Tinapâté, the Filipino pâté

Tinapâté, the Filipino pâté

Some fifteen years ago, before weekend food markets were fashionable, artisanal food products could be found in the occasional stall at the shopping malls. That was how we were first acquainted with Connie’s Kitchen. Despite having the same name, I did not know the Connie that owned the business; I still don’t. What I know is that Connie’s Kitchen sold darn good tinapâté. For the uninitiated, tinapâté is a portmanteau of tinapa or smoked fish and pâté. Connie’s Kitchen’s tinapâté was a smooth creamy paste with all the flavors and aroma of smoked fish and a myriad of spices that were ground too finely into the paste to identify. But we loved it anyway. Much later, we would discover Connie’s Kitchen stalls at Tiendesitas and the Greenhills Shoppersville tiangge (that’s flea market for non-Filipino speakers).

More than a decade after our first acquaintance with tinapâté, I was introduced to a different version of this delectable treat. At Romulo’s Cafe, the tinapâté was chunkier, not as creamy, but the flavors were sharper, and it was just as good.

After years of announcing to my family that I would make tinapâté at home, it finally happened earlier this week. My version is a cross between Connie’s Kitchen’s tinapâté and Romulo Cafe’s. It is smooth and creamy, but not so thick because I wanted something that can double as a dip. I used boneless tinapang bangus (smoked milkfish) for my tinapâté; you can use any smoked fish. tinapate2

Recipe: Tinapâté


  • 1 boneless tinapang bangus, 300 to 400 g.
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • about 10 stalks of scallion
  • a small stalk of cilantro
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 to 1/2 c. of single (all-purpose) cream
  • 1/4 tsp. of lime or lemon juice
  • 3 tbsps. of softened butter
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Discard the head, tail and skin of the fish. Flake the flesh.
  2. Chop the bell pepper, garlic, scallions and cilantro.
  3. Put the fish and chopped vegetables into the blender. Pour in 1/4 c. of cream, some salt and pepper.
  4. Pulse the blender a few times. If the motor has a hard time, add more cream, little by little.
  5. When the mixture is smooth, add the butter and lime or lemon juice, and pulse a couple of times more.
  6. Taste, add more salt and pepper, as needed.
  7. Transfer to a covered container and chill overnight to allow the flavors to develop.
  8. You can serve the tinapâté on toasted bread or crackers, or use as a dip for chips or vegetables.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 1 tinapate3

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