Burong Isda

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Burong Isda consists of cold cooked rice and raw filleted fish fermented with salt for around a week. This Filipino dish is common in central Luzon, Particularly in the province of Pampanga.

burong isda with mustard leaves and eggplant
Burong Isda / Tagilo

As I have mentioned in my Ube Halaya post, we spent the Christmas and New year in the Philippines. Aside from spending the holidays with loved ones, I was on a quest for bringing back new recipes for me to share with you lovely folks. And this fermented rice with fish is one of those recipes. Shout out to my brother Russel for imparting his culinary skills with me! Thanks bro!

fermenting burong isda

Burong isda or Tagilo to Kapampangans is not everyone’s cup of tea. Some don’t like it while others just love it. Another variant of the dish is Balao-Balao which is made with shrimps. Buro goes well with mustard leaves and boiled eggplant. One thing to remember when making this dish is that you can’t use newly cooked rice. You need to let the rice cool down for a few hours before prepping it for fermentation. Better yet you can use left-over rice so it won’t go to waste. You can use tilapia or bangus (milkfish) for the fish ingredient but for this recipe I used tilapia. And lastly, you will need is salt. Just these three ingredients that are probably in your kitchen right now. Fancy trying it? Let us know how it and share your experience below!

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Tips for Burong Isda

  • When fermenting the rice and fish, use sterilized glass bottles.
  • Before putting the lid on, place a clean clear plastic or cling film on top of the bottle and close with the lid.

Burong Isda

Burong Isda consists of cold cooked rice and raw filleted fish fermented with salt for around a week. This Filipino dish is common in central Luzon, Particularly in the province of Pampanga.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Fementation7 d
Total Time35 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Filipino
Keyword: burong isda, burong isda recipe, fermented rice and fish, tagilo
Servings: 1 bottle
Author: Bebs Lott


For fermenting the rice and fish

  • 2 cups cold cooked rice
  • 2 tbsp rock salt
  • 2 pcs tilapia filleted or 10 pcs small shrimps

For cooking the fermented rice and fish

  • 2 pcs medium size tomatoes chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • ½ cup water


Fermenting the rice and fish

  • Prepare sterilized glass bottle or jar with a lid.
  • Place 2 cups of rice in a bowl and add 1 ½ tbsp. rock salt. Mix well and set aside.
    cold rice
  • Gut tilapia and clean thoroughly then pat dry. Fillet and cut fish into small pieces then rub the remaining ½ tbsp. of rock salt on the fish pieces.
    filleted tilapia
  • Spoon scoop some rice and place some at the bottom of the bottle.
  • Add some cut tilapia fish on the second layer then the rice again. Repeat the process until rice and fish are done NOTE: Make sure top layer is rice.
    rice and fish layer
  • Place a clean clear plastic or cling film on the mouth of the bottle and close tightly with the lid. This will keep air from entering the bottle.
    bottle with lid
  • Store the bottle in a dry place at room temperature and ferment for at least 7 – 10 days. More than ten days it gets sourer.

Cooking the Burong Isda

  • In a wok or pan heat cooking oil over medium heat. Saute the garlic, onion until garlic is fragrant and onion is translucent then add the chopped tomatoes.
  • Stir until the tomatoes soft and wilted then add the fermented rice with fish and mix well. Add water then continue stirring and let simmer for 10 mins.
  • Transfer in a serving dish with mustard leaves/boiled eggplants and enjoy it as a side dish. Bon Appetit!

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