Puyoy

puyoy
Puyoy | National Museum WV, @natmuseum.wv, Photos courtesy of Banjo Dela Cruz and Capiz Marine Products

Puyoy

Because it’s Father’s Day today, let’s go to the Seafood Capital of the Philippines. In Capiz, there is a popular food we don’t commonly find on our dining table – eel!

Thank you to Alger Inocencio for sharing info about this dish. At first glance you would think it is a snake; but no, it’s a marine eel locally called “poyoy” or “puyoy”.

Coastal dwellers of President Roxas make a living by catching puyoy, which sells at Php 250 to Php 300 a kilo. It grows up to 12 inches, slimy and difficult to catch. Manugpuyoy or fishermen who catch puyoy ride motorized boats to go to mudflats and mangrove areas. They wade in the water or walk through a knee-deep mud when it is low tide, and using a customized metal fishing gear called karit, comb the mud to catch a puyoy. To cover the vast mudflats at low tide, they use a customized scooter made of wood.

Puyoy is sold to street food vendors with mobile carts popping up in the streets of Capiz every afternoon. The technique to get rid of its slime is to rub it with young guava leaves or ash. Puyoy is cooked grilled, adobo or paksiw. Others believe it is an aphrodisiac but no study confirmed this yet.

Puyoy meat tastes like chicken. It’s like eating a thinner chicken neck minus the skin. The inasal or grilled puyoy is favorite street food. The mid-afternoon to nighttime grilling spree in plazas or markets has it one of the bestsellers.

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