Sinarapan in Bicol, world’s smallest edible fish

Categories Food
Dried sinarapan made into cakes or sheets and sold around Bicol. One peso coin is around 2 cms in diameter.
Dried sinarapan made into cakes or sheets and sold around Bicol. One peso coin is around 2 cms in diameter.

Sinarapan in Bicol, also known as Mistichthys luzonensis HM SMITH 1902 is one of the smallest fishes in the world and it is found in certain bodies of water in Camarines Sur, including Lake Buhi, thus, I remember what I have learned during my elementary years, drilled down by CED, Current Events Digest, and stern teachers that we had to memorize these tidbits of information.

Well, it was one of two with the other, more popularly known as Pandaka pygmaea, still found in the island of Luzon and endemic to the Philippines. But going back on the former, it was only last June that I finally got to see what this sinarapan actually is, cooked, ate, and as a sheet of dried fish.

It’s tiny, averaging 12mm in length and although I haven’t seen it live, my attempts to arrange of seeing it or even sold fresh at the market didn’t materialize but I got fascinated with this rather tasty fish. It’s said to swim in schools and there is a certain way of capturing it.

Cooked, its usually sauteed lightly in oil with tomatoes and onions and goes well with rice especially if its spiked with chili! Other than sold as dried sheets or cakes, it is also available in blocks of uncooked sinarapan that is usually frozen.

The placid waters of Lake Buhi, one of the few bodies of water in Camarines Sur where the sinarapan makes its home
The placid waters of Lake Buhi, one of the few bodies of water in Camarines Sur where the sinarapan makes its home

Thanx to Lake Buhi Resort for the invitation where I stayed for a few days and enjoyed this place so much.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications.

He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces.

I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

4 thoughts on “Sinarapan in Bicol, world’s smallest edible fish

Tell me what you think

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.