The Philippines is surrounded by sea and blessed with all sorts of natural marine beauty. For those who love swimming and taking strolls on the warm sand near the ocean, the Pearl of the Orient has over 7,000 islands with stunning beach resorts awaiting you.
Of course, the abundance of the ocean also means a fertile ground for a diverse array of fish, seafood, and edible aquatic plants to grow. These resources help people put food to their tables, take care of the gifts nature has provided, and allow many food industries to thrive. And with Holy Week coming, you might want to shop for seafood early on to have a stock of protein while you fast from poultry and red meats.
That said, here are seafood dishes from all over the Philippines that might strike your food fancy:
Photo by Jdcgumpal on Wikimedia Commons
Consuming raw foods might require an acquired taste, but the freshness of several fish and seafood types are just too good to pass up and be eaten cooked. Take kinilaw, or fresh raw fish salad, as an example. Fish such as tuna, salmon, tanigue, malasugi, and dilis give off a refreshing, sea-like taste complemented by vinegar, ginger, and spices. Other variations use kamias, sampaloc, dayap, and green mangoes for interesting tangy flavors.
Kinilaw is quite popular as pulutan, although other eat it as ulam paired with rice and condiments. Various parts of the Philippines also have different kinilaw recipes you may try making at home. Some of the notable kinilaw dishes include:
- Sinuglaw (Visayas and Mindanao) – a mixture of raw fish and charcoal-grilled pork belly
- Kilawing kalding (Ilocos Region) – lightly grilled goat meat marinated with vinegar, onions, ginger, and spices
- Kulao (Cavite) – fully boiled pork ears marinated with soy sauce. This is sometimes coupled with tokwa.
- Quilain (Pampanga) – kinilaw that uses cooked pork, pig’s heart, liver, and tripe
- Biyaring (Southwestern Mindanao) – kinilaw that uses live tiny shrimp
Photo by Vladislav Bezrukov on Flickr
Shellfish are another seafood abundant in the Philippines’ seas. Oyster farms are present near mangrove thickets or human-made wooden poles where the shellfish can breed and multiply. And if you’re looking for fresh giant oysters, Bacolod City has multitudes of restaurants and small-scale eateries near your house for rent in Bacolod City that serve fresh and sweet-tasting raw oysters.
If you’re not into raw food, you can order steamed oysters or baked oysters with cheese. Pair these yummy shellfish with rice and sawsawan made of soy sauce, onions, calamansi, and red peppers. Your oyster meal won’t just satiate your hunger for seafood, but it also contributes to the small seafood business owners.
Photo by Elmer nev valenzuela on Wikimedia Commons
Cuisine in the Bicol Region is famous for using coconut milk and heaps of red peppers and spices. Its location close to the sea also means that you’ll get creamy and spicy seafood that will surely make your mouth water! And if Bicol’s provinces are on your vacation plans, don’t miss trying out freshly-cooked sinanglay.
Sinanglay is a traditional Bicolano dish made with fish—usually tilapia—onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, chili peppers, bok choy, and coconut milk. Salt is the typical seasoning for this dish, although you may tweak it with your preferred condiments. Mix all the ingredients together, stuff it in your fish, and wrap it in taro leaves and steam until the water is reduced. Finally, place your sinanglay on a plate of hot rice, and enjoy!
Photo from Batangas’ Sinaing na Tulingan Facebook Page
Batangas’ coastal surroundings teem with various fish species, such as tilapia, tuna, bangus, tawilis, and tulingan. You’ll find an abundance of these fish for sale in many wet markets. In addition, Batangas’ long-running fish industry also brought in the business of cooking and selling sinaing, one of Batangas’ most iconic dishes.
Sinaing is prepared by braising it in a mixture of vinegar, salt, kamias, and water. Meanwhile, other recipes add a sliver of pork fat to add more flavor to the braised fish. Cooking takes around four to five hours as it uses low heat to simmer the fish. Still, the waiting will be worth it because you’ll have a sour and savory dish perfect for cold, rainy days.
Photo by Max Reyes on Flickr
Going back to the shellfish category, one unique seafood you should try is wasay-wasay, or black hammer oysters from Bantayan Island, Cebu. These hammer-like or axe-like bivalves have a longer and thinner shell, although the insides are still as flavorful as their more well-known cousins. Due to their unique shape, wasay-wasay oysters are often the subject of unique photos on social media feeds.
Wasay-wasay oysters are often eaten raw and have a sweet flavor that goes best with toyomansi (dipping sauce made of soy sauce and calamansi) and sometimes red chili peppers. Their flesh has a softer and juicer texture than regular oysters. Once you’ve tasted these unique shellfish, you’ll probably forget your name due to their heavenly flavor!
Hot Chili Sauce ala Manla
Photo by shy.shy on Steemit
Lobsters are seafood superstars as they are used in many luxurious dishes in fine dining restaurants. However, in the historic Lapu-Lapu City, mud lobsters, locally known as manla, are cooked in hot chili sauce, resulting in a mouthwatering dish you’ll surely love!
Manla lobsters have heads similar to a shrimp’s and bodies similar to a scorpion’s. They’re often found in swampy and muddy mangrove thickets where they burrow to breed and feed. The tastiest part of the manla is the tail, so be patient in cracking open the shell to most of the meat. A popular recipe is hot chili sauce ala manla, which is similar to sweet and spicy crabs or shrimps.
The abundance of seafood in the Philippines brings nourishment and livelihoods to many people living near the coast. Taking care of these ocean treasures also entails sustainable farming and consumption. That said, explore these six delicious seafood dishes from all over the Philippines to experience the wealth of the country’s underwater world!
Marami po talagang seafood dishes ang matitikman dito sa ating bansa . Isa po ang kinilaw sa pinakapopular dito sa amin sa Leyte .
Talagang karapatdapat ipagmalaki ang mga dishes na ito ..
Some are familiar with them ! Being raised on the Culinary capital of the Philippines! I know it’s the freshest ingredients and best in our country! Thumbs up
Let’s savour the best
Been raised in the culinary capital of the Philippines! I am familiar with the dish ! And I’d love to try all what’s in here , showcasing our rich culture and history