The Philippines is surrounded by massive bodies of water. And to get one island to the next (there are actually 7,641 islands in the country but only 2,000 of them are inhabited) you will have to cross water systems.
It’s due to this exactly why there are lots and lots of seafood in the Philippines!
Planning on pleasing your taste buds with as much local seafood as possible? Then keep on reading. Below you will find the top 10 seafood in the Philippines that you should try — just think of this list as your starter kit!
Let’s kick off this list with the country’s national fish: bangus (milkfish)! Because it’s so in demand in the Philippines, most bangus that you will come across in the market is farmed — it’s very rare for bangus to be caught in the wild, but that’s not entirely impossible. What Filipinos love about bangus is that its taste is delicate and one of a kind.
Known as the poor man’s fish until the crown went to tilapia, galunggong (blue mackerel scad) still remains a Filipino favorite. Even though it’s no longer the cheapest fish around, it’s still remains a staple food on the table. Galunggong is also commonly turned into tinapa (smoked fish).
Just like galunggong, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Filipino who doesn’t eat, sleep and breathe dilis (Philippine anchovy). This little fish that makes a big impact is usually stir-fried with sugar and chili peppers, making for the perfect snack especially when alcohol is being served. Dilis is also commonly turned into a popular street food called ukoy.
So many different shellfish can be found in the Philippines, but none of them can surpass or even rival the popularity of tahong (Asian green mussel). In the country, everyone can’t stop getting his or her hands on tahong every single time as it’s so affordable and can be cooked in so many ways — baked tahong is a crowd favorite!
The Philippine blue crab is one of the most popular and delicious crabs in the world. Yes, it is blue when raw but red when cooked. The list of seafood is not complete without Alimasag. Places, where alimasag is abundant, include Bais City, Negros Oriental, Bacolod, Manapla Negros Occidental, Antique, and some coastal parts of Panay Island.
It may sound like it’s a complete stranger but talaba (oyster) is actually extremely familiar — it’s what everybody else on the planet calls oyster! Needless to say, talaba is revered for its aphrodisiac properties. Although Filipinos are fond of eating talaba fresh and raw, these days it’s not unlikely for it to be topped with cheese and then baked.
Many cannot say no to hipon (shrimp) even though it’s not that cheap. This hard-on-the budget seafood is actually easy to turn into a culinary masterpiece. Such can be as quick and easy as sautéing shrimp in garlic and butter. By the way, many in the Philippines revere sugpo (giant tiger prawn) which is massive and super tasty.
While there’s sugpo which is basically hipon in steroids, there’s also what’s referred to as alamang (krill). There are many local dishes in which alamang is one of the most important ingredients. However, it is commonly turned into ginisang bagoong (sautéed shrimp paste) which goes so well most especially with green or unripe mangoes!
Your Philippine vacation won’t be complete without without having alimango (crab). Make sure that you enjoy it in the form of ginataang alimango (alimango in coconut milk) which is a well-loved traditional Filipino dish. By the way, smaller species of alimango are known as alimasag, and even smaller ones are referred to as talangka.
Last but not least, there’s pusit (squid) — popularly sold in the streets as calamares. However, pusit is also commonly turned into adobo. Many people love turning it into sisig (chopped up pusit seasoned with onions, chili peppers and calamansi) which is a popular rice topping as well as a party appetizer.