Tinapang Bangus / Boneless Smoked Milkfish


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 bang3they were just screaming “Take me! Take me! Eat me!,” 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 don’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 bang4the 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 be… 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?!?”

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21 Responses

  1. It’s “walang tinik”.

    I usually cook tinapang bangus in the oven, and it comes out good too. Quick and easy meal, and super-delish too!

  2. MM, I have a stash of smoked kippers in my cupboard for the exact same reason! And those photos!… *breaks out a tin for dinner*

  3. Same here. There is something to tinapa, in fact, and not just bangus. When I was in the UK, I would settle for smoked salmon–which, by the way is not bad at all–that I either get from the grocery or purchase by the Quayside. And when the longing for the truly Filipino taste got beyond what I could endure, I braved the challenges before me so I could get some in Filipino stores in London.

    Several years later, I was lucky to find a Luzon-ian in Basilan who understands what tinapa is and makes some for herself and whoever else is interested (Tinapa is not so well-known and thus, is practically non-existent in the Visayas and Mindanao. Visayas and Mindanao, ater all are home to such fresh and delicious seafood that there really is no need to preserve them.). Indeed, fresh is the best and Basilan is one of the best areas around for fresh marine finds. But the smell of smoked fish evokes a very nostalgic gustatory sensation.

    Now, I have to temper this yearning for tinapa (By the way, Sarangani Bay’s is one of the best tasting among the branded.)lest I eat rice more than my body can handle and invite the very much unwelcome asthma, besides. Sigh….

  4. the smoked bangus from saranggani bay is what we’d usually have at home and then i’d pair it with kamatis with a bit of salt. my dad used to buy in frankfurt–smoked mackerel (the big one), and it was just so good!! the meat was tender–not dry at all. kaka-miss…

  5. DADD-F I agree with you, the Sarangani Boneless Tinapang Bangus is very good. I have tried their daing(boneless), bangus belly and tinapang bangus all very good. We are very lucky here because you can get them from the Filipino stores or other Oriental stores. I like to fry the tinapa to a crisp because I like to eat the skin. I first tried The Sarangani brand about 6 or 7 years ago and I still like it.

  6. i love tinapa in all its forms, but bangus is the best. DADD-F, we do have very good bangus,tamban and mackerel tinapa in Mindanao-in fact, Sarangani tinapa comes from here. i save the heads and tails and boil them up-the broth makes a delicious base for ginisang monggo! MM, you must try the tinapang tawilis at the weekend markets (my brother gets my stash from sidcor)-they fry up very quickly to a good crisp, and you eat everything, heads included.

    the menu in our restaurant is in english but it says ” ‘tinik-less’ bangus”…

  7. Millet, tinik-less bangus? That’s too amusing. :) I will have to try the tinapang dilis. So everyone, the consensus is walang tinik… got it. Thanks…

  8. I love tinapa. My sister’s mother-in-law once gave me some tinapa as pasalubong from Manila. I excitedly cooked it for breakfast the next day with fried rice. My husband, who is American, woke up to the smell and almost cried. He said it smelled like a dead rat!

  9. You’re right Millet. I stayed, I lived, in various parts of the Visayas and Mindanao for several years. And everytime I was in GenSan, I never failed to get tinapa and practically all of Sarangani Bay’s (The brand, that is. Though, of course, living there allowed me the pleasure of sampling the bountiful harvest from Sarangani Bay–the bay itself.)products. But antique as I am, there used to be a time when tinapa was not as popular.

  10. Tinapang bangus is a definite favorite in our house! Just smelling tinapang bangus makes my mouth water…

    Like Cwid, we cook it in the oven. I slice onions super thin, cover the opened-up bangus in them, drizzle a little olive oil, top with some freshly ground pepper and bake until the onions are soft. It’s delicious! :)

  11. I like tinapang bangus for breakfast and dinner with chopped burong mustasa, tomatoes, onion and sautéed bagoong or kalamansi and sautéed bagoong with lots of garlic fried rice. Tinapang bangus is also crowning glory as topping in Pancit Malabon.

  12. Love your site. I don’t usually cook since the male in my family does the cooking and I’m usually on fieldwork to even bother. But i’m getting married in june so i tried my hand in cooking. Lately i found myself enjoying browsing at the cookbook section of the national bookstore. Your website is a feast for my eyes and i copied the recipe so i can try it for my future husband.

    I like to say congratulation for such nice works and thankyou for showing me there are a lot of things we can do to show that we love and are proud of our country. Mabuhay ka!

    Last, did you already wrote a cookbook?. Your articles and the photos are great for publishing. I hope you have one because I love to own one.

    God bless


  13. easy to eat and in fairness masarap.at msarap talaga ang made of Pinoy………………

  14. modesty aside hindi pa ninyo natitikman ang tinapang Las Vegas style. when u r in Vegas by any chance pls. ask about my tinapang GG or boneless bangus n toyo made right in Vegas.

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