By Sol Vanzi Timpla't Sikkim
NEW FISH ON THE BLOCK
Move over, tilapia, bangus, and maya maya! Golden dory is poised to conquer Pinoy dinner tables! 

 When tilapia was first introduced in the Philippines in the 1950s, our Las Piñas neighbors, who owned fishponds, considered the new fish as nothing more than a nuisance. They did not only eat up all the planktons but also the expensive bangus and sugpo (tiger prawn) fingerlings. PHOTO: Dory bacon cheese katsu. Dory bacon cheese katsu There even came a time, in the 1960s, that it was even an open house at all ponds for those who wanted to catch tilapia. But there were very few takers. No one wanted to eat the strange fish. Who would have thought then that tilapia would become so popular that, today, it is the second most farmed fish in the country, second only to bangus.

The other major development in Philippine fish farming industry was the introduction of Chinese grass carp, also called the big head carp, by then first lady Imelda Marcos after her historic trip to China in the mid-‘70s. Growing as big as five kilos in a few months, the grass carp came to be known as Imelda. It was also sold at wet markets as maya-mayang puti to command a higher price. Now, there is a new fish in the Philippine market, one that Filipino chefs and housewives first met in fillet form in the frozen section of supermarkets. Under the label “cream dory,” the white, deboned, and skinned Pangasius catfish from Thailand and Vietnam became an instant hit. Golden Dory is raised in fishponds in Bulacan, Pangasinan, and Nueva Ecija Golden Dory is raised in fishponds in Bulacan, Pangasinan, and Nueva Ecija Imported cream dory gained acceptance because it’s convenient, cheaper than any local fillet, and always abundant in supermarkets. By 2001, however, concerns were aired by health groups about the post-harvest treatment of cream dory, particularly the chemicals used to bleach the fish meat, turning it from golden yellow to white. * READ MORE...

(ALSO) Discovering Cream Dory:  A glimpse into the journey of a Cream Dory from the harvest to your home 

PHOTO: The farmers have their catch for the day. A couple of hours’ drive away from Manila lies a particular farm in Lambac, Pampanga, nestled between narrow streets. A short, muddy dirt road from the main gate leads to the interior of a farm. The six-hectare property houses several fishponds, with the majority of them used to breed Tilapia. At the far end of the farm however, there is one pond that is busy with activity as six men stand in its waist-deep waters, hauling nets loaded with feisty live Pangasius.

They fill a deep rectangular plastic container to the brim with the fresh fish, and subsequently weigh the catch on a scale. After they record the weight of each fish-filled container, they then start to load them into a huge truck that will bring the harvest directly to the Vitarich processing plant in Bulacan. “The Cream Dory fillets sold in most supermarkets are imported from Vietnam where Pangasius originated from,” says Ms. Imee U. Chun, Sales and Marketing Manager of Vitarich Corporation, the company leading the propagation, farming, and distribution of Pangasius in the Philippines. “The imported variety has a really white flesh and a mellower flavor, while the ones farmed here in the Philippines have a tinge of light yellow color,” she says. “Local Dory fish has a finely textured flesh and a sweeter flavor compared to its imported counterpart.”  * READ MORE...

ALSO: Vitarich embarks on golden dory venture 

OCT 2 --Iconic agricultural feed supplier Vitarich is embarking on a multibillion peso venture on supplying thousands of tons of golden dory nationwide to stop what it calls “Vietnamese invasion” of the country’s dory market. In a roundtable discussion recently at the luxurious Rockwell Club, Ricardo Manuel Sarmiento, Vitarich chief operating officer and executive vice president, said 100 percent of all cream dory or pangasius bought in the market are from  Vietnam. “It’s so ironic because we have plenty of this fish here. What we have are more delicious, affordable and most of all sariling atin (our very own),” the COO-EVP told various business reporters.
He said Vitarich’s Cook’s Golden Dory product is a clear proof that the Philippines cannot just equal but more likely surpass its Vietnamese competitor. At present, Sarmiento said they can supply 50 tons of dory all over the country.

They are willing to increase the supply once the market demands for more. The official said Cook’s Golden Dory is made of 100 percent all-fresh, all-homegrown and most of all no artificial, no bleaching toxin like the Vietnamese dory. “If you notice those that come from that country, they are too white, too shy; it’s because of the bleach that they put to prolong the life. It stays in groceries’ freezers for so long before it hits your table.
What is the result? Buyers eat the dory that is full of extenders. We don’t do that because we know the value of real food,” the official said. Suggested retail price of a one-kilo Golden Dory from Vitarich is P220, which is almost similar to their competitor. Sarmiento said they are very happy because they know they can compete in the dory venture since Filipinos are at their back, literally. “Who doesn’t love their own? Of course every one does that’s why we are here. It’s very important that you know what you are eating,” he said. All of their dory are sourced from various fish pens in Pampanga, Bulacan and Nueva Ecija. The big result of sourcing dory at home, according to the official, is the thousands of jobs they can create. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

New fish on the block; Move over, tilapia, bangus, and maya maya! Golden dory is poised to conquer Pinoy dinner tables.

MANILA, OCTOBER 6, 2014 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Sol Vanzi - When tilapia was first introduced in the Philippines in the 1950s, our Las Piñas neighbors, who owned fishponds, considered the new fish as nothing more than a nuisance.

They did not only eat up all the planktons but also the expensive bangus and sugpo (tiger prawn) fingerlings.


Dory bacon cheese katsu

There even came a time, in the 1960s, that it was even an open house at all ponds for those who wanted to catch tilapia. But there were very few takers.

No one wanted to eat the strange fish. Who would have thought then that tilapia would become so popular that, today, it is the second most farmed fish in the country, second only to bangus.

The other major development in Philippine fish farming industry was the introduction of Chinese grass carp, also called the big head carp, by then first lady Imelda Marcos after her historic trip to China in the mid-‘70s.

Growing as big as five kilos in a few months, the grass carp came to be known as Imelda. It was also sold at wet markets as maya-mayang puti to command a higher price.

Now, there is a new fish in the Philippine market, one that Filipino chefs and housewives first met in fillet form in the frozen section of supermarkets.

Under the label “cream dory,” the white, deboned, and skinned Pangasius catfish from Thailand and Vietnam became an instant hit.


Golden Dory is raised in fishponds in Bulacan, Pangasinan, and Nueva Ecija

Imported cream dory gained acceptance because it’s convenient, cheaper than any local fillet, and always abundant in supermarkets. By 2001, however, concerns were aired by health groups about the post-harvest treatment of cream dory, particularly the chemicals used to bleach the fish meat, turning it from golden yellow to white.

* Cream dory is sold in frozen fillet form, using water spray to coat each fish, resulting in a loss of up to 20 percent of the weight after thawing. Frozen cream dory thaws into a mushy consistency, making it difficult to slice them into sharp, clean-edged pieces.

Last year, in Divisoria, I found Pangasius sold whole. It’s just called dory. Retailing at P80/kilo, each fish weighed two kilos and looked like a plump catfish with dark skin.

I have cooked whole dory in sinigang sa miso, adobo with dilaw, prito, sarciado, taucho with tausi, and steamed with wansuy.

The flesh color is similar to imported pink salmon while the texture is firm like lapu-lapu (grouper). There’s not a whiff of fishiness. It did not taste or feel like the white, frozen supermarket variety. The vendor told me Pangasius is now being raised in Nueva Ecija.


Sopa Ysabel with dory quenelles

A few days ago, I finally met the people responsible for introducing Pangasius in the Philippines.

Ricardo Manuel Sarmiento, executive vice president of Vitarich, announced that the company was now ready to distribute golden dory to retailers.

Golden dory, unlike the imported cream dory, is unbleached and untreated with chemicals.

Its freshness is assured by the fact that it is raised not in the Mekong River but in fishponds in Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, and Pangasinan.

Proving its versatility, chef Gene Gonzalez recently prepared a sumptuous dinner featuring golden dory in soup, salad, and main course.

FROM WWW.YUMMY.PH

Discovering Cream Dory A glimpse into the journey of a Cream Dory from the harvest to your home By: Divine Enya Mesina


The farmers have their catch for the day.

A couple of hours’ drive away from Manila lies a particular farm in Lambac, Pampanga, nestled between narrow streets. A short, muddy dirt road from the main gate leads to the interior of a farm. The six-hectare property houses several fishponds, with the majority of them used to breed Tilapia.

At the far end of the farm however, there is one pond that is busy with activity as six men stand in its waist-deep waters, hauling nets loaded with feisty live Pangasius. They fill a deep rectangular plastic container to the brim with the fresh fish, and subsequently weigh the catch on a scale.

After they record the weight of each fish-filled container, they then start to load them into a huge truck that will bring the harvest directly to the Vitarich processing plant in Bulacan.

“The Cream Dory fillets sold in most supermarkets are imported from Vietnam where Pangasius originated from,” says Ms. Imee U. Chun, Sales and Marketing Manager of Vitarich Corporation, the company leading the propagation, farming, and distribution of Pangasius in the Philippines.

“The imported variety has a really white flesh and a mellower flavor, while the ones farmed here in the Philippines have a tinge of light yellow color,” she says.

“Local Dory fish has a finely textured flesh and a sweeter flavor compared to its imported counterpart.”

* Pangasius was initially introduced in the Philippines for farming in the early 1980s, but it has only gained popularity among local fish growers in the past couple of years. Fish pond owners who have been in the Tilapia and Bangus farming business are slowly shifting to Pangasius farming due to its promising profitability and ease of breeding.

There are now farmers raising Pangasius in the Mindanao and Visayas areas, as well as in Luzon, particularly in Pangasinan, Bulacan, and Pampanga.


Pangasius fishes are being weighed before they package and sell them.

Pangasius Vs. Tilapia

Mr. Manny Cruzada, who manages a Pangasius hatchery and farm in Apalit, Pampanga, says that Pangasius is easier to raise compared to Tilapia and Bangus because “Hindi maselan ang Pangasius.

Unlike Tilapia na nagkakaproblema sa growth at nagkakasakit pag may slight change in water condition and temperature. Mas mataas ang tolerance sa tubig ng Pangasius.”

Another farm caretaker in Lambac, Pampanga, Mang Rey, narrates that he’s been involved in Tilapia farming for the past 20 years and had only tried Pangasius farming for the first time last year.

That day that YUMMY visited their farm, he and his men were hauling their very first harvest of eight-month old Pangasius and were very pleased with the outcome.

Out of the 40,000 fingerlings they put in an 800-square meter pond, only a little over 200 died. “Ang Tilapia, pag tinamaan ng peste, maraming namamatay,” Mang Rey says, “Pero ang Pangasius, maski may bagyo, hindi naaapektuhan. Ang dapat lang iwasan ay yung umapaw ang fishpond para hindi sila maagos.”

Pangasius has a higher stocking density than Bangus and Tilapia. One square meter can hold up to 10 Pangasius, and because they are surface breathers, “Okay lang kahit marami sila sa pond,” adds Mang Rey. Pangasius can also tolerate low oxygen water, a condition which would otherwise cause fish kill in Bangus and Tilapia.

And with its low mortality rate, Pangasius has a survival average of 85 to 90 percent. However, while Bangus and Tilapia can be harvested after three to four months, Pangasius has to be raised in the pond for a minimum of seven to eight months before the harvest.

This will give them enough time to grow to a marketable size of one to 1.2 kilos a piece, whereas a kilo of Tilapia would average about three to four pieces per kilo.

Although farmers can do partial harvests in Bangus and Tilapia farms everyday, this cannot be done with Pangasius. This is a peculiar characteristic of farm-raised Pangasius—that they have to be harvested all at the same time.

“Let’s say in a one-hectare pond, nag-partial harvest ka lang ng three tons of Pangasius, pag nagpakain ka uli ng mga nandoon pa sa pond, three days silang hindi kakain. Kasi parang they remember na hinuli ’yung ibang mga kasama nila. Matampuhin itong isdang ito,” says Imee Chun.

PART 2

Discovering Cream Dory A glimpse into the journey of a Cream Dory from the harvest to your home By: Divine Enya Mesina


Pangasius fingerlings waiting to mature before the harvest.

Hatching and Breeding

Vitarich Corporation, one of the country’s biggest feed millers, partnered with contract growers two years ago, pioneered the extensive commercial growing of this freshwater fish, and set up an integrated system that covers breeding to marketing. Although it is also eyeing the export market, the company is more focused on distributing all its output in the domestic market at the moment.

In the farm managed by Mr. Manny Cruzada in Apalit, Pampanga, approximately 200 two-year-old male and female Pangasius are being bred together in an 800-square meter pond. When the eggs are fully mature, a specially formulated liquid is injected into the fish to induce spawning. Eight to 11 hours after the injection, a single female breeder can lay up to 500,00 eggs at one time. Approximately 60% of these will survive. Each day, 10 female breeders are made to spawn.

The fry will stay in a separate tank or pond for 24 hours. After which they will be transferred to another pond until they become fingerlings. The hatchery sells one-inch fingerlings for P2.50; three-inch fingerlings for P3.50, and four-inch fingerlings at P5.50 each. The hatchery sells a minimum of half a ton of fingerlings to buyers.

At the moment, Vitarich has only one hatchery that is located in Pampanga. According to Chun, they are still looking for people willing to partner with them to put up hatcheries in the Visayas and Mindanao regions to provide farmers easier access to fingerlings in the said areas.


A fisherman gears up for the big haul.

Challenges and Controversies

Although Pangasius was introduced to a number fish farmers in the last two decades, it still hasn’t received an overwhelming response in the market. In the wet markets, people who are not familiar with the fish would simply pass the vendors who sell them. Most Filipinos, Chun observes, are generally not open to try things they’re not familiar with. “We are trying our best to convince people who are regular buyers and consumers of Tilapia and Bangus to give locally farm-raised Pangasius a try,” she says. “Kasi right now, our biggest challenge pa rin is the [people’s] acceptance.” And because Pangasius looks a bit like the African Hito (that is known to be a gunk-eating bottom feeder), market vendors are having a difficult time convincing more people to buy fresh whole Pangasius.

“We’re trying to address these challenges by convincing more farmers to become our breeding partners and by teaching them how to farm Pangasius in the right way,” shares Chun. “Teaching farmers to raise Pangasius would also boost their income,” says Chun. When Bangus and Tilapia are harvested at the same time, the market becomes flooded with these fish, consequently decreasing their price values. Harvesting and selling Pangasius can be an alternative means for farmers to earn more.

At the moment, Vitarich is in partnership with ten contract growers within Pangasinan, Pampanga, and Bulacan. The company sells the fingerlings and feeds to the farmers, then Vitarich buys back the grown fish once they reach the required market size.

Another difficulty the company is facing is the influx of imported fillets which are sometimes sold cheaper than the locally raised Dory. But Chun discloses that they are slowly able to convince their big clients in the hotel and restaurant industries that locally-grown Dory is superior to the imported ones in terms of taste and texture. One can easily differentiate the imported Cream Dory from the local variety by looking at the color of the flesh. Thailand’s and Vietnam’s Cream Dory have white meat, whereas the one raised here in the country has a light yellow flesh. And to make sure that local Dory is not confused with its imported counterparts, Vitarich has labelled its packaged fish as Golden Dory.

Another thing that is making it difficult for Pangasius to gain the public’s acceptance is the controversy that circulated in the Web a year ago. Vietnam’s Pangasius, farmed and raised in the Mekong River, allegedly had high levels of poisonous elements and bacteria since the polluted river has been a dumping site for toxic and hazardous wastes of nearby industries.

The good news is that the Pangasius farmed here in the Philippines are raised in farms and not in polluted rivers. “Our Dory fish is cultured in farms, therefore the farmers can monitor the status of the water and can control the feeds given to the fish,” assures Chun.

PART 3

Discovering Cream Dory A glimpse into the journey of a Cream Dory from the harvest to your home By: Divine Enya Mesina


Preparing the dory for packaging and selling.

From the Market To Your Plate From the farm, Vitarich’s Golden Dory harvest is immediately brought to its processing plant. They are cleaned, gutted, filleted or cut into specific sizes, packed, and then blast-frozen on the same day they are harvested.

On average, fishes raised in farms have to weigh 1.5 to 1.8 kilos per piece because they are mostly sold as skinless fillets in supermarkets at about P175 to P190 per kilo. Smaller-sized fishes are usually sold whole in wet markets at P80 to P85 per kilo.

“Now that it’s starting to pick up in sales, we are also pushing for value-added products,” says Chun. The company brand, Cook’s Marinada, has sausages, longganisa, frankfurters, lumpiang Shanghai, Dory balls, breaded fish fingers, and marinated fish; while the Cook’s Golden Dory brand offers Dory gutted whole, in packaged fillets, and in steak cuts (pure meat, with belly, tail-end).

Diners in countries such as Spain, France, Poland, Germany, Australia, and the United States have been enjoying the taste of Pangasius for years. Here in the Philippines, Dory is only just starting to gain popularity as more restaurants serve Dory as the main ingredient in their fancy dishes. Hopefully, home cooks will start to enjoy this fish at their dinner table too, since Pangasius tastes wonderful when cooked as regular Pinoy dishes like sinigang and inihaw, or simply seasoned with salt and pepper, lightly dredged in flour, then pan-fried.

Surely, little by little, the Dory will find its way into the kitchens and dining tables of Filipino families across the country.

FROM THE TRIBUNE

Vitarich embarks on golden dory venture Written by Ed Velasco Thursday, 02 October 2014 00:00



Iconic agricultural feed supplier Vitarich is embarking on a multibillion peso venture on supplying thousands of tons of golden dory nationwide to stop what it calls “Vietnamese invasion” of the country’s dory market.

In a roundtable discussion recently at the luxurious Rockwell Club, Ricardo Manuel Sarmiento, Vitarich chief operating officer and executive vice president, said 100 percent of all cream dory or pangasius bought in the market are from Vietnam.

“It’s so ironic because we have plenty of this fish here. What we have are more delicious, affordable and most of all sariling atin (our very own),” the COO-EVP told various business reporters.

He said Vitarich’s Cook’s Golden Dory product is a clear proof that the Philippines cannot just equal but more likely surpass its Vietnamese competitor.

At present, Sarmiento said they can supply 50 tons of dory all over the country.

They are willing to increase the supply once the market demands for more.

The official said Cook’s Golden Dory is made of 100 percent all-fresh, all-homegrown and most of all no artificial, no bleaching toxin like the Vietnamese dory.

“If you notice those that come from that country, they are too white, too shy; it’s because of the bleach that they put to prolong the life. It stays in groceries’ freezers for so long before it hits your table.

What is the result? Buyers eat the dory that is full of extenders. We don’t do that because we know the value of real food,” the official said.

Suggested retail price of a one-kilo Golden Dory from Vitarich is P220, which is almost similar to their competitor.

Sarmiento said they are very happy because they know they can compete in the dory venture since Filipinos are at their back, literally.

“Who doesn’t love their own? Of course every one does that’s why we are here. It’s very important that you know what you are eating,” he said.

All of their dory are sourced from various fish pens in Pampanga, Bulacan and Nueva Ecija.

The big result of sourcing dory at home, according to the official, is the thousands of jobs they can create.


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