Here they come! Run for the hills! Don’t even take time to pack your luggage, just get to running and whatever you do don’t look back, the buad are here!
Okay, okay, it’s not quite as bad as that but buad is definitely something that takes getting used to. Buad is the Bisayan term and it is called “Tuyo” in Tagalog and is a small, dried, salted fish. The fish itself is no problem and is actually quite tasty when cooked. However it is the aroma (odor, lol) that comes during and after cooking. That’s when you want to run and run and run and run as far away as you can. That is if you are a Westerner. The odor seems to have no effect on the Pinoy or Pinay cooking and eating it. In fact it is a favorite for many Pilipinos who are living and/or working abroad as it reminds them of home. Every one who makes a Balikbayan trip back to the Philippines always brings back plenty of buad/tuyo to share with their kababayan (countrymen) upon their return to their western country. Buad or tuyo is really the food of the poor people in the Philippines and many are happy to have it as otherwise they would have nothing to eat. Sad but true. Even so all Pilipinos enjoy it and those in western countries look forward to it as a special treat.
How to describe the, ahem, aroma? It’s difficult. For the ultimate answer you must experience it yourself. In the meantime, let me relate my story. The first time I stayed in Cebu City I was in a hotel right off Colon Street. Thinking I wanted to acclimate myself to the weather there I turned off the air conditioning in my hotel room and opened the window. Big mistake as that’s when it hit me. I remember thinking, “Wow. Someone must have been dumping their garbage outside the hotel and now it has turned rotten.” I swear, it was terrible. I was forced to close the window. I later learned that the cause of this odor was the restaurant across the street that was cooking buad. I have since become a little bit more used to it but doubt that I will ever fully embrace it. It’s truly quite an experience for my western nose.
Here is what to look for so you can prepare yourself. If you see the following then get the clothespins out and clip one to your nose.
Here is the buad/tuyo section from the SeaFood City grocery store in Sacramento, CA;
As you can see there are many to choose from. Here’s a young lady who’s made up her mind which one she wants. Her mouth is probably watering right now just thinking about how wonderful it will taste.
Once you arrive home it is time for cooking. If you have a covered patio outside of your house that would be best for the preparation. Of course now your neighbors will be mad at you. LOL If you must cook inside then open the windows and turn on the fans. I have found that lighting a candle works wonders in controlling the odors. Unfortunately some Pilipinas have foreigner husbands who demand that they not cook it at all because of this smell. This only shows that these husbands have no feelings for their wife’s needs as they deny their wife from enjoying her own “comfort food”. Here’s hoping that if they ever move to the Philippines that their wife will demand they never cook macaroni and cheese in their Philippine house.
Here is a foto of the buad frying in a small saute pan;
And here is the end result. A plate with the fried buad, some ground corn (same as polenta), some calamansi to squeeze for juice and some spicy peppers.
And that’s it! Now, just dig in and enjoy.