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The Philippines is blessed to have an abundant assortment of fish that we can enjoy any time of the year. As a guide to the popular fish varieties Filipino households enjoy, here are 16 fish varieties you’ve most likely had the pleasure of eating.

Bangus (Milkfish)

Scientific name: Chanos chanos

Water type: Seawater and freshwater

Characteristics: Silvery-blue coloring with a shimmering white belly and a wide-forked tail. It can grow to five or six feet in length. 

What specific region in PH can they be found or popularly harvested in: Native to the Pacific and Indian oceans, and produced commercially in the Philippines through fish pens, cages, and other forms of aquaculture.

Taste impressions: Has a firm texture with a mild, sweet taste, especially in their belly. Matinik.

What they are usually good for when cooked: Bangus meat is versatile. Sinigang na Bangus, Fried, Daing, Tinapa

 

Tilapia (Mayan Cichlids)

Scientific name: Oreochromis niloticus

Water type: Freshwater

Characteristics: Tilapia typically have laterally compressed, deep bodies.

What specific region in PH can they be found or popularly harvested in:  Central Luzon (Region III), and south of the capital region, like Calabrazon (Region IV-A)

Taste impressions: Cooked tilapia flesh is white, tender, and somewhat firm with a flaky texture. A good-quality tilapia tastes mild and sweet.

What they are usually good for when cooked:  Fried, Grilled, Filleted



Tambakol (Yellowfin Tuna)

Scientific name: Thunnus albacares

Water type:  Saltwater

Characteristics: A torpedo-shaped tuna fish with a dark metallic blue back, yellow sides, and a silver belly

What specific region in PH can they be found or popularly harvested in: Mindoro, Negros, and Sarangani 

Taste impressions: It’s deep red in color with a sweet, mild flavor and a dense, firm, beef-like texture.

What they are usually good for when cooked: Grilled, Ginataan, Paksiw, Prito, Sashimi, Kinilaw

Lapu lapu (Leopard Coral Grouper)

Scientific name: Epinephelus

Water type: Saltwater and Freshwater

Characteristics: Orange-red with four horizontal whitish streaks on the head and body with many small, orange spots on the body, head, and fin. 

What specific region in PH can they be found or popularly harvested in: Palawan, Marinduque, and Surigao

Taste impressions: Its white meat has a firm texture and a mild flavor making it easy to use in any seafood recipe. It has become the choice of healthy eaters because it is nutritious, its meat is low in fat.

What they are usually good for when cooked:  Steamed Lapu-lapu, Escabeche Lapu-Lapu (Filipino Sweet and Sour Fish)

 

Tamban

Scientific name: Sardinella lemuru

Water type: Saltwater

Characteristics: Compressed, silvery, streamlined body, protruding scales, small to medium size

What specific region in PH can they be found or popularly harvested in: Peak spawning period from October to December in the Sulu Sea and the Moro Gulf.

Taste impressions: Maninipis ang tinik, firm but oily flesh

What they are usually good for when cooked: Fried, Paksiw

 

Dilis (Anchovy)

Scientific name: Engraulidae

Water type: Saltwater

Characteristics: With blue reflections due to a silver-colored strip. Its snout is blunt. Size varies from 2 centimetres (0.79 in) to 40 centimetres (16 in).

What specific region in can they befound or popularly harvested in: Abundant in the Mediterranean Sea and the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic oceans.

Taste impressions: Fishy and salty but have a rich, umami flavor that adds a layer of complexity when dissolved into a sauce or emulsified into a dressing.

What they are usually good for when cooked: Dried Anchovy, Anchovy Paste, Pasta, Pizza Topping

 

Maya maya (Red Snapper)

Scientific name: Cyprinodon maya

Water type: Saltwater

Characteristics: Delicate and flavorful white meat. They usually vary in size that can either be small or big. They are known for their vivid and distinct red color. Can grow up to 39 cm (15 in) and weigh a max of 22 kgs.

What specific region in the world can they be found or popularly harvested in: Negros islands 

Taste impressions: Beneath the red scales and gray skin is white-reddish meat that’s sweetish yet firm and compact. Matinik.

What they are usually good for when cooked: Pesang Maya-Maya (Red Snapper Stew), Escabeche, Fish Steak, Steamed, Fried

Tulingan (Mackerel Tuna)

Scientific name: Euthynnus affinis

Water type: Saltwater

Characteristics: Vertical stripes at the back, deeply forked tail, and a small velvety touch of scale

What specific region in PH can they be found or popularly harvested in: Mindanao

Taste impressions: Compared to the yellowfin tuna, mackerel tuna meat has is a bit sweeter and fattier. It’s a bit similar to salmon in terms of its creamier taste compared to tuna due to its higher fat content.

What they are usually good for when cooked: Sinaing, Ginataan

 

Galunggong (Round Scad)

Scientific name: Decapterus macrosoma

Water type: Saltwater

Characteristics: Elongated bodies look somewhat circular when viewed head-on. distinguishable by a small, detached fin. Its fins are black metallic to blue-green and its belly is white.

What specific region in PH can they be found or popularly harvested in: Northeastern Palawan, Mindoro, Zambales

Taste impressions:  Tender and meaty. Has an off-white to light brown color when cooked.

What they are usually good for when cooked: Paksiw, Pinangat, Fried

 

Dalagang Bukid (Yellow Tail Fusilier)

Scientific name: Pterocaesio chrysozona

Water type: Saltwater

Characteristics: Distinct bright red color, spindle-shaped body, and a protrusible mouth

What specific region in PH can they be found or popularly harvested in: Palawan

Taste impressions: Very similar to lapu-lapu (grouper) flesh in texture and taste. Also has saltiness and tangy taste like crab meat.

What they are usually good for when cooked: Sarciado, Escabeche

 

Sapsap (Pony Fish or Slipmouth Fish)

Scientific name: Leiognathus brevirostris

Water type: Saltwater

Characteristics: Ponyfishes are small and laterally compressed in shape, with bland, silvery coloration, slimy bodies, small scales, and a widely extending mouth. They only grow under six (6) inches in length.

What specific region in PH can they be found or popularly harvested in: Palawan

Taste impressions:  It has a creamy-like texture with its firm and chunky meat. Sapsap can also be quite oily.

What they are usually good for when cooked: Pinangat, Paksiw, Dried

 

Hasahasa (Short Mackerel)

Scientific name: Rastrelliger brachysoma

Water type: Saltwater

Characteristics: Medium-sized mackerel and is of silver colour. The snout is somewhat pointed.

What specific region in PH can they be found or popularly harvested in: Romblon, Mindoro

Taste impressions: Taste is similar to eating tuna or salmon, has a sweet taste and has a decent amount of bones, and is not overly salty.

What they are usually good for when cooked: Sinanglay, Pinangat

 

Apahap (Barramundi)

Scientific name: Lates calcarifer

Water type: Freshwater and saltwater

Characteristics: Elongated body form with a large, slightly oblique mouth and an upper jaw extending behind the eye

What specific region in PH can they be found or popularly harvested in: Negros island region

Taste impressions: White fish that has a mild delicate flavor with a subtle sweetness that is similar to grouper or cod. The flesh is moist, buttery, and tender, with firm medium-sized flakes.

What they are usually good for when cooked: Steamed, Deep-fried, Stirfried, Broiled, Baked in Salt

 

Pompano

Scientific name: Trachinotus

Water type: Saltwater

Characteristics: Deep, thin-bodied fish that is silver with green to grey dorsal and yellow ventral surfaces

What specific region in PH can they be found or popularly harvested in: Pangasinan

Taste impressions: Pompano fish has a delicate, sweet, salty, strong, and enticing taste. The mild tangy flavor of pompano fish is a result of its salty water habitat and low-fat content. The meat of pompano has a white skin with a little bit of tough, firm, and greasy texture that can easily flake off.

What they are usually good for when cooked: Fried, Steamed, Baked

 

Bisugo (Threadfin Bream)

Scientific name: Nemipterus japonicas

Water type: Saltwater

Characteristics: Have a distinct pinkish of light reddish color accented by yellow highlights. Additionally, they are also called whiptail breams and false snappers.

What specific region in PH can they be found or popularly harvested in: Maguindanao, Palawan

Taste impressions: Meat is white and oily

What they are usually good for when cooked: Pinangat, Paksiw, Sinabawan

 

Tanigue (Spanish Mackerel)

Scientific name: Scomberomorus

Water type: Saltwater

Characteristics: Spanish Mackerel has vivid blue to dark grey in color along their backs and flanks and fade to a silvery blue-grey on the belly. Spanish mackerel have scores of narrow, vertical lines down their sides. Spanish mackerel are the largest of all Australian mackerels, growing to about 200 cm and up to 70 kg.

What specific region in PH can they be found or popularly harvested in: Albay

Taste impressions: Tender, firm, and savory. Have fewer bones and filled with umami flavors from the sea.

What they are usually good for when cooked: Kilawin, Bistek, Grilled

 

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