Filipino “Salmon” with Sotanghon

Filipino "Salmon" with Sotanghon Recipe - Canned Mackerel with Vermicelli and Potatoes

When I was younger, I really didn’t like this dish. My mom made these with misua (some thin salted wheat noodles) which always ended up too starchy for me. I also never got why it was called ‘salmon’ (pronounced SAL-mon, instead of samən) when it’s Not. Even. Salmon. It’s mackerel.

The most popular brand was Hokkaido–some argue that this is Hekkaido, with an e. My husband and I think that the brand Hokkaido used to all just be the Pink Salmon variety, hence homecooks called it “salmon,” but maybe some time later the mackerel was introduced. It was most likely much cheaper than pink salmon and made its way to Filipino homes, but got stuck with the name! Well, that’s our theory. 

Anyway, a few months back, my mother-in-law made this dish with vermicelli (sotanghon), and either I’ve grown up, or the vermicelli made a huge difference. I loved it and added it on my mental list of dishes to prepare.

This dish is especially cheap, too! Probably will cost no more than Php 100? It’s good to have a couple of cheap dishes on our weekly meal plan to stay on budget. Splurge on some, save on some.

Canned Mackerel with Vermicelli

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 200g / 7oz can mackerel in natural oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 cup potato, diced into small cubes
  • 3/4 oz. vermicelli (sotanghon), rehydrated in cold water
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce (patis)
  • pepper to taste


  1. Take one tablespoon of oil from the can, heat it in a small pot or saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onions and tomato until soft.
  2. Add mackerel and the rest of the oil, and let cook for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add potatoes, water, fish sauce and pepper to the pan and bring to a low boil. Simmer until potatoes are almost tender, gently stirring from time to time.
  4. Drain vermicelli and add to the pan. Simmer for a couple of minutes to absorb some of the flavor and water. Serve immediately with hot steamed rice.

    Notes / Tips
  • Simmering for too long will cause the mackerel to break apart. Dice potatoes small so that you don’t need too much time ’til it’s tender enough.
  • Hold off on the fourth step if you’re not yet ready to serve. Otherwise, the noodles will soak up all the soup, bloat, and leave you with no liquid!

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