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.
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.
Using a butter knife, pry mussels from shells. Discard shells. Wash mussel meat and drain well.
In a bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, salt, garlic powder, and pepper.
Dredge mussels in the flour mixture to fully coat.
In a pan over medium heat, heat about 2-inch deep of oil to 350 F.
Add mussels, shaking off excess flour, and deep-fry for about 5 to 7 minutes or until mussels are cooked through and are golden and crisp.
Remove from heat and drain in a colander set over a bowl. Serve hot with spicy vinegar dip.