BigHead Carp Sinigang
On seeing the bighead, it brought back memories and a longing to again taste the bighead fish in sinigang since the fish, raised in Laguna de Bay, is also available in Paete's public market at an unbelievable price of P50/kilo.
Big head, scientific name: Hypophthalmichthys nobilis, is also called chinese carp referring to it's Chinese origin but now raised worldwide. It naturally feeds on plankton and similar to whale sharks as filter-feeders. It's also said to be the most widely eaten fish, considered a delicacy in China and yet it's virtually unknown in Metro Manila-- no wonder it comes at a price cheaper than galunggong (round scad) and tilapia!
Last Sunday morning in Paete, Tutubi requested his father to buy a whole bighead carp, still alive and...swimming, as always the case, in a tub filled also with carp and tilapia (the pla-pla variety, not the newer Gloria). At P50/kilo, the 1.8 kilogram bighead was offered for only P80 and the vendor cleaned the fish's tiny kaliskis (scales) and chopped it into pieces.
At home, using his usual sinigang recipe, Tutubi's father mixed the bighead meat with sitaw (string beans), sigarillas (winged beans), tomatoes, kangkong, gabi (taro) and onions, brought to a boil and added sinigang mix (since there's no fresh tamarind available; the bighead meat was also first washed with calamansi and ginger to remove fishy smell, though it's not really fishy)
What became of the fresh bighead was a slightly spicy sinigang with its sour, spicy soup!
Bighead carp is tasty and fatty, the healthy type of fat that is, available in restaurants in Cardona and Tanay, Rizal province, near the historic parola (lighthouse) but if you want to make it yourself, you can whip up your own wicked sinigang for less than P200 to serve at least five persons.
Beat that for a truly frugal feast!
posted by backpacking philippines @ 8:44 PM,
- At Nov 13, 2007, 9:13:00 PM, bella said...
i have never tried sinigang carp before but i have eaten it steamed, coated with black bean sauce with chili. sarap talaga!
- At Nov 14, 2007, 5:34:00 AM, carlotta said...
wow, that looks great! at last i could try another fish, nakakasawa na bangus eh nyahaha =)
thanks for adding that the english of sigarilyas is winged beans.. last week my nephew called me to ask the enlgish names of the other vegetables in the song bahay kubo but i wasn't able to give most of the answers hehe
- At Nov 14, 2007, 11:25:00 AM, CM said...
i've never eaten sinigang carp too, usually, sinigang na bangus. But it sounds delicious!
- At Nov 14, 2007, 1:01:00 PM, said...
it's my first time to taste chinese carp sinigang and it was really something worth repeating! :)
- At Nov 14, 2007, 1:18:00 PM, tutubi said...
bella, you may be referring to the common carp and not bighead variety. but carp is also good and i love eating it's roe
carlotta, minsan may nagtanong din sa akin nyan pero matagal na lahat ng gulay sa bahay kubo :)
cm, delicious and cheap too :P
orange, try again next time :)
- At Nov 14, 2007, 3:56:00 PM, kneeko said...
hmmm nagutom tuloy ako ah... wheeww i havent try that also...
- At Nov 14, 2007, 5:38:00 PM, said...
I've never tasted sinigang carp before but it looks good in the photo. But I'm the type who's afraid of fishy smell. Hehe.
- At Nov 14, 2007, 5:56:00 PM, tutubi travel and living philippines and asia said...
kneeko, try that whenever you do the laguna loop :P
kyels, as i said, it's not really that fishy. the slight smell is gone. note that i can't eat blue marlin due to the smell
- At Nov 15, 2007, 2:47:00 AM, cheh said...
Ayy ang sarap nito tutubi!:)naglalaway din ako sa inihaw na isda! yumm
- At Nov 15, 2007, 7:50:00 PM, Sidney said...
To be honest I like the food but not the killing!
Seems you were quite a hunter in your younger days! ;-)
- At Nov 15, 2007, 7:55:00 PM, pieterbie said...
Wow, looks and sounds very tasty!
- At Nov 16, 2007, 9:05:00 AM, iskoo said...
napaka fresh naman tignan ng mga isda, sigurado akong masarap ang mga iyan, penge!
- At Nov 16, 2007, 10:05:00 AM, bw said...
We also catch big carp here at the fresh water lakes but the ones we have in Pinas, although a bit smaller looks more healthy to eat :)
I love the look of that spicy sinigang man !
- At Nov 16, 2007, 5:38:00 PM, tani said...
looks yummy. what does "filter-feeders" mean?
- At Nov 16, 2007, 6:23:00 PM, tutubi said...
cheh, i haven't tried inihaw na bighead pero masarap din siguro yun
sidney, i can no longer do it because not much frogs in laguna these days
pieterbie, tasty indeed
iskoo, punta ka laguna or rizal marami nyan
bw, masarap yung ulo. fatty and tasty
tani, filter-feeders mean they "drink" water while swimming with mouth open. whatever's in the water, plankton usually are ingested while the rest of the water come out of the side opening
- At Nov 16, 2007, 6:30:00 PM, rhodora said...
Ay, ang sarap, I'm craving for sinigang carp right now! Kasawa na ang bangus.
- At Nov 16, 2007, 11:43:00 PM, thess said...
hi tutubi! yan din ba ang tinatawag na dalag sa atin?
i never had sinigang na carp, mukhang ang sarap, yyummm!
- At Nov 17, 2007, 1:44:00 PM, tutubi said...
rhodora, padala mo na lang sa akin yung bangus or barter tayo ng bighead. mahal ang bangus mura lang bighead :P
thess, it's not dalag. dalag is mudfish. i have a picture of it. will try to post it one of these days :P
- At Jul 27, 2010, 3:38:00 PM, Sinigang said...
Your Sinigang looks really delicious!
I'm collecting a list of the best sinigang recipes in my blog, and I included your sinigang recipe (just a link though, hope you don't mind). You can see it at
Keep in touch!
- At Jul 28, 2010, 6:16:00 PM, backpacking philippines said...
Sinigang, you can add sinigang na corned beef recipe and sinigang na tinapang kanduli recipe of Rizal...will feature them someday here hehe
- At Nov 9, 2011, 6:57:00 PM, said...
Sa 22o lng this is called Big Head or Blackmask its the same kind of fish if u will ask sa palengke but really this Bighead or Blackmask is very hard to take the smell and lansa even during cooking time this fish also the cheapest fish at Rizal its just 10-25pesos per kilo I hope somebody can give me a cook fish n kung saan totally 100% tanggal ang lansa.......
- At Nov 9, 2011, 6:59:00 PM, backpacking philippines said...
anonymous, the secret here is to use calamansi juice on the raw fish to remove the fishy smell. this is the trick to it before you even think of frying it