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Tropical Cooking with Travel Man: 2nd Dish - Fish in Vinegar

Updated on September 22, 2011

Langkoy or Beltfish

LANGKOY (All photos taken by; Travel Man -24March2011-except the dried fish)
LANGKOY (All photos taken by; Travel Man -24March2011-except the dried fish)

Many varieties of edible fishes abound in the Philippine waters. I can boast about it because everyday, small businessmen are selling fishes in our place. The typical shoutouts are "tilapia", "tulingan, "bangus", "dilis", "galunggong", "matang baka", "timon-timon", "tamban", among others. (You can refer to its English terms below.)

What I bought now is the so-called langkoy (espada) or beltfish, a close resemblance to belt and swordfish. This fish is easily cooked, fifteen minutes is enough due to its soft, silvery flesh.

Once again, as a homebody (for now), I was tasked by my mother to cook it quickly for the strong fishy smell signals that it is close to decomposition.

By the way, when you buy fish in the market, you can easily tell that a fish is still fresh, if:

  • the eyes are not smoky or reddish;
  • it doesn't smell stinky;
  • the flesh is not too soft;
  • the scales didn't easily peel off.

Another caution is the rumor that some fish vendors are using preservatives (formalin-used in embalming dead people or tawas - sulfuric oxide or even monosodium glutamate-MSG) to make it fresh-looking to the public.

Much better is to but live fish, although it will add to its cost per kilogram.

At least you can be sure that it's safe and not contaminated with harmful chemicals.


KAMIAS Tree and its fruit or known as GINGER LILY (Averrhoa Bilimbi) Photo by: Travel Man
KAMIAS Tree and its fruit or known as GINGER LILY (Averrhoa Bilimbi) Photo by: Travel Man


1/2 kilo, 4 pcs. of medium-sized beltfish or langkoy

1/2 cup of camias

2 whole ripe, medium sized tomatoes, sliced

onion, minced

garlic, slivered

ground black pepper

1/2 cup vinegar, coconut-based

salt, to taste


  1. Clean the fish. Remove intestines and the smelly blood on it's stomach.

  2. Cut into bite size.

  3. Put on the pan, with banana leaf underneath the cleaned fish.

  4. Top with spices.

  5. Pour the vinegar evenly.

  6. Cook in a medium fire for 15 minutes. Salt to taste

  7. Serves 6.

It's good during lunchtime. Happy eating!!!


It can be fried, grilled, smoked or even sun-dried. Most Bicolanos, usually add coconut milk after cooking it with vinegar.

  • Fried fish can be garnishes with tomatoes or even mayonnaise. Make a dip out of soya sauce (with vinegar, pepper, tomatoes, onion, garlic, black pepper with little salt and sugar) or just a plain vinegar (with pounded garlic) or banana or tomato catsup.
  • Grilled fish is best when the fish is a fresh catch. The fish tastes succulent (somewhat sweet) and enhances it with just a drizzle of lemon juice, dash of salt and pepper.
  • Sun-dried fish or tuyo and smoked-fish are smelly when cooked that others don't want to eat it. Villagers, like me, get used to eat it with champorado (glutinous rice with cocoa powder and sugar plus coconut milk or cream). Or eat it with fried rice and hot, steaming coffee in the morning with tomato garnishing or vinegar dip.
  • Fish fillets with bread crumbs are popular in posh restaurants and it cost more, but you can cook it at home, too.

Any suggestions in mind? Feel free to add it on your comments.

Let's Cook Langkoy

Cleaning the 'Langkoy' Fish
Cleaning the 'Langkoy' Fish
Cut into bite size.
Cut into bite size.
Prepare the spices.
Prepare the spices.
Mix it on the fish.
Mix it on the fish.
In just 15 minutes or so, it will be ready to eat.
In just 15 minutes or so, it will be ready to eat.

Nutritional Values

1. Fish -are an excellent source of high-quality proteins with sufficient amount of all the essential amino acids that help maintain the well-being of an individual. Fish oils are good source of Vitamin D, or the sun vitamin.

The most prominent fats in fish are omega-3 fatty acids: ecosapentaenoic acid (EPA), dicosahexanoic acid (DHA), and the essential fatty acid linolenic acid. Omega-3s, also found in human breast milk, are most abundant in fish living in cold waters (anchovy, herring, mackerel, menhaden, salmon, sardines, trout, tuna).

Caution: Never eat bones of the fish , unless it is from tinned sardines which you can eat it without the danger of choking.

2. Kamias - Ginger Lily has a natural high oxalic acid content that can remove stains from clothes, metal blades and hands. As one of Philippine alternative medicines or herbal plants, it is  known as an oral antidiabetic therapy. It's leaves and fruits and even bark ( concoction) are important in controlling fever, flu, cough and other diseases. It's juice is a good protective tonic after childbirth.

3. Tomatoes -  are known as good source of antioxidant known as lycopene,  protects our heart from incurring heart attacks.  It is also good for the maintenance of  our colon and for a healthy prostate glands.

Variety of Dried Fish in the Market (including Langkoy or Beltfish)
Variety of Dried Fish in the Market (including Langkoy or Beltfish) | Source

Philippine Edible Fishes

The following Philippine edible fishes are the most popular. I'm sure you're familiar with it as the fishermen, their wives and children and fish vendors shout it while passing the street near your home.

You don't have to memorize it. By the sife and features of each fish and as you frequent the wet market, you can never be wrong once you buy it for a day's menu.


  1. Alakaak Tuel, balat, dulama -  Croaker

  2. Alumahan Tuna, tambacol, tanigi, tanigigi -  Long-jawed Mackerel 

  3. Apahap Katuyot, matang-pusa, mangagat - Sea bass; bulgan(Negros); Barramundi (Australia)

  4. Asohos -  Whiting

  5.  Bakoko - Sea bream, reddish variety or sweet lips; related to snapper, with a smaller mouth; passed off as grouper (lapu-lapu)

  6.  Bañgus -  Milkfish

  7.  Bisugo - Threadfin bream 

  8. Betilya -Emperor, white snapper; passed off as maya-maya 

  9. Blue marlin / Royal blue marlin - Swordfish (billfish)

  10.  Chabita Hiwas, Isabita, Bilong-bilong, Tahas -  Moonfish

  11.  Dagum-dagum Kabayo-kabayohan - Seahorse

  12.  Dalag- Mud fish 

  13. Dalagang bukid (Lapas, morong, boyoyod) - Yellow tail fusilier

  14.  Danggit - Rabbit fish with white dots

  15.  Dapa - Indian halibut or tongue sole

  16.  Dilis (Bulinau, silag, bombra, sibuyan)- Anchovy

  17.  Dorado or kabayo Mahi-mahi, - dolphin fish

  18.  Duhol - Sea snake 

  19. Espada - Beltfish

  20.  Galunggong - Hard-tail mackerel (galunggong babae); round scad (galunggong lalaki), muro-aji in Japan. 

  21. Gindara - Oil fish (escolar); two types: smooth-skinned and rough-skinned, the latter with a higher oil content; for both, servings of more than 6 oz or 150 g may cause bothersome loose oily stools, for which it has been referred to as "xenical' fish. A good "colon-cleansing" fish, but a traveler's nightmare, a fish to avoid if travel is contemplated in a day or two.

  22.  Hasa-hasa - Short-bodied mackerel 

  23. Haol-haol Bilis, Tamban-tuloy - Sardines

  24.  Hito - Catfish

  25.  Isdang lawin- Flying fish

  26.  Japayuki - Mackerel 

  27. Kanduli - Salmon catfish

  28.  Labahita (Mangadlit, isdang ilong, pulang ikog) - Surgeon fish or unicorn fish

  29.  Lapu-lapu Bato-bato Kulapo, Kakab - Grouper Loro Parrot fish, brightly colored with beak-shaped mouth 

  30. Malasugui - Black or white marlin Maming Wrasse 

  31. Matang baka - Purse-eyed scad

  32. Matang-dagat -Tilefish 

  33. Matumbok - Sailfish 

  34. Maya-maya (Bambangon, matangal, alsis) - Red snapper 

  35. Pagi - Manta orsting ray

  36.  Palos -  Eel 

  37. Pampano Apahan, damis lawin, pulang buntot - Pomfret, silver or black

  38.  Pla-pla - Tilapia bigger than 1 kg 

  39. Sapsap Hiwas, Laway-laway - Small flat fish,Ponyfish 

  40. Salay-salay Pampano, Apahay, Tarakitok - Smooth-tailed trevally

  41. Sinarapan - Mistichthys Luzonensi, world's smallest edible fish available only in Buhi, Bicol

  42. Talakitok Tambakol Tulingan, barilis, talingay - Skipjack tuna 

  43. Tamban - Sardinella

  44.  TanguingueTangi,Tanige - Spanish mackerel; kingfish (U.S.); a bigger variety is called wahoo. 

  45. Tawilis - Herring; found only in Taal Lake.


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    Post Comment

    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Yes, I will, earthbound. Thanks for your support. :D

    • earthbound1974 profile image


      7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Loved this fish dish! You can also feature other fish dish in Bicol. I'm waiting for it. :D

    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Thanks. You can eat it during lunchtime.

    • crystolite profile image


      7 years ago from Houston TX

      Very interesting and salivating hub.Thanks for sharing.


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