Bilong-Bilong Marinated in Cane Vinegar


No, it’s not an entry to a “Design An Alien” contest… its a bilong-bilong fish and several others behind it stuffed into a glass bottle and marinated in superb Ilonggo cane vinegar with slices of ginger and other spices. There is a name for this, I just didn’t jot it down (could it be pinamalhang (thank you readers) bilong-bilong?). I think I was supposed to saute some tomatoes and onions and a bit of brown sugar and then add this fish for an incredibly delicious and tasty dish. But I mixed up the instructions and fried this instead. It was still delicious but I wish I had more to try the saute way…


I found the visual impact of the smushed fish to be oddly intriguing. Some folks might find it a bit disturbing, but I think this would make a wonderful display in a cold case at a food store. But maybe that’s just me… At any rate, another local delicacy from Bacolod and it’s environs… can you believe this is still part of the 40 hour trip a couple of weeks ago??? :)



38 Responses

  1. That looks yummy! I love bilong bilong. Pass the atsara and steaming white rice please!

  2. If it were “buro” or “binuro”, it would be packed in salt and allowed to ferment slightly (a couple of days?), then fried in vinegar. Bilong-bilong, or moonfish, is traditionally made into “paksiw” (or “paksiu”, as Negrenses say, with lots of garlic, iba [or kamias], and ginger), but can of course be cooked in a variety of ways.

  3. I think this should be purely vizayan delicacies “Bilongo” :)

    But I do like bottle fish…I always make bangus spanish style sardines on olive oil, Dulong in Olive oil, Squid in Olive oil etc….It’s so easy to make yet so delicous.

    I’ll try this one

  4. I wonder MM how much luggage you have at the end of the 2 weeks trip will all the shoppings you have done at the local market or you have to ship them separately :)

  5. I just love Lee’s ‘we-bilong’ comment! The Pinoy play on the English language has a lot of talented players! Mmmm…Today being fish Friday, the bilong with fried rice would be perfect!

    MM, what little food treasures you have managed from Negros in 40 hours! We all have enjoyed your foray into Negros. A return visit should be in your plans for 2009!

  6. good memories of a 40 hour trip could last you a lifetime..maybe you’ll be back again ”for more”………

    Lee is a Wordsmith–kon sa binisaya’, Pandaypulong..

  7. Jun b: How you make your dulong and squid in olive oil? Appreciate much sharing your trade secrets and ingredients.

  8. Maria Clara: can you get dulong there? I bought silver fish a while back and it is nowhere near dulong in texture. But I saw something that resembles dulong in Asian market…comes in dried form and frozen in blocks. They call it baitfish? Anyway, I think that will work for the marinated dulong. I am going to buy it today…

    Yeah, Jun B….can you post yours? I can only guess what it is supposed to taste like since I have never tasted it before. Does it taste something like adobo dulong or sinaing na dulong and then sauteed and marinated in olive oil?

    Maria Clara…check out ….jesuit gourmet blog!…they have a recipe for it ….must be good …sanctioned with DIVINE INFLUENCE!!!! I am going to try it…will let you know in the next few days!

  9. BettyQ: Silver fish is my dulong and you are absolutely correct nowhere close to our very own dulong. Big gap in taste but close enough to me. I cannot be choosy. I will keep my eyes open for baitfish. I am eagerly awaiting the result of your dulong in oil project. Thanks.

  10. Hi maria clara, sure will post it in a few hour. I’ll just need to send my daughter to her swimming class.

  11. There is nothing greater than “pinamalhan ng Bilon-bilon” then fried after. Yummy……….I used to eat this in my lola’s house. MM, is bilong-bilong called Chabeta or something here in Manila?

  12. Here’s what I do on Dulong in olive oil.

    1/2kg fresh dulong
    1/4 cup white wine
    1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
    1 tbsp finely chopped shallots
    1/4 cup vinegar
    sea salt
    frehly cracked black pepper
    1/2 pc lemon juice
    bay leaves
    extra virgin olive oil
    1 teaspoon lemon rind
    8oz bottle

    – Rinse dulong in water then soak it on about 1 tbsp of salt and vinegar for about 30 mins. Drain and set aside.

    – Saute garlic in about 1/4 cup olive oil (remove the garlic if you are bottling it)

    – Add in the chopped shallots saute for about 5 mins then
    – Add the dulong and about 1/2 cup of olives and wine.
    – sprinkle a dash of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
    – Add the lemon juice, 3-4 pcs small bay leaves and 10 pcs capers.
    – then simmer it at gently uncover for about 15-20 mins avoid not to stir too much then add in the lemon rind . Let it cool.

    Prepare at least 3pcs 8oz bottle make sure you boil them. Not sure about the exact amount as we always end up eating most of them before we bottle them :)

    Divide the dulong into the 8oz bottle, make sure you put at lease a pc of bay leaves and 2-3 pcs of capers then add extra virgin olive oil to fill the bottle. Seal the bottle and if you want it to the shelf life use a pressure cooker to vacuum seal it.

    Note:if you want it spicy drop a piece or two of birds eye pepper (Siling labuyo) slit it to infuse on every bottle of your dulong

    You may want to experiment with some herbs too like thyme, dill etc… if you got bored with it.

  13. Jun b thanks a million. Is it the same for squid except in place of dulong is squid?

  14. Thanks sooo much , too JunB! My niece just gave me a bottle from made by Joyce’s? …so now, I have a basis of comparison.

    Maria Clara…bought baitfish early today, and I did this just now. It is dried so I soaked it in warm water to reconstitute it. I think silver fish will work as well but you need to use a PRESSURE CANNER just like your bangus sardines! It will turn out to be more like a pate! Oh, I also added the white wine after caramelizing the shallots and let it reduce and added a TOUCH of chicken stock ….just a touch! (didn’t have fish stock). then added the dulong and the spices and herbs and let the liquid reduce. Then pack in jars, top each jar with a 1 CLOVE OF ROASTED GARLIC, thin slice of carrot flower, a slice of dill or sweet pickle and the chili! Then process in a regular canner or pressure canner. We had it for merienda…bruschetta topped with this and with strips of roasted pepppers….And saaaarrrrap!

    If you are using squid, MC, try to tenderize it. Squid …either you only cook it briefly OR simmer the …out of it to become tender before proceeding unlesss you are going to use again a pressure canner!

  15. hi mariaclara, yes u can do it on pusit too minus the wine and if u like it without the ink just remove the ink. For me I like it with ink as i normally mixed it with rice or pasta for an emergency dinner/lunch on an expected visitor. also I only sauté the sauce and the ink on garlic infuse olive oil then mix with red bell pepper, chopped white onions and tomato. for squid I find the white small squid better compare to the red one. wash them properly separate the ink sack on a small bowl with a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and a tbsp of red wine then use a strainer to remove the ink sack. after that I put the fresh squid in a sterelized bottle then pressure cook it for 5 mins. start the timer when steam start to appear on yr pressure cooker. the squid will continue to cook inside the bottle even after you turn off the fire. I find the squid tougher if u cook them longer so I tried not to overdo it so after turning off the fire I release the pressure to lessen the cooking time. I have not done I’d on a steamer but it should still come out nice. so good luck in fact I do a lot of cooking in a bottle as I use it as a gift. I bottle a lot seafood whenever I find time to do it then stock it as I find it useful as a gift or a quick meal.

  16. hi betty a, thanks for yr version will try it. also try bangus tinapa pate its heavenly. even our French visitor likes it.

  17. i am salivating.marketman,if you’re back in negros,you have to try the bunog in’s super small freshwater fish wrapped in banana leaves with camias and salt.then,grilled.ay sus,the fish just melts in your’s paired with magsanaya rice.heaven on earth.the farms along the mighty bago river and its tributaries have these fishes in abundance.
    my hubby bought sili from murcia son,roby has been dreaming of sili these past few weeks…our food heritage is being passed on to the next gen…

  18. BettyQ: I used silverfish in making Jun B’s and your tips dulong in oil and will never buy silverfish again. I cooked them in pressure cooker and did not disintegrate or fall apart instead they were like dried dilis in texture and each of them still one piece – the head and tail intact. The aroma of the cooked silverfish in oil is heavenly but did not have enough courage to try them. When I inquired from the market where the silverfish came from and was told from China. I firmly believe they used formaldehyde in them. I cannot find baitfish here. Did you say they are dried and frozen and the label says “baitfish” in it? Can you give me more description of them. Thank you much.

  19. Hey MC: I found the baitfish (yup. that’s what the label says! I had to put my eyeglasses on to make sure I am reading the right thing) in the frozen food section of the Asian store. It was packed in styrofoam trays like a small block of ice. It really looks like dulong, same size and shape. I think it is also available in Korean grocery stores. What I don’t understand is why they need to freeze it since it looks lke dried to me. What I made the other day is ubos na and I will buy it again this afternoon and make some more. I will take a closer look at the packaging. Will let you know later.

  20. BettyQ: Let me know also the country of origin. The best way I can describe the silverfish I made over the weekend they look like mummy. They shrunk tremendously but the fish is fully intact. Thanks again.

  21. MC….it says “frozen half dried white baitfish”…a Japanese product. It really looks like dulong!!!I couldn’t wait to cook it (didn’t bother soaking it anymore) so I just cooked it in the cooking liquid…..still masarap! I think you will be happy with this baitfish if you can find it. If you can’t, I will be more than happy to send you a care package as well!!! I will vacuum pack it. I also found frsh frozen anchovy, headless and cleaned. I will try it on the week-end, partially smoke it, and then flake it and cook it like this dulon in olive oil.

  22. BettyQ: thanks. I will look for them in Japanese markets. You mentioned in your other comments about filleting herring. I have seen them being filleted without any knife involved. What they do in one hand they anchored the tail part and with the dominant hand they secured the head part where the main bone is connected. Once that is done they just pulled the head with the rest of the bone intact including the guts towards the left so it is the stomach part of the fish. I will believe practice is the way to do this endeavor. After my awful experience with silverfish please do not buy them.

  23. Ok…MC: I still think there was something missing int he recipe I tried both Jesuit Gourmet’s and Jun B’s ( no offense to anyone!). My basis of comparison is JOyce’s (given by my niece which I am making tipid so I can compare). …and guess what! I added a touch of PICKLE JUICE….not much….just a touch!!! and it can compare to MS.JOYCE’S!!!!!!!. This is soooo neat. I just love experimenting!!!!

    Thanks for the info on silverfish. I think I will stay away from it too! I can live without deepfried silverfish!

    I don’t know if I can manage to fillet the herring without by trusted knife. But I will try it though!

    Mga Mrs. in B.C. …the fish I used is available at T & T. It only comes in 1 size.

  24. So sorry, MC! …got sidetracked before I can write this down, I pressed teh submit button….you know how Marc puts an obscene amount of bay leaves in his adobo? I also did that to this dulong experiment. You mentioned in past posts about dulong olive oil thet somehow there is an herb you can taste but cannot discern what it is….I think it is this obscene amount of bay leaves….It is a good thingI have a laurel tree in the backyard!

    But here is my two cents worth on the dulong thingey, MC! This is doable back home since dulong is far cheaper than here undoubtedly! I much prefer doing this using lightly smoked chinook (readily available here and there as well)…oily and has that melt in your mouth quality. PLUS, it will yield a LOT Of bottled smoked salmon spread

  25. No problem with me betty Q, That’s the beauty of of sharing recipe it can be improved by someone like you who have the scientific knowledge to make every dish a better one. I’m sure you can taste from your mind as you think how you can improve that dish. The dulong I always buy here is a cooked one which is somehow taste better on bottle dulong in olive oil. Although from time to time I find fresh one which I normally steam on a banana leaf.

  26. BettyQ: You are the counterpart of Albert Einstein in the kitchen and greatly appreciate all the outcome of your new kitchen adventures and giving out your tips and pointers. I imagine the chinook will go well in bottled olive oil and will be received by your siblings, friends and associates. You unravel the secret. Laurel tree survive the cold winter? Oh it must be a great advantage just to nip a branch everytime you need some leaves. BettyQ: since smoking is also one of your many talents. There was this lady at farmer’s market here that used to sell smoked whole garlic bulb. Yes, the whole garlic is smoked but there is no sign it is burned. Only the skin changed color to dark beige but the garlic has a pronounced smoke taste but it is still raw like fresh garlic. It is very good in fried rice and pasta. I suspect she smoked the garlic without introducing any heat to the garlic. Tinker with this and let us know.

  27. BettyQ: I got the whitebait fish from the Japanese market. It says right on the label they are steamed and dried so I tried one. It tastes like our dulong totally different from silverfish taste and texture. Again, thank you much for the tips and pointers.

  28. dulce gatas from silay and half moon! i remember introducing dulce gatas to somebody not from negros and she ended up using it as “palaman” or sandwich spread hehe. she liked it anyway.

  29. there’s ready to eat bilong bilong at pendy’s! check it out! one container with lots of bilong bilong and garlic. you can eat it out of the container or heat it for a while in the microwave. i make sure i have stock of this in my fridge! 1 serving of rice with this bilong bilong is usually not enough…

  30. you know what i do with dulce gatas from silay? i place it in a ramekin and serve with a pate’ knife along with those crispy piayitos of casa carmela which i discovered on board a pal flight to vancouver. what a yummy combination. i ask a friend from bacolod to buy the dulce gatas at pendy’s and the piayitos at negros showroom.



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