Crispy Tahong (Deep-Fried Mussels)

Crispy Tahong are the ultimate seafood appetizer! Dredged in flour and cornstarch and deep-fried until golden and crunchy, these deep-fried mussels are seriously addictive.

As much as I enjoy the camaraderie of happy hour, I am an alcohol lightweight. A few sips of beer and I am already beet-red, standing shame-free on the table singing an off-key, teary rendition of “End of the World.”

So yes, liquor is not my cup of tea. While everyone in the party is busy with the inuman (drinking), I am deep into the pulutan (appetizers), especially if it’s crispy tahong with spicy vinegar dip!

Plus, they’re super easy to make especially if you use New Zealand frozen half-shell mussels which just need a gentle pry to remove the meat. Better yet, check if your store carries fully shucked mussels that are ready to dredge in flour.

I seasoned the flour with a simple blend of garlic powder, salt, and pepper, but feel free to experiment with herbs and spices such as chili powder, paprika, lemon pepper, or dried coriander.

Deep-Frying Tips

  • Pat dry the mussels with paper towels for the coating to adhere better.
  • For best results, use enough oil to fully submerge the tahong and heat to an optimal temperature of 350 F to 375 F.
  • Use high-smoke point oils such as canola, avocado, safflower, or peanut oil.
  • To keep the temperature from plummeting, do not overcrowd the pan and fry in batches as needed. Heat the oil back to 350 F before adding the next batch.

How to serve

  • Crispy tahong are delicious as an appetizer with your favorite drinks or as a main dish with steamed rice. Serve with spicy vinegar for dipping.
  • These deep-fried mussels are best enjoyed freshly cooked as they lose their crunchiness over time and do not reheat.

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