Tasting the Tarotot—Dried Squid of Cebu City

The Philippines in general is well known for its wide variety of fresh and dried seafood. Cebu, in particular, is famous for its dried fish (danggit) and squid (tarotot). No tourist ever leaves without buying a pack or two of these.

The term tarotot means “trumpet,” and the squid do look like trumpets when dried. In local supermarkets, it is usually sold per pack, with one pack containing more or less 30 pieces ranging from 50-70 pesos each. It can also be bought per kilo at 380 pesos in Taboan Market, Cebu.

I love squid dishes but I used to hate the dried ones before. My mother is a native from Cebu and she always brings 5-10 kilos of tarotot back home after visiting her hometown. We pack them equally to be distributed to our relatives.

That has been her way of giving pasalubong (goodies) from the trip. I’ve seen my mother cook tarotot in a pan of oil. The cooking should be done carefully because when fried too long, the dried squid burns and it becomes bitter to taste. When done well, the tarotot is crunchy and chewy at the same time.

Tarotot is best enjoyed if soaked in spicy vinegar. It is not only served as a viand for rice lovers but it can serve as finger food for small parties as well. It may not be as cheap as the dried fish but tarotots are worth the price. It’s another seafood experience everyone should try.

This is a guest post from Naomi C. of Cagayan de Oro City.

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