Fried Tawilis For Lunch…

Deep-fried small tawilis are a real treat. I have written about these fish before, here and here, and could eat these quite often, but they are scarce and I limit our enjoyment of them to 2-3 times a year. Fried tawilis are light, flavorful, crisp, salty and perfect with a nice squeeze of fresh lemon juice or dipped into spicy vinegar.

I found extremely fresh looking tawilis at the FTI market early on Saturday, and paid PHP120 a kilo for them. A pain in the neck to clean, but well worth the effort. I hope they figure out how to raise these in fish farms so that the supply increases rather than decreases in the years to come…


26 Responses

  1. I agree that they are best simply salted and fried. With some white rice on the side. =)

  2. Yum…some of the things I’ve missed on my visit. Have only seen gg and tilapia at one of the resorts I’ve been and wished that the other places had more grilled fish than the saucy counterparts. Aaahhh, that would be good for breakfast today on a rainy, cloudy day here with fried rice, fried egg and spicy vinegar on the side!

  3. Hi MM, are you familiar with sukang pinakurat (available now in S & R )? Dip your tawilis in it’s slightly spicy, all-yummy goodness, with quartered tomatoes and pako salad…teehee.

  4. Hello, MM. Fried tawilis is one of my favorites but I haven’t tried it for a long time. It takes a lot of time to clean it. I’ve seen some people from Taal, Batangas just usually wash them well, then fry or grill them without removing the innards. Is this really how they do it?

    Thank you and more power!

  5. when in the US I load up on Wild Planet sardines (Whole Foods or as my cousin says…Whole Paycheck)! Not even close to fried ones but satisfying enough.

  6. Yum! With tomatoes and calamansi and a little sea salt with lots of rice. Maybe some manga and bagoong. Then a long nap after (no bangungut, please). I can almost taste it.

  7. oh– this is good! tawilis (may be from taal lake … along with ayungin). i have crispy-fried tawilis with garlic-fried rice (preferably ‘lamig’ thai jasmine), salted egg-tomato-sili as siding, and pinakurat/waykurat from iligan. i tend to sip-up whatever is left of my sawsawan after the meal …

  8. Love tawilis if it wasn’t so hard to find. Deep fried with rice flour it us very crunchy.

  9. Apparently fish pond culture of tilapia on Lake Taal is reducing tawilis numbers, and a suggestion is to seed other lakes with tawilis foe survival of the species.

  10. Grilled tawilis was one of my father’s favorite dish. Brings back good, old memories. Fresh tawilis is always yummy! Unfortunatley, I don’t see them here in the Bay Area.

  11. cora, that’s because tawilis is endemic to the philippines, only thrive in taal lake

  12. I love my tawilis with fresh tomatoes, a little white onions, some calamansi and patis and a bunch of cilantro. Heaven in every mouthful.

  13. I see it here once in a while in Sainsbury i always stock up when I do see it, you could see the amusement of the fish monger, but what can i say i love the stuff.( best comfort food ever)

  14. pwede rin po cya paksiw wrapped in banana leaf….partner would be fried rice naman…that’s what my mother used to prepare for breakfast…with hot chocolate!!!

  15. we do not remove the innards any more. just good washing especially of the gills to remove mud, if any. salted, dusted with flour and fried until crispy. everything eaten – head, bones and innards!

  16. Connie C, thanks for that link, and yes, trying times. It used to be, eat almost whatever we find in the market, today, we have to think twice. Personally, I have stopped eating sharks fin soup for maybe 15 years, when I saw first hand a sharks fin factory in Surabaya, Indonesia. I also do not eat bird’s nest soup, not because it is endangered, but because they sometimes steal the nests before the young use them, and dozens of folks die yearly clambering up to harvest the nests. I stopped buying anything new with tortoise shell, though I LOVE it as a material. I no longer buy specimen shells, though my mother and I had a fantastic collection of them from 30 years ago. No more ivory at all… but will happily buy a crocodile bag if farmed… The last time I had beluga caviar, it was OFF the CITES list… but not sure if it is back on now… there are just too many of us, too little of the critters we like to eat… :)

  17. Sad to say, I haven’t tried this type of fish…I’ll try to look out for it in the market… :-)

  18. have you tried the sinaing na tawilis wrapped on banana leaves with slice of fat and kamias with sliced tomato sibuyas na tagalog and paho.

  19. MM, is tawilis the same as the sardines that we eat here at Monterey Bay? We always have plenty of fresh sardines at the farmers market.

  20. Meg, tawilis is from the same family…closely related to the typical sardines. Only difference is that tawilis thrives in fresh water, compared to the rest of the species which are all salt water dwellers. Probably when the extinct volcano in Taal became a fresh water lake…some salt water species of fish like tawilis evolved to survive in fresh water.



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