Tabo-an, Cebu’s One Stop Shop for Everything BUWAD (dried fish) & Other Pasalubongs


Although not talked about on social media, buwad is actually one of the things Cebu is known for and I can assure you, no true blue Cebuano will not miss this delicacy! Just ask any of your Cebuano friends for their usual requests from home and I’m certain most will have one kind of buwad (may it be pusit, danggit, pinikas, bolinao, etc.) on that list.

This is especially true for Cebuanos who are now outside of the country! I’m sure many of them have a lot of stories on their “techniques” on how to bring them admittedly fish smelling delicacy into the airplane and ultimately into a foreign country. More common stories I’m sure would include cooking buwad indoors in housing units that are close to one another causing mayhem to their neighbors for the unfamiliar smell it produces.

ginamos, hippon, buwad store in carbon cebu
Although I took this photo in Carbon, it does show you the wide assortment of dried fish that can also be found in Tabo-an. Come to think of it, I actually didn’t see hippon and ginamos there today.

I also have a feeling buwad has something to do with the Philippines being the biggest rice importer in 2019 as it is naturally best paired with rice, a lot of it given most are naturally salty.

I’m not sure where most people are buying their buwad these days but for the longest time, I’ve always known one place in the metro known for just this delicacy and that’s Tabo-an.

Of course this blog wouldn’t be much without pictures so without further delay, below are some of the sights you can see and of course prepare to see the wide variety of dried fishes you can shop here.

tabo-an cebu dried fish stalls
In Tabo-an, there are buwad stores on both sides of the road. This side has about 10 stalls.
tabo-an buwaran
Just across the picture above, you will also find these dried fish vendors. There are about 3-4 stores here with one being the biggest of them all.
dried fish stores tabo-an cebu
Same area in Tabo-an Cebu City.
pusit, dangit, bolinaw, bones, tocino, squid
Pusit, dangit, bolinaw, bones, tocino, squid, and everything in between.
cebu dried fish heaven
This photo for me tells a lot about Cebu in one frame. There’s a smile, a frown, chorizo, dangit, pusit, nukos, and other delicacies from Shamrock.
danggit buwad
Dangit and pusit – you can never have enough of them.
pusit dried fish unsalted
Pusit, my favorite! Prices here range from Php 1,100.00 – 1,400.00 per kilo today. I can’t assure you these are the cheapest though as I searched on Facebook market and found pusit (sweet kind or unsalted) at about Php 900.00 / kilo.

The salted pusit here can range from Php 600.00 – 900.00 per kilo.
cebu delicacies
One stop shop for all other delicacies including of course dried mangoes, otap, rosquillos, etc.
buwad pinikas
Tamban and assorted pinikas nga buwad.
tamban buwad
Another angle at the assorted pinikas dried fish.
assorted dried fish cebu
Heaven for the taste buds, hell for our kidneys! 🙂
buwad bolinaw hipon
I see buwad… Buwad everywhere!

For those who can’t imagine how these raw dried fish will look once prepared, here are some examples for your reference:

cooked tamban dried fish
This is the outcome when you fry the buwad tamban. EXTRA RICE guaranteed! 🙂
buwad pinikas kamatisan
Buwad pinikas can be prepared in many ways however, THIS right here is food for the gods! You fry your choice of pinikas na buwad and add in a generous amount of tomatoes to the oil and voila you get this sinarsahan/kamatisan na buwad pinikas!

I’m not feeling hungry, YOU ARE! Or wait, #metoo
dried pusit
Dried pusit. Best served naturally with coconut vinegar with fresh chilies! The vinegar on this pic doesn’t have red chilies because the wifey isn’t a fan but I guaranty you can say goodbye to at least 2 cups of rice with this on the table. As we Cebuanos fondly say, “bali ang kaldero” which means, the rice cooker will be reversed! lol
ultimate cebuano breakfast
Here you can see the fried dangit on the bottom right along with pusit on top of it, puto, fresh mangoes and of course kinugay sugar and vinegar with red chilies.

This right here is what sums up my breakfast everytime we stay on a hotel or resort in Cebu. And yeah, my wifey hates me for it because of all the food in the buffet table why would I just be getting food I’m already familiar with. What can I say? I’m just old school that way.

All that said, and if you’re still around without having to run to the nearest market/store you can get a hold of buwad yet, then let me conclude by telling you that if you haven’t tried the Tabo-an experience, you really should especially if you are Cebuano.

Lastly, although buwad was once labeled food for the poor, I can guaranty you these days, the demand for Cebu’s dried fish is just so high that the prices of most are just too expensive for most people. Imagine uncooked pusit is at least Php 1,100.00 per kilo. Alejo’s lechon can be had for like Php 600.00 per kilo already and that’s ready to eat! Man we sure are long past the time buwad is only for the poor which is of course sad.

Tabo-an Location