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Pinakbet, a Filipino vegetable dish seasoned with bagoong sauce.
Bagoong alamang is made by fermenting tiny shrimps in salt.

Bagoong (Tagalog pronunciation: [bɐɡuˈoŋ]) is a Philippine condiment made of partially or completely fermented fish or shrimp and salt.[1] The fermentation process also results in fish sauce (known as patis).[2]

The preparation of bagoong can vary regionally in the Philippines.[3]


Bagoong (spelled as bugguong in Ilocano) are usually made from a variety of fish species. Common fishes used include the following:[1][4]

Bagoong made from fish is encompassed by the term bagoong isda (literally 'fish bagoong') in Luzon and Northern Visayas.[5] In the Southern Visayas and Mindanao, fish bagoong is known as guinamos (also spelled ginamos). They can be distinguished further by the type of fish they are made of. Those made from anchovies are generally known as bagoong monamon or bagoong dilis and those from bonnetmouths as bagoong terong.

Bagoong can also be made from shrimp fry. This type of bagoong is known as bagoong alamang. In Ilocano or all of Northern Luzon, it is simply called "armang" because shrimp paste for them is distinct from "bugguong (sida)" or fish paste. It is called uyap in the South, in Western Visayas simply "ginamos or dayok".[6][7]

In rarer instances, it can also be made from oysters, clams, and fish and shrimp roe.[8][9] In the Ilocos Region, bagoong is occasionally made from a tiny fish called "ipon."

A kind of bagoong made in the town of Balayan, Batangas is also known as bagoong Balayan.[7]


Bagoong isda and Bagoong alamang[edit]

Bagoong isda (fish paste) is prepared by mixing salt and fish usually by volume; mixture proportions are proprietary depending on the manufacturer. The salt and fish are mixed uniformly, usually by hand.[10] The mixture is kept inside large earthen fermentation jars (known as a burnay in Ilocano).[11] It is covered, to keep flies away, and left to ferment for 30-90 days with occasional stirring to make sure the salt is spread evenly. The mixture can significantly expand during the process.[3]

The preparation of bagoong alamang (shrimp paste) is similar, with shrimp cleaned thoroughly and washed in weak brine solution (10%). As in fish bagoong, the shrimp are then mixed with salt in a 25% salt to 75% shrimp ratio by weight.[3]

The products of the fermentation process are usually pale gray to white in color. To obtain the characteristic red or pink color of some bagoong, a kind of food coloring known as angkak is added. Angkak is made from rice inoculated with a species of red mold (Monascus purpureus).[10] High quality salt with little mineral impurities are preferred. High metallic content in the salt used can often result in darker colors to the resulting bagoong and a less agreeable undertaste. Likewise, oversalting and undersalting also has a significant impact on the rate and quality of fermentation due to their effects on the bacteria involved in the process.[3] Some manufacturers grind the fermented product finely and sell the resulting mixture as fish paste.[12]


Patis or fish sauce is a byproduct of the fermentation process, a clear yellowish liquid that floats above the fermented mixture. Sauces similar to patis exist throughout Asia and are also used in their respective local cuisines such as nuoc mam in Vietnam, nam pha (ນ້ຳປາ) in Laos, hom ha in China, nam pla in Thailand, shitsuru in Japan and saeu chot in Korea. It has a sharp salty or cheese-like flavor.[3]

To obtain patis, fermentation is longer, usually taking 6 months to a year. During longer fermentation processes, the fish or shrimp constituents disintegrate further, producing a clear yellowish liquid on top of the mixture due to hydrolysis. This is the patis, it can be harvested once it has developed its characteristic smell. It is drained, pasteurized, and bottled separately, while the residue is turned into bagoong.[3] If the residual solids are not moist enough, brine is usually added.[1] The rate of fermentation can vary depending on the pH levels of the mixture and the temperature. Exposure to sunlight can also reduce the amount of time required to two months.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c J. Dagoon (2000). Agriculture & Fishery Technology III. Rex Bookstore, Inc. pp. 242–243. ISBN 978-971-23-2822-0. 
  2. ^ National Research Council (U.S.). Panel on the Applications of Biotechnology to Traditional Fermented Foods (1992). Applications of biotechnology to traditional fermented foods: report of an ad hoc panel of the Board on Science and Technology for International Development. National Academies. pp. 132–133. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Priscilla C. Sanchez (2008). Philippine fermented foods: principles and technology. UP Press. p. 424. ISBN 978-971-542-554-4. 
  4. ^ Elmer-Rico E. Mojica, Alejandro Q. Nato Jr., Maria Edlyn T. Ambas, Chito P. Feliciano, Maria Leonora D.L. Francisco & Custer C. Deocaris (2005). "Application of Irradiation as Pretreatment Method in the Production of Fermented Fish Paste". Journal of Applied Sciences Research 1 (1): 90–94. Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  5. ^ L. Basbas (2007). Learning & Living in the 21st Century. Rex Bookstore, Inc. p. 129. ISBN 978-971-23-4724-5. 
  6. ^ "Ginisang Uyap/Guinamos a la Marketman". MarketManila. April 10, 20111. Retrieved May 2, 2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  7. ^ a b Reynaldo G. Alejandro, Doreen G. Fernandez (1998). Food of the Philippines. Tuttle Publishing. p. 26. ISBN 978-962-593-245-3. 
  8. ^ Eve Zibart (2001). The Ethnic Food Lover's Companion: A Sourcebook for Understanding the Cuisines of the World. Menasha Ridge Press. p. 270. ISBN 978-0-89732-372-7. 
  9. ^ Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (1990). Utilization of tropical foods: animal products : compendium on technological and nutritional aspects of processing and utilization of tropical foods, both animal and plant, for purposes of training and field reference. Food & Agriculture Org. p. 34. ISBN 978-92-5-102878-0. 
  10. ^ a b National Research Council (U.S.). Board on Science and Technology for International Development (1988). Fisheries technologies for developing countries: report of an ad hoc panel of the Board on Science and Technology for International Development, Office of International Affairs, National Research Council. National Academies. p. 163. 
  11. ^ Chris Rowthorn, Greg Bloom (2006). Lonely planet: Philippines. Lonely Planet. p. 147. ISBN 978-1-74104-289-4. 
  12. ^ Home Economics and Livelihood Education 5. Rex Bookstore, Inc. 1990. p. 409. ISBN 978-971-23-0033-2.