Baked tahong (mussels) baked tahong (mussels) with olive oil and fresh garlicMy favorite shellfish but only next to oysters, mussels or tahong, are so versatile they can be steam for an appetizer, cooked as a simple but very flavorful soup or cooked as a main dish. Grilled over live coals, they are popular as a pulutan for beer drinkers.

I bought half a kilo of mussels the other day and thought I’d make some baked tahong–something I haven’t done in quite a while. I debated over how I would make them. Would I do it with the usual cheese topping or would I do it the way my father did one time long ago? I decided on the latter. With something as flavorful as mussels, less is more.

I’m not very sure about the origin of this recipe. It is definitely not Filipino because olive oil is drizzled over the mussels on the half shell before they are baked.

Ingredients :

1/2 kilo of large mussels
about 1 tbsp. of finely chopped garlic
some olive oil
sea salt

Cooking procedure :

Wash and scrub the mussel shells well. Place in a large bowl and cover with water. Let sit in the fridge for several hours to expel sand. Change the water every two hours or so. That’s SOP when cooking with shellfish. Unless you allow them enough time to expel sand, well… the sand will be inside the shell when you cook them. If you’re making soup, the mussels will expel sand during cooking and the sand will be all over the broth. Besides, since you want the mussels to be partially open to allow you to break off the half shell, you will really need to let them soak in water for some time.

After about 6 hours, the mussels would be partially open. Pull out the “beard” and pry the shell open. Scrape the meat on one side of the shell. Break off the empty half shell and discard. Do the same with the rest of the mussels.

Arrange the mussels on a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle a little sea salt over them. Top each with a pinch of freshly chopped garlic. Drizzle olive oil over the mussels. Bake in a fairly hot oven, about 170oC, for 4-5 minutes.

Serve at once with kalamansi halves or lemon slices on the side.


  1. Trosp says

    Wow! First time I’ve encountered a baked tahong without the usual cheese or butter or even the mayo ingredients. But then, even without actually baking your recipe, I can already imagine it’s taste. BTW, putting the shellfish in the fridge the way you have described will also help in identifying those undesirable to be eaten. The shell will not open up anymore. Never leave anything to chance, discard them.

    Another thing, don’t assume tahong is like talaba that can be eaten raw. Again, never leave anything to chance. AFAIK, talaba is the only shellfish that you can eat raw.

  2. Mimi from OC, California says

    Is this the same dish as “sizzling tahong”? I visited the Philippines back in 1990 and had it for the first time and absolutely loved it. I’ll try it either way because it sounds (and looks) delicious. I discovered your website a couple of weeks ago and have been addicted to it since. I check it regularly for new recipes and have explored your archives as well. So far, I made your bistek, adobong sitaw and sweetened bananas. All of them were so simple to make and very yummy! Thanks for sharing your wonderful recipes and secrets with us — especially pinoys outside the Philippines!

    Keep ’em coming!

    • tekno says

      baked tahong has totally different ingredient with sizzling tahong. the shells are totally removed in the sizzling tahong, and cooked straight right away on the sizzling plate.

  3. says

    i love my tahong prepared like this too. sooo good. when my bestfriend in California got married, we actually both planned the reception and this is one of the dishes we prepared. her freezer was full of frozen tahong days before her wedding..hehe. everybody loved it. :)

  4. says

    Trosp, ah how true. The ones that float on water while soaking should be immediately discarded. The ones that don’t open after soaking aren’t fresh either.

    Mimi, “sizzling” is a word apended to any dish served on a hot plate here in the Philippines. :) And I have lots more recipes coming up.

    Hi Dexie, kasi, ‘di ba, sometimes, too much toppings and you can’t taste the tahong anymore. The natural flavors are drowned by everything else.

  5. lemon says

    i agree, the mussels get overwhelmed by all those toppings. now i know why even after several washings, the mussels i cooked last week still had lots of sand in them. i know better now, thanks to you.