Did you know that the total coastline of the Philippines is 36,289 kilometers (22,549 miles) long? This is why it doesn’t come as a big surprise why there are tons of fish that can be caught, purchased and eaten in the archipelago!
Some of these fish are simply more abundant and popular than the rest, and they are well-loved by the locals and tourists alike. So before you head out to hit the nearest market, keep on reading — below you will come across the top 10 Philippine fish that you can easily get your hands on.
Here is the list of top ten commercial fish found in the Philippine market
#1. Galunggong: Cheap and Tasty
There are a couple of reasons why galunggong (blue mackerel scad) is extremely popular among the local residents. First, they are extremely tasty — sold fresh, frozen or smoked, Filipinos love frying it. Second, it’s so easy on the pocket! By the way, galunggong was once known as the poor man’s fish, until the next entry took the title from it.
#2. Tilapia: Totally Abundant
Just like what’s mentioned earlier, tilapia is now officially the poor man’s fish and it’s for the obvious reason that it’s budget-friendly. Such can be blamed on the fact that it is found abundantly in the country. Also known elsewhere on the planet as St. Peter’s fish, tilapia is just one of the almost 100 of the cichlid family of freshwater fish.
#3. Lapu-Lapu: A Tough Kind of Fish
Unlike galunggong and tilapia, lapu-lapu is not particularly cheap. Referred to as grouper in English, Filipinos love it despite of it being expensive because of its phenomenal taste and texture. Lapu-lapu got its name from the very first Filipino hero, the one who killed Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.
#4. Dalagang Bukid: Named After a Garment
In Tagalog, dalagang bukid means farm girl — the reddish fish’s name was inspired by the red-colored wrap-around skirts commonly worn by girls from the province. Referred to as yellow tail fusilier, dalagang bukid is commonly the star ingredient in some favorite local dishes such as escabeche and sarciado.
#5. Maya-Maya: Another Red-Colored Beauty
Just like dalagang bukid, maya maya is a complete standout because of its red coloration. Also known as red snapper, it’s one of the most popular local fishes in the Philippines because of its white-colored meat that’s flavorful yet so delicate. Needless to say, the taste of maya maya makes it so versatile in the kitchen.
#6. Sap-Sap: Let’s Say It Again
Filipinos are fond of nicknaming their loved ones with syllables repeated twice. That is why aside from maya-maya, there’s also what’s referred to as sap-sap. Locals love frying or grilling it. However, sap-sap is commonly turned into pinangat na isda (fish stewed in tomatoes).
#7. Tulingan: Also Known as Tambacol
No matter how you wish to call it, the fact remains that tulingan is a crowd-drawer because of its body which is as smooth as silver. Known as mackerel tuna in English-speaking parts of the planet, Filipinos love cooking this saltwater fish in coconut oil, turning it into a dish referred to as ginataang tulingan — the spicier, the better!
#8. Bisugo: Can Completely Impress
In the Philippines, bisugo is sometimes used to refer to someone with a massive mouth. Despite of this, Filipinos can’t help but fall in love with the fish called as such. Usually, bisugo (threadfin bream) is cooked by simmering it in vinegar and garlic. By the way, health authorities say that it is rich in essential fatty acids.
#9. Dilis: A Popular Snack Treat
Known as Philippine anchovy in English, dilis is not as big as the ones included in this top 10 Philippine fishes. However, that’s not reason enough for it to be less popular. Dilis is commonly served when alcoholic beverages are around. It also makes for an excellent rice topping.
#10. Bangus: The National Fish
This list won’t be complete without mentioning bangus, which is the country’s national fish. Also known as milkfish, bangus is so popular in the Philippines that it has its very own festival! What’s so nice about this fish with a mild yet distinctive flavor is that it can be cooked in so many different ways.
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