An Ilocano Living with Buro in New England

Burong Isda or Fermented Fish

When making my “Ano ang gusto mong pasalubong?” request, buro (fermented fish) is my usual answer. Why buro?
  1. It is my favorite food, of all time, of anything!
  2. The longer that you preserve it, the better (So, you won’t even have to worry about getting it stale- never! In fact, at one time, my Nanay Aning bought a huge can of buro and I was making sure it would last me for a year and miraculously, it did – even better, actually heavenly!)
  3. It is what it is: fish and rice – both cheap and easy to buy in the Iloko region of the Philippines
  4. The immigration won’t confiscate it as long as you declare it – unless you have a stop over in Hawaii and chances are, the people who are working there are Ilocanos who are also in great need of such buro supply, so there might be buro MIA case for you.
  5.  Where else on this land of fried chicken, RAGU and pasta will you ever buy buroby the tin can? Nowhere – so why not buro for pasalubong!
Buro is rather rare! But buro has something unique, hmmm…a raunchy smell! And buro, makes my neighbors cringe to their stomach and maybe grind their teeth. I like to cook buro with a lot of onions and garlic. So, one autumn day, I was sauteeing the ingredients for my buro when one of our neighbors rang the doorbell: SHE said: I’m sorry, but we were just wondering if there was an electrical line burning in your house. We have been smelling this burning smell. I said: Oh, that was my food! SHE said: Oh, I’m sorry I thought something was burning. I said: You want some, it’s buro – my favorite! SHE said: Oh, NO thank you! Then she left as I enjoyed my buro with a plateful of rice, eating with my bare hands.


  1. cath fausto says:

    hi manang. buro is also one of my favorites but i wonder if you also add tomatoes in it as we do. 🙂

  2. […] you may do so. The first four questions were: a. your favorite food (of course, I put in fermented fish) b. your favorite hobby c. your favorite book or movie and d. your proudest moment in education […]

  3. […] tirem (oyster) bathed in calamansi juice with chopped onions and lots of pepper and salt; 2. Buro (fermented fish). One of the family traditions that we used to do was to go to my grandfather’s house on Sunday for […]

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