Will you or not?

Hi Everybody!  Not much news to share today here on LiP, so I thought I’d make this a short article, and off on a slightly different tangent.

Yes, it will be short, but I’ll be asking you a question at the end of the article, and what I am hoping is to turn the discussion over to you and see what you have to say about my topic today.

I have talked in the past about bulad.  Bulad is the dried fish that stinks really badly when it is cooked.  There is a different name for it up north, but in Bisaya it is called bulad.  I am sure that all of you know what I am talking about even if I only use the Bisaya name, I am sorry but to be honest I don’t recall what the Tagalog name is.

Squid Bulad

Squid Bulad

Anyway, bulad is dried fish, and when it is cooked, usually by frying, it stinks badly.  I have eaten some small bulad one time when it was mixed in soup.  I was able to get it down, but I would not be asking for it again.

Ready to cook!

Ready to cook!

Since most of us who read this site are either married to a Filipina (or Filipino for the ladies), or have some relationship with a person from the Philippines, I am sure we have all had our encounters with bulad.  Firstly, I’d like to ask you to share your first encounter with the stuff, and what you thought the first time you smelled it.

49 Ways to make a living

But, the big question of the day….

If your spouse eats a meal of bulad, will you kiss her?  If not, how long will you need to wait for the bulad to pass?

Post Author: MindanaoBob (935 Posts)

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.

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  1. Alan Hettinger says

    Bob, I think the tagalog word you are looking for is Tuyo. I’ve tried it also but I’m with you. You wouldn’t be seeing me asking for it… ever.

  2. says

    I make sure my wife cooks the dried fish on th side burner of the grill outdoors…even in the dead of winter. The first time I smelled it, it reminded me of a wet towel that had been allowed to sit in a locker for 3 weeks. I am an adventurous eater and that smell would make me never touch the stuff. I actually did try it just once and I am not quite sure what all of the fuss is about…you might as well just lick a block of salt. I understand that it is a home style treat and all but WOW!

  3. says

    Ha ha ha, now there’s a good question. I would kiss my wife right away, I think. The reason I throw in the ‘I think’ is, my wife never prepares or eats that stuff in my presence. It’s one ‘girl thing’ she sometimes has with a sister nieces, go over to mama’s house and share.

    One might think my wife never cooks ‘stinky fish’ at home out of her love and care for me … which would be partly true. The other part? She hates the darn smell LoL.

    • says

      Feyma also takes care not to cook in the house, or have it at all when I am around, usually. Funny thing is that everybody in the family admits that it stinks terribly, but they all still like it!

  4. Alan Hettinger says

    I remember visiting the Philippines in 2005 and while walking to a sari-sari store with my wife (who was my girl friend at that time) I got a whiff of something potent in the air. Now, remember from earlier that day that a lot of the people in that area burn their garbage to get rid of it I asked her. Oh man!! what is that smell is someone burning garbage? It smells worse that before. She laughed and told me that someone was cooking tuyo. (Dried Fish). Luckily I had found a filipina who didn’t like it so I dont have to worry about kissing her after she eats it.

    But if she did eat it I think i would have ot wait until she brushed her teeth before I’d kiss her.

  5. Dan says

    Well..this post should have some interesting commments for sure..My self I would never eat that kind of dried fish……I like smoked and dried samon or smoked white fish….and that is about it….since I am not married and not there would not have to worry about the kiss part…but I quess one could always pop a certs into their mouth and kiss away…..hahaha,Bob you always come up with some dandy posts from time to time….

  6. peterjoy says

    bulad, no matter what u call it bob

    it all smelled the same andi hate it and i willl stay out side off the home till it is all cooked as the smell makes me sick i dont know why but it will u know what i love to do with it mate and that is bag it all and take it to the tip………….peter martin tassie

      • rebecca Ferry says

        I think the reason why filipinos like to eat Tuyo is that it’s very cheap and they like it to go w/ garlic fried rice for breakfast , you know filipinos eat rice in the morning but i too didn’t like it coz it’s too salty and the smell is really terrible and very strong that i ‘m afraid i’m gonna have a kidney problem if i have it every morning but even here in HK , i smell that in our apartment and realized that there’s a lot of pinoys living around the area. I told my mom in the Phils. not eat those stuff coz she’s very old now and the last thing i want for her is to have a kidney problem…..interesting indeed about the “kiss part” …. hahaha…

        • says

          Hi rebecca – I don’t believe I’ve ever seen my family eat bulad for breakfast. It is always for lunch or dinner. And, they eat it because they like it, not because it’s cheap… I mean, we have enough money that Feyma and my kids can eat anything they want. haha.. you didn’t answer about the kiss part, though, rebecca! :shock:

          • rebecca Ferry says

            Hahaha, i think i am exempted for now about the kissing part coz i’m not married yet but if ever i married to a pinoy i hope he will only eat that stuff when i’m not home otherwise he will be sleeping outside the “kulambo” (mosquito net)….. hahaha!

  7. Jawz says

    It was on a Sunday right after church. We were having prayer group and they served it mixed with sweet n sour sauce. Honestly the sauce drowned out the smell. I ate it with rice, and with my hands. Everyone stared at me in shock. Hahaha… can’t forget the looks on their faces. The smell left on my hands wasn’t that bad I thought.

    When I went to my gf’s house, her dad was cooking it. I thought my shoes had an odor as I took em off at the door. I was embarrassed. Then I figured out the smell was inside of the house. Usually I am okay with foul odors, but this one really bothered me. It was strong and I was surprised nobody looked awkward about it. I thought it was the baby’s diaper maybe, instead of my feet. When I was called to eat, I found out it was the bulad. depsite the smell, I ate it like I did the other bulad, but this time just the meat itself. It tasted really good… kinda like dried salted beef.

      • Randy W. says


        A little hot sauce makes anything taste good including tuyo. Tastes good on 2 slices of bread. G/f eats it too. We kiss each other no matter how our breath smells. Take care my friend

    • Bob New York says

      Thanks for your description of the odor Jaws. That might help me to recognise it when I sense the odor for the first time as it is something I have not encountered yet !

      • Mars Z. says

        Hi Bob NY: To help you envision the smell, just think you are on a charter fishing boat on a very hot, hot day and the herring that has been cut up is drying up–that’s how it smell. Now you have project comes summer, to go on board those Long Island charter boats and experience for yourself. When I smell that one time I was on board, I was looking around if somebody cook the rice already==it’s appetite stimulating! Enjoy.

  8. Chasdv says

    Hi Bob,
    Ha Ha dried fish,the smell doesn’t really bother me that much,but i grew up in farming circles,so i think i have been seasoned to bad smells,lol.
    I’ve never been enthusiastic about eating it though,and probably never will.
    The fact that its heavily salted is another reason to avoid it,not good for the old blood pressure,something i tell Sheryl to consider as she gets older.
    Its never stopped me kissing her though!

    • says

      Wow, Chasdv, you are, I think, the first person who ever told me that the smell was not too bad! Ha ha…. I’m happy for you my friend, because to me it is sickening! :lol:

  9. Darin says

    The wife cooks it from time to time. Unfortunately we do not have a dirty kitchen so the house smells a bit off for a while when she does. But like alot of food the taste is better than the smell. That sentence doesn’t sell it but I like it personally. She is picky about what type of dried fish she eat though. It all smells the same either way.

    And yes I kiss her right after we eat for making a good meal. ( I had to say that because she is watching me type this right now.) uh oh! got to go!

      • Darin says

        Being married to a filipina has opened my eyes alot more to the flavors of the world. There is a very small list of things I will not eat – blood and blood products being amongst the list. But the dried fish are good. I don’t eat it everytime she cooks it but I will for the most part eat it. Like yourself I don’t crave it. I get a craving for cheeseburgers and to her I think it is the equivalent to a foreigner’s lack of appetite for bulad. And no she won’t kiss me if I eat the cheeseburger…..

  10. maynard says

    Hi Bob,well its funny you wrote this article but it hits home with me,when i first came here i thought it was terrible the stench wow.Now i like it alot cooked with tomatoes and onion sometimes.it kind of reminds me of dried salted herring from the new england states.Now if i could only get my lady to make a good chili and eat it i would be happy. :) Its strange how she is affraid to try american foods,its always i dont like it ,even before trying it hahah.

  11. marjorie says

    Hi Bob

    There is some compensation to being allergic to fish, I always go for walk when it is being cooked, whatever the variety. The girls know this so I am usually warned when they are going to cook fish, as they cook it for my hubby as he doesn’t eat fish at home.

    I believe my husband tried some, he said it was OK but he wasn’t in any rush to have any more lol.


  12. Richard D says

    I have noticed that some Bulad smells worse than others. My wife says I ate it once, but I don’t really remember it. Perhaps I was a bit intoxicated. I don’t like the smell (reminiscent of a wet dog) , but my wife seems to enjoy it. I have never even though about the Bulad before kissing her.

  13. Steve A says

    Hello Bob,
    This was a good subject to bring up for comments. My wife waited until we were married for 11 years until she cooked bulad the first time. I had always heard that it smelled bad but I’ve been fishing for most of my life and cleaned fish so I figured it was just overkill about the smell. She did cook it outside on the side burner of the gas grill but when she came back in the house and walked by me I was almost knocked out by the smell. She keeps some in the pantry now and I’m afraid the odor will start to corrode the metal cans in there.

  14. hudson says

    Hey Bob,
    I tell my wife I will not let her buy it unless she promises to cook it outside. The propane BBQ has a side burner, and its better than stinkin up the house.

  15. Lance says

    I love eating Tuyo/Bulad, it’s one of my favorite Filipino foods. Whenever I go to a Filipino party here in Canada I always look for it. But unfortunately they often don’t serve it at parties (something about it being an everyday food instead of a party food). I was at a Filipino’s house once after they cooked some for me and the smell wasn’t too bad, but they said they had the windows open for a while already to air it out. I also like durian, another food that smells like hell and tastes like heaven.

    • says

      Hi Lance – I love durian, eat it any chance I get. I don’t think durian smells bad, though, I love the fragrance of durian. Must be something about living in Davao, the durian capitol of the Philippines!

  16. Paul Thompson says

    Hi Bob;
    Mayang and I arrived at a compromise about Tuyo, Bulad, or plain dried fish years ago. When she wants to cook it, all I require is one hours notice to plan where I’m going to hide for the day. There is no worst smell, but I will ask her to cook it, when my nose is clogged. (LOL)

  17. AlexB says

    Hi Bob,

    Some clarification here: “daing” (Tagalog) is the generic term for anything dried, I think “bulad” is the Cebuana/Bisaya equivalent – e.g. tuyo (salted/dried herring or sardines I think), in Tagalog really means “dried,”; daing can be pusit (squid as in the photo), or any kind of fish (sometimes they’re just sun dried, not as salty as tuyo). etc.

    Yes, tuyo can be very nasty so is the daing na pusit. Pusit sometimes are barbecued and sold by street vendors. They’re very mmm….tasty and chewy good with beer! If you can’t brush right after, how about chewing gum? To wash off the smell from your fingers if you eat with your hands, take fresh calamansi fruit and rub on hands, fingers, nails throughly.

    As for cooking the stuff, well, there’s the dirty kitchen.

  18. says

    my wife was just trying to get me to eat some a few minutes ago and laughing while she did it.
    I told her if I threw up she would have to do the clean up!!!! I don’t eat fish or the dried ones or bulad(Leyte). I let her cook it in the house but prefer to be at work when it happens. I call it thousand year food becaue Im sure it was dried over a thousand years ago! Ha ha!?!

  19. says

    Someone tried to get me to eat dried fish on my last visit to Cebu during one of those outdoor family get-togethers. If memory serves me right, I commented something like, “This stuff will gag a maggot! Everyone just smiled …

    As for kissing someone after they ate dried fish — I think I would “have a headache” for the rest of the day and well into the night. Then just maybe, next day, I would research the topic, “Divorce in the Philippines” to see if I could remedy the situation.

    Note to self: next marriage, have a no-cooking-dried-fish clause included in the vows.

  20. Dan says

    I quess the reason most Fillipinos like the cooked dried fish is because they probably cut there teeth on it when they first started getting teeth or their mama gave them a little to suck on when they got tired of there bottle….so sure if you start out on something at before 1 year old, chances are your goona love it…..over not loving it…….

  21. rc says

    My wife cooked this once when I was last there. She bought them at a grocery store and I’m sure they were dried minnows…that’s exactly what they looked like. They were in a sealed plastic bag, so I couldn’t really smell them. She told me how much she craved them and how they loved them so much. Anyway, I was intrigued and thinking about trying some…until she began to saute them in a frying pan. I had to leave the room and stand outside to keep the gag reflex from kicking in. Needless to say, once she get’s here, she won’t be cooking that stuff in the house.

    • says

      Ha ha… I love it rc! One time, a number of years ago, I went to Cebu for a business trip. Feyma told me the best bulad was from Cebu, and wanted me to bring her some. Can you imagine the smell when I went in a shop that sold nothing but bulad? I could barely ship there without throwing up!

  22. Lenny says

    Ahhh ..Funny article, Yeah me too , I think most of us are doomed…It’s my wifes favorite. I can’t stand the smell, I lock myself up in the upstairs bedroom, when she cooks it, and god she loves it!!! So do the neighbor ladies. When they cook it, they always share with each other , I open up every window knook and cranny afterwards, to let the smell go away, and I tell her Make Sure she washes the frying pan when she is thru….And it’s one thing, that brings me to my knees as a man, I can’t even get myself to taste it….hahahahahahahahahaha

    • says

      Hi Lenny – Ha ha…. you know what’s funny… most Filipinos I talk to can’t understand why I won’t eat something that smells so bad, because they say it tastes good!

  23. Larry says

    I have 2 stories about bulad and friends of mine. The first is a friend of mine that likes bulad. He took some bulad back with him to the US after visiting his wife in the RP before she got here visa. While he is waiting to pick up his luggage at the airport carousal the American next to him starts complaining about the Filipinos and there stinky bulad. Then my friend picks up his luggage stinking of bulad turns to the guy and says “see ya”. It was a bit of a surprised look from the guy complaining about the Filipinos.
    The second is a friend of mine who drives truck. He took his Filipina wife with him on one of his runs. While he was in the truck stop taking a shower his wife decided to cook bulad in the truck. That was 2 years ago and he still complains about the smell.
    As for me I built a dirty kitchen in our garage for my wife to cook her fish. And yes I will kiss her after she eats the fish.

    • says

      Hi Larry, Good stories! I liked the one about the truck driver… can you imagine how bad that smell was in such a small enclosed space? Wow! I bet if the police pulled them over they would have gotten a ticket!

      • Mars Z. says

        No Bob, I think the Police will probably feel sorry he won’t give them a ticket or initiate a murder investigation thinking somebody died inside the truck!

        As I said in my previous post, the smell is just like a dried up fish you can find anywhere. During the ’80s in Mobile Alabama, in the middle of summer, we where having picnic and fishing at the beach/park at the same time. One of the guy put his fish in the cooler inside the trunk, got drunk and passed out until the next mid-day. Meanwhile the spigot on the cooler was left open and the juice from the fish drip onto his wife brand Impala. Dunno if they are still married. lol!

  24. says

    Bob, up North, dried fish could be TUYO which is the the whole tamban fish (scaly fish) or DAING which is any butterflied dried fish. It’s not my favorite food bec it the smell sticks to the curtains and everything. Besides, it sure is salty. Yikes! I can eat it once in a quarter LOL

  25. rebecca Ferry says

    I think that’s the reason also why most of filipino houses had a dirty kitchen , they really like dried fish , they also said it’s good to eat dried fish during rainy season but i don’t know why…

    • jonathan says

      Hi Rebecca

      I think you would agree that when the monsoon season kicks in, the tuyos/bulads and the canned sardines, really taste extraordinarily good! There’s something in the cold weather that makes us crave for it. YUM!


      I know the smell is terrible, even here in the ME they hate it (lol), but Filipinos will be Filipinos, they will make it / eat it anywhere they can. Surprisingly though, we have imported tuyo/bulad here!

  26. says

    Hi Cathy – Thanks for the clarification on the language thing. Somebody on the blog mentioned tuyo, but I kept feeling that there was another word, and that was daing! Thanks for reminding me.

  27. Bob New York says

    I have heard of people eating ” Dried Fish ” but that is all I knew about it so far. Thanks for the full explanation. Sounds like the fish version of Durian LOL. This also explains to me why people have the ” Dirty Kitchen ” outside of the house. Last visit I did not get to try Jackfruit so that is next on the list for me to try, I’ll add bulad to the list too !

  28. David L Smith says

    hi Bob
    I hate the stuff…as they say life is to short to drink bad wine and eating stinky bulad would shorten mine even mor i think, lol…give me a nice Bangus anyday. As for kissing the wife when she has consumed it…its a good time to develop a headache, hahahaha

  29. Gary says

    I don’t go out of my way to search for it, but I’ll eat it on occasion. I had some dried pusit just the other day – chewy but quite tasty.

  30. chris says

    Hi bob well th first time my wife cooked this i nearly died god did stink and the comments my father made got her very mad, nowadays i have learned to live with it and sometimes i will even cook some anchovies up for my daughter and myself ,but it is like durian you have to get used to it but it is still a smelly food

  31. says

    No. I will not kiss anybody on the lips—wait, peck yes, kiss no! Yes, I eat bulad, I love it for breakfast especially with fried rice and fresh tomatoes with a little fish sauch. But it doesn’t have to be that, but I no longer say the word bulad . Correct me if I’m wrong — chances are I will be. Because I can hardly read tagalog/bisaya without getting a headache within 2 minutes.

    The image you have there is tuyo from memory. Bulad is a bigger fish that you cut and spread out in the middle.. but you know that word bulad is marred in me now. Early 2009 we had to meet with a tribal group in Iba Zambales and spent the whole week there. They served bulad and all we ofcourse enjoyed it too but as we mention bulad they kinda look smile funny until one of them told us—bulad to them is a male’s sexual body part. My wife says she likes eating it, but I can’t bring myself to saying it now.. which my wifes gives me this cheeky smile haha.. you have to be there for this litlte inside joke thing… So since then, I’ve always used… Daing (duh-eeng) (spelling might be wrong)….. Bulad-Bisaya, Daing-Tagalog,…. Tuyo is the dried smaller scaly fish that you could hardly separate the bones from the flesh that you end up eating the fish bones anway just like the one the one that you are using.

    This is similar to Durian for me….. Love eating it but rather not smell it!

    • says

      Hi JC – My understanding is that all dried seafoods are referred to as bulad. Perhaps it is different in Kidapawan. No such things are called Tuyo down here in this part of the country, because that is a Tagalog word, and not widely used here.

  32. says

    Hi Bob- No I do not eat bulad myself but its Marilou’s only vice so I tolerate it. In all the 28 years of married life she has never cooked it in the house when I have been home rather waiting for me to go away on my business travels before doing so. So about kissing her after she has eaten it of course I would provided several days pass between consumption and the kiss lol.
    Incidentally the kids were her partners in crime as they like to eat it as well.

  33. Bryan G says

    Believe it or not there is a European country where dried fish is part of the diet – Iceland. I have worked for an Icelandic company for the last 16 years and have shared accommodation with Icelanders so can assure you that dried Icelandic fish can make your eyes water with the same overpowering smell that seems to linger for days.

    • Mars Z. says

      Hi Byan G, that’s what I was going to say, Iceland and Nova Scotia, brine their Cod and it is also treated as delicacy-saved for the winter months. Thy even showed Miss Norway (Blond, beautiful, westernized) on one of those discovery show I think, showing how it is eaten!

    • Randy W. says


      When i was in the Marine Corps i visited Iceland. They also dry shark meat for about 6 months. Talk about bad smell. Bulad/tuyo/daing is not even close to that.

  34. Bruce Michels says

    Boy you really did it this time. This article just stinks to high heaven and the psychological trama you have just put my olfactories through remembering such a tramantic odor is cruel and unusual punishment. Not to mention the mental anguish of having to osculate with your spouse after they have consumed such a delicacy is unthinkable.( Had to use the dictionary for this one.) :)
    You’ll get the bill from my Psychiatrist in the mail for my therapy sessions. :(
    Know wonder alot of Filipinos are on High blood pressure medication. Mine elevates 300% just watching my asawa eat that stuff.

  35. roy says

    Hello Bob, I noticed when I got here the smell of tuyo/daing being cooked is magnified 100 times. Is it because of the closed windows? But it still smells during summer. Needless to say, the smell bothered us. But it did not bother us when we cook it in the Phil. When I was there last month, I just cook tuyo w/o any thought. Here, it’s a major production. First, you can only cook in the summer. If you do cook during winter, make sure to live in a neighborhood where there’s really a melting pot of immigrants. & cook a lot. Most pinoys love to eat that but hate the smell in the house.
    Can someone explain it to me it smells so bad here–why the smell becomes more potent that it lingers for days even after opening the windows winter & all & after excessive amount of incense & air sprays.

  36. sugar says

    Hey Bob – Well, I don’t eat dried fish (tuyo and tinapa), but I know co workers who does… and so to each their own. As for kissing… lips to lips? Hah. I’m not married, no kissing thing for me. And anyway nobody wants to engage in kissing knowing one smells fishy. I’m sure every wife wouldn’t want their husbands to kiss them after just eating the stinky fish.. of course they’d want to smell good for their partner.. he he.

  37. John says

    I wont taste it or eat it. I am actually not a fan of Filipino food, too much fat for my liking. But what really gets me in the grocery stores in MNL usually have the dried fish section in between the vegetable and meat sections, so I am getting my excercise trying to avoid the smells.

    I remember being behind someone in Shopwise and I thought the lady in front of me was dead, she had a durian and dried fish, I nearly gagged.

  38. John H says

    Their seems to be quite a variation in quality. Most of it I cant stand to be in the room (smells like a decaying cow) but some inst so bad. I think it has a lot to do with how fresh it is and how quickly it was dried. Their are also different kinds of fish. I have a friend that actually likes the dried flying fish and I have to admit it doesn’t usually stink might have something to do with the fact that they slice it open before they dry it. We had my in laws buy a bunch of it when they went to Zamboanga (cheaper there) a few weeks ago and none of that smelled very bad though. Its supposed to be from Indonesia and Malaysia.

  39. Ron LaFleur says

    This smelling little fish thank god is not so prevelant in the prairie lands of Kansas/Missouri. However there are times the ingenious Filipina will get her hands on some and introduce it into the eco stystem of whatever home is (un)fortunate to be its location. Having once walked into my house and thinking the sewer had backed up it has been banned from this house. I have explained to Marlou that this smell that lingers for weeks is unacceptable and is not allowed. Now don’t get the idea that Marlou is a push over for my demands. She responded in what I am going to assume is typical Filipina fashion that I just needed to get over it and that I did. She has however not to this date ever brought this smell near my old nostrils. I will go to the occassional party and see it served on a table with all of the other delicacys that do not enter my intestinal system and move on to the fried rice. To answer your question “how long after before I kiss her”. I don’t know. Ron

  40. Leilani says

    After reading this article, I’m suddenly craving for some bulad. The good thing is we have a number of Filipino stores in the area where we can buy some pre-cooked bulad.

  41. says

    I’d settle for the squid bulat however the preparation is more of a chilli based and the squid is soaked in water several hours before cooking as it will turn soft and nice to eat. It would not retain its smell if some strong spices were added such as lemon grass. :-) goes down well as a pulutan to a beautiful ice cold red horse. Damn cant wait for my next holiday in Manila thinking of the red Horse that is. Lol!

  42. Christine says

    Hi Bob, for some reason, I only ever like to eat it in company. I tried cooking it and eating it by myself at home. I found out it does not have the same attraction if eaten alone. However, if eaten in company, can’t get enough of it. :)

  43. says

    I’m finding a wide range in quality in bulad. There seems to be quite a cottage industry developing around the production of “gourmet” bulad. In Manila I have much easier access to those items that I do in Mindanao – that’s apparently where the market is; not where it’s made.

    One of my partners and I had quite a few discussions with an enterprising young lady who was producing these products in Bicol and looking to potentially expand to overseas markets. It turns out that there’s often a single plant turning out bulad in a local region – and it’s packaged for and under the brand name of different retail vendors. But each retailer can give the producer different specs to use in the production of the bulad for them (the more demanding the specs, the higher the cost).

    This lady was having a variety of different bulad produced, and picking the highest quality fish available to the bulad producer. Some fish are quite rare and much better (and more expensive, relatively). Often, she’ll have it flavored differently, using different spices or sili.

    I’ve found that the higher quality can be quite good and it doesn’t produce “smell” when cooked. It’s good for breakfast.

  44. Mars Z. says

    Hi Bob, just got back from eating out and my dinner came with a choice of salad, so I picked Caesar Salad and as I was enjoying this, the smell of anchovies is as strong as some bulad that I have tasted. My question to most of the poster who does not like toyu, daing, bulad-do also also shun anchovies?

    The tradition of curing and drying fish such as bulad is of course preservation specially during the rainy season. I remember growing up in the province those big bulad is cut up and cooked with taro leaves and roots with coconut milk and its quite tasty. These days though I only taste it occasionally when I visit some of a Filipino friend and happen to have some cooked bulad.

    The smell of bulad though is as potent as the bagoong (salted shrimp fry) and the salted minnow, as I’m sure you wouldn’t like the taste either. With this, I’m reminded with a story about this Bagoong and bulad: As the story goes, two Filipina were riding the subway in New York carrying a jar of bagoong and a pack of bulad from Chinatown. The shopping bag fell on the floor and broke the jar permeating the subway with the smell. The two women embarrassed, and to save face started arguing in fake Chinese language. A Chinese yelled at the back in English: “They’re not Chinese, they’re not Chinese.” lol.

  45. says


    Good topic even if a bit baho. Actually I do remember when I first smelled dried fish; it was about 20 years ago when I first came to the Philippines to meet my wife and her family cooked some: I didn’t like it much then and don’t like it much better even now. My wife and her Filipina friends got together at our house in Houston many times through the years but if they cooked dried fish they always respect me and cook on a grill outside . Actually I can take the smell much better now and wouldn’t complain if they did cook in our kitchen. Though unlike Bob I’ve never been brave enough to try it. Ha!

    My favorite story about dried fish though, is that soon after we were married in 1990 and Jojo had arrived in the U.S. , my Mother came for a visit. I guess Jojo was so new to the U.S. that she forgot that Americans ave some trouble with the smell so she started ‘cooking up a storm’ with her dried fish for herself. As soon as my Mother smelled the fish she called me over and quitely whispered(she was very polite) ‘ W e’re not going to eat that stuff are we”? Take care.

  46. Gary Wigle says

    I love squid bulat!!! Just too oily for me. What smell? Great taste! I was on the bus to Bukidnon last month and someone started eating Durian. They had to stop. Everyone hated the smell. It was an aircon bus. The driver was going to stop and toss the lady off. Fun times in the Philippines.


  47. says

    @MindanaoBob: Regarding all dried fish being called Bulad. That is news to me. But you know what? You will most likely be correct! I wouldn’t know. I’m just trying to find out more about my roots now and learning a number of things along the way.

  48. says

    Hello Bob, I will have to admit that I like having dried fish for breakfast. Norma keeps me from having too much because of all the salt.My first time to have dried fish was at her aunts home she told me that it smells like hell ,and tastes like heaven. This is one food that you either love or hate.

  49. says

    I’ll gladly eat bulad anytime. We have it for breakfast sometimes with a little vinegar and rice. I have also successfully introduced American friends to having bulad with us for breakfast. Way problema.

  50. jim hannah says

    My wife has never even thought about cooking that anywhere near me, probably because she knows what my reaction would be, then she would have to clean up my sick! As for me, I’d rather french kiss Manny P than taste that stuff!

  51. DanielY says

    The visayan word you used “bulad” literally translates to “Sun Drying”. Although you refer to salted sun dried fish, it also includes sun dried squids (as your photo shows). The tagalog word is “tuyo” which means “Dried”. Also the word “Daing” is used, for salted dried fish. For example – daing na bangus (milkfish). The fish I see in your photo is the most popular for bulad/tuyo/daing – it is called Tamban – a very boney fish.

    The best way of cooking these fish is by Deep Frying. I understand that cooking these results in a strong odor, which is why it is often cooked in an open area, or a fan should be running through the kitchen after cooking.

    The dried squid is best cooked over hot charcoal. I like it this way. I rarely eat fish, no matter how it is cooked.

    As for kissing your girl/wife after she eats this, let he know that you can’t stand it, and she will laugh BUT she needs a good brushing of the teeth/mouth with minty tasting toothpaste. Even local men might not like the taste of tuyo in his girl’s mouth when kissing, even though they will eat tuyo.

    • Mars Z. says

      Hi Daniel, let add just for non-Filipino, the Tagalog name for the fish “Tamban” is Herring in English, mostly use as pickled canned herring in western world, when I was in Kodiak, Alaska, we use herring as baitfish for Halibut and is harvested for its roe for export to Japan. The cannery would then take the carcass to the fertilizer plant for processing.

  52. Ricardo says

    As they say, you can take a Filipino out of his country, but you can’t take the Filipino-ness out of him. Would you believe that a Filipino couple was sued and evicted from their NYC apartment for frying tuyo in their apartment?

  53. Aklan Heat says


    Dried fish under the scorching heat of the sun! We make our own in Aklan as we lived like a stone’s throw away from the ocean. In season, when there’s plenty of fish to be had, my aunt would tell me to make bulad so I would sprinkle the fish with salt and laid them out “naked” piece by piece on a mat and out in the open sun for drying, usually for two or three days. Sometimes big to medium-sized fish needs to be cut lengthwise at the back of the head to the tail and then gutted, cleaned, salted, and sun dried. Even the gutted entrails of the big fishes are cleaned and applied again with salt and kept in bottled jars for some months to make some ‘ginamos’ or ‘bagoong’ in Tagalog. But that’s another story!

    I love dried fish bulad cooked in coconut milk with kangkong or camote leaves or rima especially for dinner in Aklan growing up. That kind of cooking in our household was a treat because fish is usually cooked fresh grilled in an open fire or boiled dry in vinegar and garlic and dash of salt. Or anchovies for kinilaw!

    Here in the States I hardly cooked bulad but when my coworkers brings some for lunch (occasionally) I’m sure I’ll have my share of it. Some would bring ready-to-eat, fried, sweet and spicy anchovies that comes in a bag for snacks. There’s Seafood City supermarket, Filipino-owned, where I live where one can buy fishes of all shapes and forms; fresh, dried, canned, and even cook-fried for you when you want to. Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Aklan – I found it interesting about the ginamos or bagoong… here in the south, ginamos and bagoong are two different things. So, if I understand correctly, up north, from what you wrote, they are the same thing?

      • Aklan Heat says


        Let me be simple to answer your question. Ginamos or bagoong are one and the same, it pertains to salted and months of fermentation of small fish anchovies and the likes, fish roe, fish intestines, oysters, mussels, clams, or shrimp fry. Jarred or bottled, ginamos na isda is bagoong na isda (fish), ginamos na hipon is bagoong na hipon (shrimp fry), etc.. So, the term ginamos in Bisaya is bagoong in Tagalog, for what it is. I’m Bisayan, when I’m around Pinoy folks, generally, I call it bagoong, when all I see is the common bagoong alamang (shrimp fry) found in the store. But when I’m with family or fellow Aklanons, ginamos or bagoong, calls for the same “thing”, a salted, fermented “anything seafood” mentioned above. And then you can be specific to call it for what seafood is used. Otherwise, eat and be merry! :0)

  54. alan cline says

    I have actually eaten bulad after it has been served and it didn’t gag me but way to salty for me . Ironically whenever it is/was cooked in our house i always have to go outdoors as remaining in it’s proximity gives me a headache . :-)

    • says

      Hi alan – I once ate some bulad that was mixed in with some soup. I really didn’t want to eat it, but I was at the house of a friend, and felt that to be polite I should at least eat some. Like you, I don’t even want to be around while it is cooked! :lol:

  55. Roberto says

    Bob: Bulad not one of my favorite dishes, but I can tolerate it, but then I like limburger cheese, which is as rare as hen’s teeth in Philippines.

  56. says

    They made Buwad in our home yesterday, I have them light scented candles when there done, The smells drifts upstairs, outside and all the way to the neighbors house, Bleccchhh, but I will still kiss her after Buwad ….BUT NOT AFTER BALOT!!!

  57. mikkou0410 says

    Hi Bob,

    I had fun reading your article about bulad. I am a Filipino, and I myself loathe the stench, especially when it’s overcooked and burning. But at home, we make sure to light a candle afterwards to get rid of the smell, which somehow proves effective.

    you might want to try it. :)
    the local bulad may not be a very good option for you, but have you tried Cebu’s danggit yet? they are delicious though. :D

    • says

      Hi mikkou0410 – Thanks for your comment! Nice to hear from you. Yes, I have heard of and seen the danggit from Cebu. Haven’t tasted it, though… I would have to get pretty drunk to eat that stuff.. and I don’t drink! :lol:

  58. Ed P says

    Hi Bob

    I am the one Larry is talking about bring the bulad to the USA. I cannot smell so when my wife cooks the bulad it doesn’t bother me and I like to eat it too. Yes I would kiss my wife after she eats it.

  59. a.mapangarap says

    dried fish very common in asia. in fact, there is a dried fish that my wife and like to buy in bangkok whenever we got the chance. We call it flowefish but im sure that is not the correct name for it. we just call it flowerfish since its shaped and dried like a flower. funny how the locals in bangkok understands us whenever we ask for the flower fish. And it costs about 250pesos for a few grams!

    btw, try danggit. its not as salty as tuyo,and is very crunchy. goes perfect with tomatoes.

    one more thing. you havent seen the “buro” from pampangga. imagine someone barfed and placed it inside a container, seasoned with salt then left to rot. its that bad. Lol

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