A Potluck and Fish

Hosting parties can be stressful. The last time there was a big party here in my house, my mom turned half a century old (ooops that doesn’t sound right) and I remember eating absolutely nothing while the party was going on, then a few hours after I wolfed down like, six chicken thighs slathered with mayonnaise over a mound (not a scoop, not even a heaping scoop) of rice. That was wrong on so many levels.

But those are the big parties. I’d like the believe the real fun happens with those intimate, casual gatherings with friends over good food and better conversations. Sure, hosting my first potluck was stressful but at least everything was manageable and eventually while helping ourselves with spoonfuls of food, the stress melted away.

And yes, this was the potluck where we made flat bread, errr, cream (un)puffs. Nothing can really be said about that anymore, except for the fact that only a scientific experiment can really determine the culprit (ie 3 eggs vs 4; over-stirring vs under-stirring etc…).

Eventually that didn’t matter anymore. When the moment’s there, certain things become so trivial.

The menu: pan fried oriental fish, shrimps with alavar sauce, take-out roast and fried chicken, pizza, leche flan, and the cream (un)puffs.

And my friends really loved my fish recipe, which I adapted from yummy.ph, so for their sanity, here it is, in all its sweet, savory, melt in your mouth glory:

Pan-fried Oriental Fish (serves 6 – 8)

6 whole pieces cream dory fillet plus some skin


  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/4 + 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp gin
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • dash of paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic either ground/powder or
  • 1 tsp freshly chopped garlic
  1. Mix the marinade ingredients in a large container, big enough to hold the fish.
  2. Add the fish (and the skin if you like) and make sure the fish is coated well.
  3. Marinade for at least six hours or overnight
  4. When ready to cook: heat oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat
  5. Add the fish two or three at a time. Do not overcrowd the pan. Fry each side for 2- 4 minutes or until done, depending on the thickness of the fish.
  6. To cook the skin: fry the skin for around 5 minutes or until there is a nice caramelization.
  7. Serve warm with rice and salted egg salad (your mix of salted eggs, tomatoes, onions). Enjoy!
And I’d like to appeal to everyone out there who thinks eating fish skin is disgusting. When you use this marinade and cook it really well, it’s honestly one of the most amazing things I’ve ever tasted (!).

And if you’re in Zamboanga and you think supermarket cream dory is priced unreasonably, then by all means, contact 0917-390-2690 and you can get 5kg of filleted cream dory, plus the bones for soup, skin for chicharon (haven’t tried that yet) delivered to you for 500php only. 90php for 1 kg + 10php for filleting. Orders under 5kg must be picked up by the customer. Prices are subject to change and as of writing this, they might increase their prices next month to 100php/kg.


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