Steamed Lapu-lapu – All Dressed Up and Ready to Go!

If there is a party or fiesta food that resonates the most, it is the steamed lapu-lapu (grouper) that always comes to mind. Well, not everyone may agree with me, but for our family this is one of those Filipino fish recipes that we usually prepare only on special occasions.


Let’s just say that this lapu-lapu dish is so rich that it’s deviously good. It is healthy because it’s fish and vegetables, but at the same time it is laden with cholesterol-inducing mayonnaise, cheese, and eggs.

But we don’t eat this everyday and I hope you won’t, too. This is the dish that should only be made available during special occasions and holidays. So, that’s what we did last April 30 since it was town fiesta here in our beloved Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

And by the way, the manginginoms or beer-drinkers who were also love this dish as pulutan (finger food or dishes that accompany alcoholic drinks during parties, special occasions, etc.). I always find it interesting that the drinkers in our family and our guests would always request this dish. While others eat it with rice, which may be a little weird for most people, we love it just as it is since there are salad veggies used as garnish.

steamed lapu-lapu

beautifully dressed up steamed lapu-lapu, all ready for the party!

My sister was the one who decorated the steamed lapu-lapu. We didn’t want to it eat first because we didn’t want to mess up the colorful array of toppings.

My favorite veggie on this dish was the roasted red bell peppers. We didn’t mind that there were some charred bits of pepper skin since it adds flavor to the dish as well. The roasted peppers gives a depth of flavor and somehow cuts the richness of the mayonnaise, in my opinion.

steamed lapu-lapu

I want you to try this at home. Don’t wait ’til it’s fiesta or someone’s birthday. There’s always a good excuse to eat this dish, just don’t do it every day.  😉

Here’s the recipe…


Lapu-lapu fish (choose individual fish that’s worth half a kilo or 3/4 kilo)

kalamansi juice



water for steaming

* for the garnish/topping:


grated carrots

chopped roasted red bell peppers (skin removed)

chopped hard-boiled eggs (separate the whites and yolks prior chopping)

pickle relish

grated cheese

ice berg lettuce

decorate with: carrot flowers, sliced cucumbers, and curly leeks


Prepare your steamer by adding water and pounded ginger into the pot. While waiting for the water to boil, prep the cleaned lapu-lapu by putting in pounded ginger into the cavity of the fish (head and belly). Dab the fish with calamansi juice before sprinkling some salt.

Line the slotted tray/pot with aluminum foil and dab with a little oil just to prevent the lapu-lapu from sticking. Once the water is boiling, place fish into the steamer and cook for 10-15 minutes or until fork tender. Don’t overcook.

Prep a tray or large plate for your lapu-lapu. Do this after steaming the fish and while it is cooling down on a rack.

Spread a little amount of mayonnaise onto the tray or plate. Place the ice berg lettuce without covering all of the plate’s surface. Place the cooled lapu-lapu in the middle of your plate/tray. Spread enough mayonnaise onto the fish before arranging the garnish on top of the fish. Use color coding when adding the garnish – alternate the contrasting colors as shown here on the two photos to make the dish more presentable and inviting.

Add the carrot flowers and sliced cucumber on the side, on top of the lettuce leaves.

To make the leeks curly… Snip each leek lengthwise without cutting the entire piece. You can cut in half or thirds a whole leek prior to snipping each piece. After snipping place the leeks in cold water – this will curl up the leaks.

Make sure to shake the leeks a little bit before placing them onto the dish. Place the finished dish in the refrigerator to cool. If you want to eat it right away, it’s okay. But it is best served and eaten cool, especially with a glass of beer or two. 😉

Try this at home – weekend is best when everyone’s available!

I’m sure your family will enjoy it!

If you love this dish (or not), let’s hear it in the comments section.

Have your own version of steamed lapu-lapu? Share it below!

Have a great weekend!