It’s bar food, it’s beach food, it’s family food. You can enjoy it in almost any region of the Philippines but you’ll find the largest, meatiest and freshest inihaw na panga ng tuna (grilled tuna collar) in coastal towns with established fishing industries.
For non-Filipinos, panga literally translates to jaw. The delicacy known as panga ng tuna, however, refers to the collar of the fish — the triangular strip of bone between the gills and the fish’s body. Embedded within the crevices of the bone is scrumptious fatty meat that you won’t get from any other part of the fish.
Fish collar is considered offal in many parts of the world. It’s a throwaway cut especially in rich countries where people only know fish as fillets. But here in Asia, including the Philippines, we’ve known for a long time that the meat in the fish collar is the best.
Inihaw na Panga ng Tuna (Grilled Tuna Collar)
- Start heating the charcoal in your grill.
- Pass the banana leaf over fire (the stovetop, in our case) to wilt it.
- Wipe the tuna collars dry with a kitchen towel.
- Wrap a collar in a piece of banana leaf then wrap the package in a larger piece of banana leaf.
- Tie the parcel with kitchen twine.
- Repeat with the other tuna collar.
- Grill the banana leaf-wrapped tuna collars over hot charcoal for 10 minutes per side.
- Cut the banana leaf wrappers with kitchen shears.
- Serve the inihaw na panga ng tuna as an appetizer or as a main course.
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