After five days of oatmeal, I figured I could splurge this morning for breakfast… I found these fantastic looking tinapang bangus (Smoked boneless milkfish) at the market and they were just screaming â€œTake me! Take me! Eat me!,â€ so I did. Back at home, we spent a minute or two photographing the tinapang bangus then split one open and fried it up in wicked vegetable oil. I could have easily eaten it straight from the banana leaves we used for the photo, with a heaping mound of steaming white rice on the side, a fried egg or two (or scrambled) and lots of spicy vinegar. But hogging an entire fish all to myself seemed a bit much so I shared it with Mrs. Marketman instead. It was perfect. I donâ€™t know what it is about the smell and flavor of smoked fish but it is one of my favorite taste sensations. When I lived abroad, I always cured a hankering for tinapa by buying smoked kippers if there was an English section to a large city delicatessen or specialty foods store. It is the closest substitute I could find and with your eyes closed it was good enough for me!
At PHP80 for an entire fish, I thought this was a pretty good deal; it easily served two and with rice and an egg, the total cost of breakfast was just about PHP60 per person, or the price of two doughnuts, 3.5 cans of soda, or half a pomelo. Having the tinapa with a side dish of tomatoes and red egg or with a roasted eggplant salad for lunch or dinner would also work nicely. While I like the crispiness that occurs from the caramelized surface of daing a bangus, I also love the flavor and texture of the meat of the smoked version. Hmmm, I wonder when the best time to eat the other tinapa might beâ€¦ Oh and btw, what the heck is the Pilipino word for boneless? Walang buto? So shoould the title properly read: “Tinapang Bangus na Walang Buto?!?”