The improved processing of ginisang burong dalag [sauteed fermented mud fish] now has 24-26% less salt content and it is more delicious, nutritious, and has a pleasant odor than what was normally manufactured. It also has passed the 365 days shelf-life test.
This innovative product was made possible through the collaborative “Burolicious [fermented and delicious] project: its processing, packaging, commercialization and project implementation” of Pangasinan State University-Bayambang Campus and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) - Region 1 Food Innovation Center.
Buro is a native product of Bayambang, Pangasinan which has been part of Bayambang’s unique culture due to the abundance of fresh water fishes from the lake. It’s been believed that this unique food is rooted in religion from way back in the era of Spaniards who colonized the Philippines for about 400 years. Old folks do practice fasting by eating fish and vegetables or no meat at all during the Semana Santa or Holy Week, thus the buro became a staple on the table.
Prior to this project, some studies showed that there is a decreasing number of buro makers due to laborious preparation, poor technology, and lack of capital. The sales of buro were also low due to its unpleasant smell. Probably the only loyal and common consumers of buro are old folks who often tolerated its unpleasant smell.
Buro is usually sold raw in the wet market area of Bayambang, Pangasinan, which is also an unfavorable place for visitors to buy the native product. Consumers buy the buro as raw and they cook it according to their own taste and recipes. The buro consumers have their own peculiar taste thus the buro makers have their own formulations, too.
“The amount of salt applied depends on how long a buro maker plans to preserve it,” one informant of the study said.
According to a related study, majority use 30%-35% salt proportion, but when asked if there is a standard amount of salt, rice and other materials used, they said that it’s up for the buro maker to estimate the amount. Usually, buro makers follow the thumb rule that the more salt applied, the longer the shelf life.
The improved ginisang burong dalag is acceptable and has export quality. In fact, the commercial sterility test resulted in negative traces of harmful aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, when cultured in malt extract and acid product test broth. It has low mold and yeast count as compared to other fermented manufactured goods.
Market pilot test found that standard preparation of 3 kilos has 36.26% return of investment for cooked buro and 48.26% if raw. It also increased employment by 3-4 laborers per producer.
At present, the researchers trained 23 female producers in three barangays [villages], and one model cooperator (Shelflex Food Products), a DOST assisted company under the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program or SETUP. The innovative processed burong dalag has a potential to grow into a large profitable industry.