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Food | The Famous Smoked Fish of Mercedes Camarines Norte

Seafood Capital of the Philippines they may not but Camarines Norte has a thriving seafood industry as well.  If Juan Panganiban has the squid and crabs, The town of Mercedes has a fish port that brings in a variety of fishes daily.  A lot of these goes to the production of Bagoong (Fermented Fish or Shrimp) and this one Tinapa (Smoked or preserved fish).

As they are known for these products, its worth your while to visit how these are made.  For our trip, we are brought to the smoked fish production in Mercedes.  Just a few minutes from town center of Mercedes, or 20 minutes from Daet via car, one will see how fishes are fermented, dried, arranged in beds, smoked then loaded in vehicles.

Its exciting to see the smoked fish production and you feel you are transported to a new world.  The place is dark with a sliver of light coming from the open doors and the place filled with smoke.  Be ready to go in smelling fresh, then leaving with the smell of smoked fish.  To allay your fears, the smell isn't stinky.  The word I can describe the smoke is delicious.  I like tinapa so even if I smell as such, no problems here.  Also the smell that sticks to your clothes would dissipate fast so don't worry much.

The owner of the place attests to the cleanliness (no flies we noticed), the flavorsome nature of their tinapa.  Their product also is ready to eat.  Unlike the other tinapa we bought in the wet market that you need to fry in oil, theirs were enticing to eat right away.  Since we were there, I bought a kilo for Php120.  I never realized how many would it be but it turned out one kilo is already a lot of tinapa.  

To cook it, we didn't fry them anymore in oil, we simply placed it over the fire, heat it up a bit and its ready to serve.  It goes well with hot steamed rice and raw tomatoes.  We found out also that having banana catsup on the side would help bring out its flavor adding more to your dining experience.  

So when you visit Daet, don't forget to pass by the town of Mercedes.  They have a lot of things to offer.

We would like to thank the tourism Office of Camarines Norte and the Office of the Mayor of Mercedes for showing us around their beautiful province.