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Spicy ‘tuyo” in olive oil

Food need not be expensive to be nutritious and tasty. A very good example is the dried sea herring called tuyo.

When I was growing up in my hometown, a quaint coastal township in Northern Mindanao, I observed that middle class and rich people preferred to eat meat and canned goods. At that time, canned goods were imported and beyond the reach of common people. The order of the day was that if it was expensive, it was good.

The poor people were content with fish and vegetables for their daily meal as they were in abundance. Fish and vegetables could be obtained without having to spend a cent. The neighbours shared their fruits and vegetables; and fresh fish was exchanged by fishermen for salt, or rice and what have you.

Looking back, I remember that our best athletes were mostly the sons and daughters of poor farmers and fishermen; for they had strong and healthy bodies. It made me realise that they were eating the best food. Many people did not know.

In my hometown, they have many ways of preserving fish. The most common is by sun drying and the finished product is called buwad. In the main island of Luzon, the common dried fish is the tuyo. It is usually served with tomato or vinegar and rice.

About ten years ago, there was a recipe developed to further enhance the flavour and preservation of tuyo. It is hailed as a breakthrough and has appeared in food publications worldwide.

As a result, a number of businesses making bottled tuyo in oil were established. It is now one of the export items from the Philippines and is available in local Filipino shops. Some five star hotels and restaurants are now serving tuyo in oil as aperitif or antipasto and it is even served as a cocktails items. For me, tuyo in oil and scrambled eggs is just perfect for breakfast rather than bacon and eggs or sausages and eggs.



Tuyo                            1½ kg.

Corn oil                       1½ cup

Olive oil                      1½ cup

Crushed garlic                        1 heads

Chopped hot chillies  1 tbsp.

Vinegar                       1 cup

Paprika                        1 tsp.




1. Remove head, tail and soft parts of the tuyo.

2. Fry in a little cooking oil and remove scales.

3. Arrange in bottles.

4. In a saucepan, heat corn oil and olive oil.

5. Fry garlic until golden brown.

6. Adde hot chillies and vinegar.

7. Bring to a boil and add paprika.

8. Pour over tuyo in bottles, cool, seal and refrigerate.

9. Serve after 5 days to allow flavours to blend.

10. When ready to serve heat over low fire and sprinkle with toasted garlic.


is a UP Diliman B.S. Food Technology graduate and experienced food technologist, manager, franchised business entrepreneur and former owner of the Sans Rivals, The Crescent Fairfield, NSW.