Buwad / Daing / Dried Fish

The original objective for traipsing to the Tagbilaran Public Market last Saturday buwad1was to stock up on “buwad or bulad” (for Visayans) or “daing” (for Luzonians) or dried fish (or other denizens of the sea like squid) for our household back in Manila. I figured if I bought enough I could stick it in a box, check it into the hold of the PAL jet that would whisk me back to Manila the next day. I was in Cebu for several days before Bohol and I was extremely busy otherwise I would have visited the Carbon Market and Tabuan, the enormous and pungent dried fish market that handles millions of kilos of buwad every year. Cebuanos, like many other provincial residents, love their dried fish. Millions and millions of fish are harvested, split open and de-gutted, liberally sprinkled with salt and left out to dry in the hot sun. These fish are laid on screens so that the process of air and sun drying can occur faster. The salt is necessary to prevent deadly bacteria from forming on the surface of the fish. Once the fish are dry enough, they can be stored for months without risk of deterioration.

At the Tagbilaran market, there were several buwad vendors so buwad2I wandered around and picked out the one stall that seemed to have a lot of stock on offer. Right beside the retail area, the stall had several workers who were processing newly arrived dried fish. Apparently, one has to take a small brush (like a nail brush) and brush off the mold or unsightly salt remnants from each piece of dried fish! Talk about labor intensive! The dried fish are then stacked on baskets and can be packaged up in plastic and heat sealed if you so desire. At PHP70-480 per kilo depending on type of fish, a large stall must have at least PHP50,000 – 100,000 worth of dried fish inventory! Max was the proprietor of the stall I settled on transacting with. Shy guy this Max, as it took some convincing to get him in a photo of the stall. He was amiable enough, didn’t give much discount, but his stuff looked top notch and now that I have returned home, tastes terrific!

I have two all-time buwad favorites: boneless danggit and buwad3what tagalogs refer to simply as tuyo (which can be lots of different fish but I like the bony ones). The boneless danggit of Max were superb. Large or small, the bones had been extracted and the stuff fried up nice and crisp. At PHP420 a kilo, it sounds like a lot but that must have been at least 5 kilos of live wait danggit to make a kilo of boneless dried fish. I can sit happily at breakfast with several fried buwad na danggit, a sawsawan (dip) of spicy vinegar, a large plate of steaming rice and a fried egg or two mixed in. This is the ultimate comfort food and there is nothing anywhere in the world that comes close to it. Whereas for tinapa, I can substitute kippers elsewhere on the planet.

The dried squid also looked good so I bought a kilo of that as well for PHP440. buwad4Either fried or barbecued, it possesses a unique taste that must be acquired early in life. I much prefer danggit or tuyo but once in a while it’s nice to have some dried squid. Also good with vinegar and chillis. I bought several other kinds of buwad and managed to fill a medium sized box with over 5 kilos of the stuff. That should easily last our household a month or more. While I love the taste of buwad or daing, I do not like the lingering smell after it has been fried up in the kitchen… anyone have any ideas how to rid the kitchen/house of the pungent odor besides boiling up a pot of vinegared water???


30 Responses

  1. Mm magdala ako nang suka na may siling labuyo at kuwatro kantos na San Miguel gin ,ok ba? Mm totoo yang sinabi mo mahirap alisin ang amoy kaya sa labas nang bahay ko linuluto pag tuyo ang ulam o kaya may bagoong o kaya may patis.

  2. Fire up a nice-smelling Cereo scented candle, Marketman! That does it for me — wisdom of a condo-dweller.

  3. danggit – hmm miss ko na yan… i like it really crispy yung tipong halos walang ka ititira! he he he . . hirap nga lang dito – pag nagluto ka ng ganyan kakatukin ka ng next door or worse – isusumbong ka sa management! sangkaterbang kandila (nakalagay “odor eater” eh), while doing the frying – tapos after cooking, spray kaagad ng diluted pine scent (green) dettol sa kabahayan and of course open lahat ng windows!! :)

  4. hay kakagutom.. :) What we do aside from exhaust attached to the ceiling is on.. me mga electric fans..facing the door and windows.. massive air ba :) so after frying the dried fish wala ng amoy.. Yun nga lang not sure if mga kapitbahay di nagagalit. Mga foreigner pa naman :)

  5. I didn’t realize that the “fishy smell” can linger for a while in the kitchen back home. Appetizing as they may be, the smell of fried dried fish can last for a week over here which is the reason why I try to avoid cooking them in my flat. The smell sticks on wall papers and curtains and on everything. To get rid of the smell, I wash the kitchen with some lemon aroma all-purpose detergent and leave the windows open for at least the whole day. Dried fish is an absolute no-no for me during winter. The smell can last forever! A friend of mine once had a problem with his Viennese neighbor who called the police when the offensive smell of fried tuyo my friend was cooking covered the whole corridor of the flat where she used to live. Thanks though for the writeup.

  6. I agree totally with your sentiments on danggit! A tuyo variant that I like is sap-sap. I actually have no idea what that fish is, but it’s small and flat on its side (ok, BIG help, I know). The heads are my favorite when they are super crunchy…I just dip the whole head in vinegar (sinamac) and pop it in my mouth, followed by a mouthful of rice…YUM!

  7. ayayay, you’re killing me with this post. i haven’t had danggit in YEARS. odors be darned. i LOVE the smell of frying fish my kids come running when they smell it. nowadays i have to content myself with jeprox (no comparison, i know), as i’m at the mercy of whoever comes here from home. i always make bilin but i don’t know if they’re just lazy or if it’s true that this stuff can be hard to find in manila.

  8. kalami dyud sa buwad! only one person can romantisize a lowly food such as dried fish and that is marketman! Fire up the frying pan!! u did it again dude!! :)

  9. darn!!! i knew I should have eaten danggit everyday for a month before I left the philippines! now seeing this post makes me want to butterfly, salt and sun dry the first fish I can lay my hands on.

    mm there’s also a semi-dried version of danggit called “lamayo” or rather its the drying technique thats called “lamayo” as i’ve seen other fish labelled as such. if i’m correct this is done more in the Palawan area. the semi-dried result is that you get both the salty flavour and meaty texture of the fish rather than fish jerky : ), the only setback of this technique is that the product is not as storage friendly as it has to be frozen or refrigerated. think I’ve seen some in the saturday salcedo market (sadly, my last market day before leaving I sorely missed due to the rains last saturday)

  10. to get rid of any smell in the kitchen, just put ice cubes in a basin and once it melts, all the bad smell due to frying is gone.

  11. Bubut, how novel, I have never heard of that method at all. Any thoughts why it might work? Does the melting ice attract airborne oils or odor? Cool.

  12. Bro, me again in Tagbilaran – your site is so good, I had to visit again to read up on my personal all-time favorite comfort food – buwad. Since moving here in ’85, I’ve learned how to dry my own fish, and by far, my favorite is the small surgeonfish (“labahita” up north, “indangan” down here, but specifically, these small (4-5″) surgeonfish they call “langis” down here)that school in groups of 15-25 along the fringing reefs of the visayan islands… After gutting and butterflying each fish, rub with sea salt and chopped garlic. Then dry in midday sun, 5 to 6 hours. On the evening of the same day, fire up the barbie, then grill each fish evenly, turning once. Eat with your preffered vinegar/calamansi/sili dip, fluffy white rice, and for me, a salad of grilled eggplant, tomato, and finely sliced onion.

    On damping the odor: spread about a cup of ground coffee (or nescafe even – save the lavazza for after dinner) thinly in a shallow baking pan and place it very near the pan you fry the buwad in. Most of the odors get absorbed by the coffee. Try it.

  13. To dampen the odor, we boil a cup of water with a tablespoon of cinnamon powder while cooking. Cinnamon helps get rid of the odor and leaves you with a Christmas-y scent instead!

  14. mmmhhhpp………….. wow ang sarap nang lasa nang daing na pusit lalo na pag may suka at sili,,,,ang sarap talaga para nang lechon ang ulam mo,,,,,,,,,,,,jejeje wag lang nga araw arawin baka magkaroon kapa nang kidney!!!!!!!!1 beware………….

  15. i love it. i used to eat dried fish everywhere i go..hnahnap ko tlga to. kht eto lang ang baon namin ng friends ko sa kainggit okey na..ggnahan kang kumain kc

  16. i want daing because im dying oh huhuhuhuh pls who wants to give me free daing pleaseeeeeeeeeee!!!!

  17. same here, my husband and kids will have a Lysol spray ready and start spraying as soon as, the dried fish hit the skillet. so if I have some, I cook them all at one time and get it over with. eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  18. you know there’s a whole plethora of dried fish/squid/eel varieties that aren’t found elsewhere but only in the visayan region. i tried searching for the equivalent local varieties of the ‘tuyo’ in metro manila, ilocos and cagayan valley regions. to my dissapointment, they all mostly sell the more of the same thing – “galunggong”. not that i hate it. it’s just too flaky and messy to cook with. so i just wish that the art of dried fish making in cebu would be emulated everywhere. that way we can enjoy those crisp fried danggit without having to go down to cebu. aight?

  19. hello, can u talk more regarding dried fish so that i can gathered more information for my thesis? thank!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!u know what i really like the way u explain dried fish. i admire u………hope u may contenue talk and talk about it so that i can learned more…………..GOD BLESS,,,,, more power

  20. ganahan ko mokaon ug buwad, very effective appetizer siya pero mangatol man ko kon mokaon ana. I would not recommend it to my kids to eat buwa kay mao sad ang effect sa ilaha.

  21. bulad is delicious especially if kamayan..its a good appetizer and can make you eat plenty of rice..

  22. hi guys. you might want to try our crispy dried fish that we get from sindangan, zamboanga del norte. it is looks like our ordinary tuyo but a bit smaller. it is expertly dried under the sun with minimum salt, making it crispy from head to tail when fried. available at a wholesale price of P90 per kilo, a good bargain considering that it’s P120 per kilo at the market. contact me if your interested. :)

  23. I’m not really sure which one works to get rid of that smell when frying dried fish. why dont you try frying it while melting butter in another frying pan, well you can add bacon in it if you want and that brings out a better smell. Butter has its own strong but good smell which also sticks on the kitchen. Maybe… Just maybe, it will overcome the smell of dried fish. Lets try that dude and see which one wins? Hmmmn!!! I guess our stomach wins! nyahahahaha!!!!

  24. Is it supposed to smell like a rotting road kill carcass!?
    That’s exactly what it smells like to me.

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