nav-left cat-right


Fish Avaliable in the Philippines


With over 7,000 Islands making up the Republic of the Philippines, fish is a major food staple for most Filipino households.  Because of over fishing, pollution many areas around the Philippines have been fished out.

In addition, many of the fish habitats such as coral and Mangrove have died out. Because of this, many fishing vessels have to travel long distances to the fishing grounds.  There is a growing industry to fish farming. One of the large areas is Tilapia. This light tasting fresh water fish will thrive in fresh to brackish waters.

When we go to the Pelengke, wet market, there are so many stalls selling all types of fish and shellfish. Crabs, shrimp, clams, squid and even octopus are available. The different species of fish available is numerous, so you can visit this link to seethe different fish and their Tagalog name.

tuna malasuki fish3

The choices of fish are numerable but the most common eaten is Bangus (milkfish). There are large fish such as Tuna and Blue Marlin (Malasugi) to little tiny fish such as Bolinao (small anchovy) and Nylon. There are many mid size fish too such as mackerel (Bodloy or Caraballas).  Fish comes in many sizes and are all consumed.

nylon lopoy

Besides fresh fish, dried fish is a very common food and is rehydrated by frying. There are different varieties of dried fish but one thing most have in common is the strong odor as they are fried. Most of the time, as with most foods fish is fried. Fish is also steamed in vinegar or used in soups. When you buy fish, they will be cleaned but are usually cooked and eaten whole. We do get our Bangus deboned and Tilapia filleted. I also enjoy Malasugi.

shellfish2 octopus squid

One I see eaten at home is the Bolinao, which is cooked and then mixed with eggs to make a kind of omelet. Here at home, fish is a regular protein at the table, but since I am not a big fan of fish, I am usually served something more to my liking.

dried-fish crabs fish2
If you are planning to move here, and enjoy fish, you will be in eating heaven. If not, there is still pork, chicken and beef available.

26 Responses to “Fish Avaliable in the Philippines”

  1. Steve in Davao says:

    Bruce. Thank goodness for pork, beef and chicken. I am NOT a fan of fish, although I have been known to eat batterd shrimp and raw oysters. I have tried the Tilapia and find it to be pretty good. I’m always willing to try something new, but usually stick with my more familiar foods.
    I eat tuna from the can (love tuna salad sandwiches) but, don’t really care for tuna steaks.
    I know, I’m too picky. My wife and in-laws know me and usually fix some kind of Adoboe for me and I love the grilled eggplant.
    The fish market is so diverse that I may have to try more fish dishes in the future.
    Good article.
    Steve in Davao

    • Bruce says:

      Bangus de-boned is pretty good. Malasugi is also good, similar to swordfish. Some of the smaller fish I have tasted the meat and enjoyed the taste especially if steamed in vinegar and not fried to cardboard status. I just cannot see myself picking off the meat with my fingers. Just explain to your wife, we like our food with some level of moisture.

      • Tom says:

        I shipped a small Weber and we grill a lot of our fish. Either right on the grill or wrapped in foil with seasonings. I don’t eat it fried much.

        • Bruce says:

          Grilled fish is tasty and a whole lot healthier than fried. I just request all fish is not the crunchy type for me. I like some moisture left in my fish.

          • Tom says:

            Yes they do sometimes overcook. Given the sanitary conditions in some of these places I can see why they do. Still if I need more carbon in my diet I will eat a piece of the charcoal. 🙂

          • Bruce says:

            I agree and think in the past without decent refrigerators and freezers it was a good idea, In many places there was salting and smoking foods, but now we can update.

  2. Tommy says:

    haha Bruce I’m with you, my wife makes me pork or chicken, not real keen on the beef here, then the rest of the family has fish even the tuna in the can doesnt taste right to me. but i have stock in jif peanutbutter ! 🙂

    • Bruce says:

      My nephew bought me some steaks at NCCC. I was surprised, they were very good. Of course I had to cook them to still see some pink meat. For regular beef, and most pork, we make it in a pressure cooker. Tonight we had pork ribs from the pressure cooker and the meat just fell off the bones and tender. The pressure cooker is one of the best investments I brought.

  3. Steve in Davao says:

    Bruce, I had not thought of a pressure cooker, my next investment!
    Tommy, JIF is King!
    I am trying to be more open to new things, so fish will be in my diet more often.
    I can eat breakfast for all meals. I found some good bacon, eggs are cheap and the bread is good for toast, I’m set. The raisin bran and bear brand milk is good also.
    My wife found a good meat market and buys me lean groung beef and pork chops. Still looking for a good ground sausage, like jimmy deans or the such. I’m doing OK.
    My mother-in-law lives to cook for me and I have convinced her to keep it to a few dishes I enjoy. I eat my food and the rest of the family has theirs. It works just fine.
    Giasano Mall has some great imported brands, so I’m sticking with them. If someone knows of a better grocery, let me know.
    Steve in Davao

    • Bruce says:

      They sell pressure cookers here. With your eating, watch out for that cholesterol buildup.
      I know of 2 people who found recipe for breakfast sausage online. I tasted it from one guy and it was good.
      All the malls have imported goods, the problem is when they run out. Last year it took 2 months until I could get decaf ground coffee. Also if you have someone back home that can ship things here, get a box once or twice a year.

  4. Steve in Davao says:

    P/S…Bruce, you really need to add spell check to your site. People will start to see just how ignorate I really am. Ha..Ha!
    Thanks for providing a place for us to talk and sometimes to vent.
    Steve in Davao

    • Bruce says:

      I do not know what program or settings, but on my computer, if I miss-spell something, the word is underlined in red to check spelling.

      Venting is one way for us all to share and fopr me to know what interests the readers are interested in. I have thought of doing a forum site for the readers. Not sure if it would get any attention.

  5. jan says:

    Nice post. I was planning to write one too about all the varieties of fish available on the markets here.
    Tilapia and Bangus are fresh water fish. Most of the others are from the sea. I like the frozen CreamDory a lot (also fresh water fish). Nice white fish meat in large filets. The tast is very good and easy to prepare on different ways.
    Most fish Filipinos used to eat have too many bones for me and like you said, they fry the fish too long. (but they like it crispy!!)

  6. Steve in Davao says:

    Jan, I always enjoyed the fish frys back in Ohio. Walleye (fresh water) was a favorite. We lived on the GreatLakes in the U.S. so, fresh water fish were plentiful. Is CreamDory anything like walleye. White sea perch also.
    Steve in Davao

    • Bruce says:

      I do not think I have ever eaten Perch or Walleye. We do eat CreamDory at home. It is a mild tasting fish that picks up the flavor or any sauce or seasoning you use while cooking. I think you will enjoy it. Just look for ice particles when you buy. If there are, it means it has been defrosted and refrozen.

  7. Jan says:

    Cream Dory is the popular name in the supermarket. The actual name for this fish is ‘pangasius’, it is one of the catfish.
    The fish you buy here is usually frozen imported from Vietnam, the Mekong delta region. The fish lives in fresh or brackish water.
    The taste can be compared to cod(fish). Pangasius is also sold a lot in Europe because codfish is scarce and very expensive.
    When you buy pangasius have is defrosted first, dry the filets well with kitchen paper (they contain a lot of water) and prepare as you like.

  8. pinaywife says:

    bolinao mixed with egg and fried brings back good memories of Bicol, Philippines. I miss that. Our place in Albay is near the beaches so we don’t even have to go to market to get fish. Those small fishermen just goes from house to house offering the freshest catch of the day..

    Good thing there’s a lot of fish too here in Phnom Penh, but I do miss some of the fishes there like bangus and bolinao

    • Bruce says:

      Nice seeing you here again. I hope you are doing good. As we know, fish avaliable varies on where you live. I know in California there was local fish not seen on the east coast.

  9. BrSpiritus says:

    My personal preferance is for Tilapia but I can’t get it filleted and deboned at Bankerohan like you do at Agdao. I poached (steamed really) some up yesterday and it was quite good.
    Didn’t know caraballas was mackeral though… something new for me to try as I loved mackeral back home.

  10. Mike in Panglao says:

    Good article. I might add there are different types of malasugi. One contains an oil the body can’t digest and it just runs right through you. It only happens if you eat too much of it. A couple times I have eaten large quantities of it and hours later had a large oil spot on the back of my shorts. It is kind of like baby oil. I never even felt it come out. It is far and away my favorite fish for the grill and kinelaw. It is harmless but embarrassing.

  11. Kangoo says:

    The cream dory from Vietnam is always available in supermarkets here in Manila as well as the Norwegian salmon. You can find mackerel, the blue marlin, snappers, tilapia and de-boned milkfish, local cat and mud in wet markets too. My husband who is a Dutch has been longing for dover soles and halibuts and it makes me crazy trying to search for them in the Philippines. He too wont eat those fish Filipinos love to eat.

    Can someone here knows where to get dover soles and halibuts ?


Leave a Reply