Originally uploaded by annalyn.
I could say that one of the things that makes me a true-blue Filipino is my love for the milkfish, or bangus in local parlance. Go to any market (in the Luzon region, at least) and you will almost always find this gray-scaled fish in the stalls. What I like about bangus is that there are more ways to cook this than my other fresh-water favorite, tilapia. The health-conscious prefer the fat-free paksiw na bangus or the sinigang na bangus sa miso but I am also partial to the many imaginative ways our good ol’ bangus can be cooked – from relleno to the canned version in olive oil to lumpia to the bangus belly in tofu I oh-so-yummily tasted in one Chinese restaurant. And if all else fails you can just have the daing na bangus pan-fried then paired with your favorite siding like salted eggs with tomatoes, ensaladang mangga or even pesto sauce.
When my Rotary Club decided that we would go to Dagupan City for an outreach, I relented because of the lure of the bangus. The place, after all, has proclaimed itself the Bangus Capital of the Philippines. Dagupan is a little more than four hours drive from Manila and is in fact just an hour in distance to Baguio City. When we arrived in Dagupan around noontime, what immediately greeted us were several bangus stuffed with onions and tomatoes grilling in the open fire, a huge pot of sinigang (bangus again!) and a bilao of roasted eggplants, itlog na maalat and green mango salad with shrimp paste. There was also grilled liempo and I couldn’t quite forget the taste of the kinilaw na bangus which consisted of raw fillets of bangus marinated in vinegar with salted egg whites, onions and chili. Hmm, it was simply to-die-for! There are also lots of vendors selling boneless bangus in these parts and it was quite cheap – at eight pieces for less than a hundred pesos!
For great bangus recipes, I found this online.
Originally uploaded by annalyn.
’twas a great picnic indeed and we held it at Tondaligan Beach in Bonuan district which is like one of the biggest beaches in Pangasinan. Locals however warned us of a number of drowning incidents in this area because of the treacherous undercurrents. They say there are better beaches in San Fabian, Bolinao and even Sual. Maybe we can check that out next time. We also visited the Bangus Center and The Aquarium which is their museum of exotic and endemic fishes. On display were goldfishes, piranhas, koi and the so-called “most expensive” President’s Fish, also called “lurong.” From what I noticed in the billboards and everywhere, the local government is quite serious in projecting Dagupan as a bangus showcase . I think the experts would call this a good example of niche marketing,haha.
It was great to discover another place in the Philippines I didn’t know about. My only regret is that I wasn’t able to go to The Hundred Islands which is on my travel wishlist. Hopefully soon.
Anna Lyn says
I miss eating Bangus! We have bangus here but there is nothing compared to my mom’s relleno. 1 month and 1 week away from eating mommy’s relleno!!!!! Yipeee!
Wow naman. how i miss those bangus. either prito or yung sinigang.
ginutom mo ako Ajay!
And thank you for this entry.
Wahh! i have to go to Lucky Plaza and look for that fried bangus…
Irene S. says
Ang sarap mo naman at kung saan-saan ka nakakarating. I always enjoy reading your posts. Bangus is also my favourite fish. Mayroon din kami dito.
Anna Lyn…more than a month away and I’ll also have a taste of that expensive Norwegian laks. Yippee:razz:
Luchie, were you able to get your fried bangus at Lucky Plaza?
It’s really no wonder that bangus would be available in North America Irene. That’s because the fish is export-quality now and they’ve developed the technology to keep it for a long period of time, vacuum-packed or otherwise. Enjoy your bangus:wink:
air milikay says
i like your site. i am a big fan
ang sarap! siguro 5 buwan na akong di nakakaita at nakakatikim ng bangus. i miss it so much!
i like going to dagupan too because of the bangus and the pindang na isda.
Thanks Air Milikay. Nakakataba naman ng puso ang sinasabi mo:grin:
Hi Owen! Bangus should be available in Singapore too. Ask Madam Luchie:wink: Hmmm, but I don’t seem to know what ‘pindang na isda’ is. Hope you can enlighten me
Hello! 🙂 just wanted to google about infos regarding Mt. Makiling then I found myself reading your entry about it then another…then another…and another…what a real pleasure to read your entries about Manila. I love this city!:)
Thanks for dropping by Sintea. Hope you can come back here again for more updates:arrow:
hi ajay, pindang na isda is just like danggit pero gamit ay ang malalaking isda. they were cut into two and then dried. they are lightly salted kaya masarap.
Thanks for the tip Owen. I will look for pindang na isda the next time I visit the place. I always have crazy cravings for daing of any kind:grin:
Joey Zuniga-Modi says
I was born and raised in Dagupan City of Bulakeno parents. I remember growing up surrounded by beautiful beaches. Every vacation time is fun because I have to choose activities in our fishpond, the movies, calesa ride, swimming, and going to our ranch. I grew up running on the valleys of Bugallon, climbing mango trees, shirtless with my siblings. My father will always plan a month ahead to tell our kasama (ranch guard) no
cellphones yet at that time, that the wild bunch is coming. We would feast on red rice (the unpolished ones), several can of sardines w/ kalamansi squeezed on it, sliced mangos w/ Lingayen bagoong. Truly simple but delightful meal. Then just go crazy running all around the place while my Papa checks on the stock of cows that he already moved there and started breeding. During summer break from high school
and college life in Manila, it is fun time with invited classmates from the city. As always , they go home full of unique “provincial” experiences.
I am 52 years old now and still look forward to going there. The city of my childhood memories. Besides, where on earth do you take swimming lessons in the beach itself.
Go back there and visit my sisters at DG Zuniga Jewelry Store. Tell them I shared my childhood experiences with you and I am sure they will be thrilled. Our store is right on the main drag, Torres Bugallon Ave. Just ask around and they will direct you.
My deceased father was a Rotarian and past president of Rotary Club of Dagupan.
I enjoyed reading your article. Have fun in your future trips.
My sisters names are Lulu and Ellen.
I Talagang Masarap Ang Bonuan Bangus (Dagupan) sa Pangasinan Super Saraaaaaaaaap! Amoy palang nakakagutom! dahil kumain kami dyan sa DAWEL RESTAURANT,sa may bridge yata yon basta malapit dyan papuntang Bonuan Blue Beach! sa Triple B! iba talaga ang lasa! at mataba ang bangus dyan sa Pangasinan kahit saan dyan sa Pangasinan Talagang The Best Ang Bangus Dyan Sarap Talaga!
Strange coincidence that my name is also ajay. I was researhing where to visit in the phil from New York and this site came up in one of the search engines.
Who is this other guy who stole my name? hahaha. And, although this article was posted in 2005, I would like to meet this person or perhaps others who can give me a tour of this city. Woul be greatly appreciated. I want to try that milk fisk aka bangus