Lapu-lapu Buwad / Semi-dried Grouper


Talk about jurassic fish. At the tail end of my visit to the Tabo-an market in Cebu (see previous post), I was pointed in the direction of some semi-dried lapu-lapu (grouper). Apparently a local specialty, I was assured it was scrumptious and coveted by buwad (dried fish) aficionados, so how could I resist these creatures at just PHP380 a kilo? I bought one kilo (one large and three medium fish) and they promptly sealed it in a plastic bag and I brought it back to Manila in checked baggage along with my basket of Cebu mangoes. Back home the next day, I inspected the bag of fish and much to my absolute and FEAR FACTOR-type HORROR, it was crawling with worms which frankly looked like maggots (probably were maggots). Eew and yech is right!!! But oddly, the cook and everyone who hails from Cebu dismissed my squeamishness by saying we just had to dry it a bit more to rid it of its live beings…

Apparently these bothersome maggot thingees are a FREQUENT sight when you are drying the fish…a detail I simply did not need to know, thank you. I already ate live sea urchins a few days ago, adding fresh maggots to the list was just taking it a bit too far. At any rate, with ultimate provincial seaside wisdom, and a few hours in the summer sun, they did in fact get rid of the unappetizing buggers. And the fish are now ready for that quintessential Cebuano vegetable dish/soup known universally as just “utan.” Depending on what is on hand, a broth flavored by fish or dried or semi-dried fish is the base for vegetables such as squash, malunggay, beans, okra, eggplant, etc. and I will feature it in a post very soon. I imagine that this buwad would also be extremely good deep fried and served with some of my chilli vinegar but I have to get the vision of creepy crawlies out of my head before I go that route…


14 Responses

  1. ew maggots?? well, it’s what some “holistic medical practitioners” put on open wounds…to eat the necrotic parts i guess. so that means that the buwad you have now is clean! and free from bacteria… ew… :)

  2. Speaking of maggots, I remember there was a time when our maid bought tinapang bangus from the market and then later on maggots appeared on the fish. It really grossed us out at home and we just threw away the whole lot. It took me sometime before I got over it and ate tinapa again. I wonder if this is normal or if this is just an “exposure” issue — if the fish is exposed for drying or smoking, then flies might be around? Ugh, sorry, I am caught up in this maggot thing….I guess your next post will be more appetizing…

  3. yukkies!!!….i might not be able to eat dried fish in the immediate future for now especially the way you describe it Mr.MM..

  4. Ha ha ha – and I had dried fish this morning for breakfast! Imagine if I read your post a tad too early.

  5. dried fish got maggots because they are not fully dried and the salt put in it to preserve is not enough. So we really have to be very careful in buying dried fish especially if its prepared here in Manila.

  6. the utan you refer to we also call it binas-oy, or bas-oy. goes perfect with dried fish, and some warm steamed rice.

    Hukadddd!!! :)

  7. Eeew! Maggots couldn’t be normal when drying fish, right? I mean, flies lay their eggs only on decomposing flesh and the fish should be dried immediately before it has a chance to start decomposition. Granted that the lack of moisture and the salt will eventually kill all bacteria and creepy crawlies, I still won’t eat anything that had maggots growing in it!

  8. I hope this would be a bit of consolation but, I saw a show on T.V. entitled “Fear Factor” a while ago and the contestants had to eat maggots to win $50.000.00 and someone won!

  9. Yeah, I second everybody’s notes, the fish were not properly dried. MM, all dried fish get maggots, especially danggit, the vendors just brush them off every now and then. Oopps, sorry, if you’d rather not have known that, hehe!

  10. My post would be veering towards the “Fear Factor” show. I saw snippets of a contestant eating balut, his team mate was making suggestions that he shoudln’t bite into the balut otherwise he would taste the duck. I found it amusing. I suppose if you are not used to eating balut then you would fear it lalo na when you see it.

  11. sos kalami ana buwad ahhhh……bag o lang ko nahuman ug kaon ron. sos kana mga wa kakaon sulayi god ninyo. pagkalami ra ba. nag guol k karon kay talihurot na ako buwad.



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