Vendors who roam the streets to sell their goods are called manlalako in Filipino. Many sell food like pandesal and taho in the morning, lumpiang togue and kakanin in the afternoon, and balut at night. Some might call out with loud, rounded voices, naming their products. On the streets of a residential area, you can usually hear one particular long drawl. "Daing! Tinapa!" the manlalako cries repeatedly, with the last syllable prolonged. Every manlalako sounds the same to the untrained ear. Many have the same intonation, giving off the universal manlalako vibe. What is this manlalako selling?
Daing is a type of fish that is salted and dried. It is a method of preservation to salt the fish and leave it out in the air. Any fish can be used to make daing. Some popular choices are danggit (rabbitfish), sardines, and galunggong (scads). These fish are cut in half to be gutted and salted inside and outside. The way fish are halved for daing gave it's notoriety and the method is now called as such. If you went to a wet market and bought fish, the butcher would ask, "anong hati?" (lit. what cut?). If you wanted it cut all the way open in half, you would respond, "pang-daing po" (lit. daing, please).
Some mistake daing and tuyo as they have similar methods of preparation. The only difference between them is the cut. Daing is usually considered for fish that are halved and gutted while tuyo is for all variants of cuts. Therefore, tuyo and daing could be used interchangeably depending on the fish preparation. Tinapa is also a type of dried fish. Only this time, it is smoked. The fish is soaked in brine for a long period of time, dried, and finally, smoked. Tinapa has a distinct smoky smell that distinguishes it from any other type of dried fish. Tinapa is not commonly cut in half except when the fish has a big proportion. Popular fish used for tinapa is bangus (milkfish), galunggong (scads), and mackerel.
Vendors usually sell daing and tinapa in individually prepacked plastic bags with newspaper lining. The fish is usually coated with the brine or showing off their beautiful golden brown skin from their days of being air-dried. Dried fish is considered a poverty food because of its cheap price and easy preparation. You only need to fry the fish and serve with warm rice. Many people like to use a vinegar dip to compliment the saltiness of the fish. There are other ways to eat tinapa. You can put it in monggo as a choice of meat, you can eat it with a silog, and more. In this recipe, you can eat dried fish in the simplest way possible. Just fry up some fish, make a vinegar dip, and serve with some steaming hot rice. You can even eat with your hands if you want the full Filipino experience.
Image from Yummy.ph and Mama's Guide Recipes. Ingredients can be sourced from My Tindahan.
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