Daing: A Filipino Poverty Food

Daing, Bilad, or Tuyo refers to a dried fish found in the Philippines. A fish prepared as Daing is usually split to open, salted liberally, gutted, and place under the sun then air-dry. There are also called a “boneless” variation which fillets the fish before continuing with the drying process. It originally was a preservation technique, as salt stops the growth of bacteria, enabling the fish to be stored for periods of time.


One variation of Daing known as Labtingaw uses less salt and is being placed under the sun for a much shorter period of time (a few hours) and is still slightly moist and meatier than the original fully dried variant. Also, another variation of Daing known as Lamayo doesn’t use the drying process. Instead, after the fish is being cleaned, it is simply soaked and marinated in garlic, vinegar, and other spices before frying.


Daing is also considered as a “Poverty Food” because of its relative cheapness but has gained significance in the Philippine culture as a “Comfort Food”. One of the most popular and used comfort food of Daing is Danggit or Dangguit. Danggit is a dried rabbitfish and is usually fried directly before intake and served with rice and a “sawsawan” (usually calamansi or vinegar). As a breakfast food, they can also be served with fried eggs.


In the Central and Southern Philippines, Daing is well known to as Bulad or Buwad in Cebuano. The variants which are sliced and gutted are known to as Pinikas (literally “halved” in Cebuano dialect). Northern regions do not usually distinguish between the two, though most use Daing to refer specifically to the halved and gutted variants, while Tuyo is used as a general term for all variants.


Any fish can actually be prepared as Daing. The species of fish that is usually used is identified by name when sold in the marketplace. For instance, in Cebu, the native specialty which uses rabbitfish (natively known as Danggit) is called buwad danggit. Other fish species used are threadfin breams (natively known as bisugo); grey mullets (natively known as banak); and sardines (natively known as tunsoy or tamban). Daing which are made from sardines are commonly dried as a whole, though exported variants may be tested and gutted to comply with food laws in other countries. Cuttlefish and squid can also be prepared like the Daing (Cebuano: buwad na pusit; Tagalog: Daing na pusit)