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Bagoong (pronounced as bah-goh-ong) or bagoong monamon is a fish sauce which is native to the country of Philippines. This sauce is also popular in Pacific regions and Hawaii Islands. The Filipinos use it as a condiment in cooking and it is prepared from partially or completely fermented anchovies or shrimps. The bagoong is commonly found in regular Asian stores in little bottle jars. The Europeans are not fond of this sauce due to its offensive and pungent fishy flavor. This fish sauce is similar to a popular fish paste,Ngapi Yay, of Myanmar.

The fermentation of fish imparts dark brick –red color but sometimes purplish color is imparted to the sauce by adding artificial food dyes. The fish sauce variant which is prepared using fermented and salted shrimp is known as bagoong alamang.

Recipes Involving Fermented Bagoong

  • Bagoong Alamang: This is basically a shrimp paste which is prepared from krill alamang or minute shrimps. The dish is mostly topped with green mangoes. The color and appearance of the sauce varies as per the combination of ingredients. The pink and salty alamang fish sauce is labeled as fresh and it is created when the shrimp- salt mixture is allowed to marinate for few days. This form of fish sauce is not eaten regularly. The dish is prepared using the fatty pork, onion, garlic cloves, tomatoes and fermented shrimp paste. The chili, sugar or salt can be added to the dish to improve its flavor.
  • Bagoong Guisado: This sauce is prepared using the lard, sugar, garlic, fermented (shrimp, fermented anchovies and small fish), and native vinegar. The cooking oil is heated and garlic is sautéed in it and all other ingredients and then blended in hand mixer to create this fish paste variant.

This is also the fish sauce which is produced during fermentation of fish. The patis is the clear yellow liquid which flows on the top of bagoong mixture. The fish sauce or fish liquids like patis are found in most of the East Asian countries and are widely used in local cuisines such as hom ha in China, nam pha in Laos, nam pla in Thailand, and Saeu chot in Korea. The patis tastes cheesy and salty like a strong cheese. The patis is obtained at the end of long fermentation of fish which mostly takes about 6 months to 1 year. The long fermentation process can produce more liquid which is drained, processed and bottled like a sauce and the residue is used for bagoong. Some brines are added to the liquid for solidifying.

Culinary Uses of Fermented Bagoong
The Bagoong is used as salt replacement and flavoring agent in many of the dishes. This fish sauce variant is typically accompanied with many traditional Filipino dishes like inabraw, pinakbet, and kinilnat.