Tuyo Fish: Smelly But Very Tasty

Tuyo fish or simply tuyo is very common in the Philippines. It’s often eaten for breakfast but there’s no law that says you can’t eat it for lunch or dinners. For Filipinos like me, is perfect for any meal. 😍

While some folks may complain about the smelly scent of tuyo, I love it. It’s one of the many things that makes me happy. When I smell tuyo, it means I’m safe at home.

Pieces of dried fish with rice, slices of tomato, and vinegar with chili on a green plate.
Nothing beats the sweet scent of tuyo. Best eaten with (a ton) of rice and tomatoes. Don’t forget the vinegar. 😍

What Exactly Is Tuyo Fish?

Tuyo fish is sundried. It’s a salty, cured fish. If you live abroad, you can get it from an Asian grocery store but here in the Philippines, you can get it from your suking tindahan or the palengke.

Tuyo is basically the Filipino word for salted dry fish or herring. It’s fried to crispy perfection. Just don’t mind the smell.

Tuyo is basically the Filipino word for salted dry fish or herring. It’s fried to crispy perfection. Just don’t mind the smell.

Six pieces of dried fish on a green plate.
Hard to believe that these tiny fish have such a powerful scent. 😀

However, I have found that it’s okay to cook in the microwave. Three minutes in the microwave and voila! You get tuyo cooked to perfection, devoid of any cooking oil.

However, I have found that it’s okay to cook in the microwave. Three minutes in the microwave and voila! You get tuyo cooked to perfection, devoid of any cooking oil.

Of course, your microwave is going to smell like tuyo. I recommend that you keep it open until the smell disappears. Don’t worry the smell will disappear. 😀

While tuyo fish is readily available anywhere in the Philippines, you can get some of the best varieties from Cebu. Thanks to its sunny weather, Cebu boasts some of the tastiest tuyo fish in the country.

While tuyo fish is readily available anywhere in the Philippines, you can get some of the best varieties from Cebu.

Thanks to its sunny weather, Cebu boasts some of the tastiest tuyo fish in the country.

Make Your Own

Did you know that you can make your own tuyo at home? Yes, you can. 😀

Although tuyo is a pretty inexpensive food you can get in any grocery store, you might not be able to find it if you’re not living in the Philippines.

Here are the steps to making your own tuyo at home.

First of all, you need to buy some fish herring.  Tawilis or sardines is a good choice.

After getting your supply of herring, carefully wash the batch of fish with salt and water.  Avoid washing it under running water. Put some water and salt into a pan and wash the fish there.

After getting your supply of herring, carefully wash the batch of fish with salt and water. Avoid washing it under running water. Instead, pour some water and salt into a pan and wash the fish there.

As you’re doing it, make sure you’re washing the blood off each of the fish as well. Then drain the fish from the water. Throw the water. Then repeat the same process.

On the second wash, you will notice that the fish is hardening. That is the effect of the salt.

On the second wash, you will notice that the fish is hardening. That is the effect of the salt.

After you’re done with the second wash, prepare another pan with some salt and water again. This time you will soak the fish overnight. The reason for doing this is to make sure that the blood from the fish comes out totally.

It’s crucial that the blood comes out so that the fish won’t attract any flies when they’re being sundried. The fish will also smell a lot better if it’s well-washed.

It’s crucial that the blood comes out so that the fish won’t attract any flies when they’re being sundried. The fish will also smell a lot better if it’s well-washed.

If you’re wondering how much salt to put in the water, well, that’s up to you. If you want it super salty, then go right ahead and put in a lot. It’s up to you.

As you are soaking the fish in the pan of water, make sure that each piece is starting to harden. If you find some pieces that are still soft, then add more salt into the water.

Make sure the salt is dissolved in the water and the fish is soaked pretty well.

Once you think the fish is all set, you can leave it overnight. Just make sure to cover the container so that it won’t attract flies.

The batch of fish is all set to be sundried the day after. All you need to do is to set each piece of fish on a clean surface. Just make sure there’s enough sunlight.

Each piece of fish is all set once it’s dried up. That’s why it’s called tuyo.

Make sure to watch the video if you’re serious about making your own tuyo.

Go Gourmet!

Tuyo has leveled up over the years. Now, you can go gourmet with tuyo. There’s no shortage of gourmet tuyo in the grocery nowadays.

What exactly is gourmet tuyo? Well, it’s tuyo soaked in olive oil, infused with herbs and spices. Yes, you can also make it yourself. 😀

If you want to give it a try, below are the steps that you can follow.

Make sure to cut the head and the tail of each of the fish. Then fry the fish until each one is golden brown.

Once you have fried the fish, take each one and remove the scales. Debone the fish so that you’ll be left with fillet.

Prepare the spices such as garlic and chilies. Also, make sure that the bottle you will use has already been sterilized.

In a pan, pour in some olive oil and vinegar. Wait for it to boil. While you’re waiting, you can start putting in some pieces of fillet and spices in the bottle. When the olive oil and vinegar finally come to a boil, you can fill up the bottle with it as well.

You can also opt to use canola oil if you like.

Kinds Of  Tuyo

The most common fish used for tuyo is herring. However, there are various types of fish that are used for tuyo. One good example is the tawilis or Sardinella tawilis.

This is a freshwater sardine. At a glance, it does look like a tuyo herring but tawilis is smaller.

This is a freshwater sardine. At a glance, it does look like a tuyo herring but tawilis is smaller.

Pieces of dried fish arranged neatly on a green plate.
Our very own dried tawilis. So good to eat. especially when dipped in vinegar. 😊

It’s also worth knowing that tawilis is only available in the Philippines seas. Dried tawilis is 100% edible. You can eat the whole thing since it’s super crunchy.

It’s also worth knowing that tawilis is only available in the Philippines seas. Dried tawilis is 100% edible. You can eat the whole thing since it’s super crunchy.

The most famous tuyo from Cebu is the dried danggit or rabbitfish. Now this one is super tasty and crispy.

Pieces of danggit on a green plate.
Never leave Cebu without buying some of their yummy dried danggit. 😃

Again, it just takes 3 minutes in the microwave to cook it to perfection. Pair it with some fried eggs and rice … you have a complete meal.

The standard condiment for all the types of tuyo fish is some spicy vinegar. It helps balance the saltiness of the tuyo fish.

The standard condiment for all types of tuyo fish is some spicy vinegar. It helps balance the saltiness of the tuyo fish.

There’s More!

Another kind of tuyo is pusit or squid. Yes, squid is also sundried to perfection so that it can be eaten as tuyo. The texture is a bit thicker.

Pieces of dried squid on a green plate.
Dried pusit is also a special kind of tuyo from Cebu. So good!

You can also cook it in the microwave but if you want it crunchy, better to fry. If in case you fry it and it doesn’t come out crispy, soak in vinegar so that it won’t be too rubbery to eat. It is squid, after all.

It’s worth knowing that the dried squid we get in Cebu never fails to disappoint us.

Have You Heard Of Fish Tocino?

Fish tocino is another kind of tuyo. It’s sundried but it takes on the tocino way of curing, which means sugar is added. Hence, it’s not as salty but it is kind of chewy.

Pieces of fish tocino on a green plate.
if you haven’t tried fish tocino yet … you should. It’s sweet and salty. 😊
Pieces of round fish tuyo on paper towel.
This is another kind of fish tocino that has also been sundried. So good and tasty.
A piece of round fish tocino soaked in vinegar with chilies.
Soaking the fish tocino in vinegar will make it tender and less chewy and rubbery. 😀 The texture is just like jerky.

The sweet, sundried flavor of fish tocino tastes so good.

These are the varieties of tuyo fish in the Philppines. What’s your favorite? Feel free to share some of your precious tuyo moments with us.

7 thoughts on “Tuyo Fish: Smelly But Very Tasty

  1. Avatar

    My Filipino roommate had me taste tuyo. At first, the smell really bothered me. It was so unbearable that I opened all the windows to let the smell out. But I soon found out that the taste makes up for the smell. It’s actually very tasty. It’s like a crunchy anchovy. I like eating it plain. I kinda don’t understand why it has to be dipped in vinegar because it tastes pretty good as it is.

    Reply
  2. Mommy Snooky

    Thanks for sharing your story. Tuyo is very tasty and once you get the hang of eating and smelling it, you’re going to love it more. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Avatar

    I’m glad I came across your website two months ago. Now, I’m a frequent visitor especially when I feel homesick. Nakakamiss ang tuyo. Thank you for sharing the video. I will give it a try.

    Reply
    1. Mommy Snooky

      Thanks for visiting. I know how you feel because no matter where I go, Filipino food still tops my list and tuyo is my favorite. I think that’s pretty obvious. 🙂

      Reply
      1. Avatar

        I feel the same way. Masarap talaga ang tuyo. But I haven’t tried making it. Thanks for sharing the video. Will try making tuyo one of these days.

        Reply
  4. Avatar

    I agree with you that Cebu is the best place to get danggit. I used to go there all the time and danggit was the number one request of my wife and kids. Medyo expensive here in Manila.

    Reply

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