEN, either from overnight sport fishing trips my dad took from Batangas to around Lubang island or as far as Mindoro, and whose catch in several styrofoam coolers were prepped and frozen for later consumption, or from market forays to that yielded a lot of good deals. Dad also dabbled in fishponds in Quezon (lots of prawns and mud crabs that ate the precious prawns) as well as places on the coast of Pangasinan for other farmed fish. Like many Filipinos, I like several kinds of fish deep fried, but I also like them steamed, or baked or poached. I love squid, shrimp, crabs, etc. I like dried fish, fresh fish, and even fermenting fish and shrimp in the form of guinamos or bagoong.
So my question is, what are your top 5 seafood dishes? What do you prepare at home often, or order when you eat out at restaurants? What do you miss the most or look forward to eating after a lengthy absence from the country? I would love to read your picks, favorites and most pined for Filipino seafood dishes… Thanks!