The Province of Capiz is rich in marine resources and its waters are abundant with different seafood, including shrimp. Many Capisnons, especially in coastal communities, process and produce fermented fish product, such as dayok.
Dayok is a shrimp paste made by fermentation of hipon (minute shrimp or krill, or dinalaganhon). The shrimps used in dayok are the tiny shrimps or ‘krill,’ the same kind of shrimps used in ‘kalkag’ or dried krill. In the town of Ivisan it is used to called them dinalaganhon.
The production of dayok takes time (a week): once the baby shrimps were harvested in the sea, they are salted in a container and wait for at least three days to ferment. However, for better results, the shrimps are washed with salt water. The saltiness of the seawater makes it the ideal preservative. In the absence of the sea water, the shrimp are cleaned with tap water with salt. The shrimps are squeezed, so the water can drain. The more it drains the better the dayok would taste and the longer it lasts. During the process, the producer would also add salt. If the dayok is to be transported to long distance, the secret to containing the fishy smell is to wrap the dayok and place it in a box – usually thermo-chest – filled with ice. This fermenting process can last a few months, especially in enriching the flavor. However, the way the dayok is made – including the extent of saltiness – depends on how the customer wants it. For example, if someone asks for a dayok that would be taken to places that would require longer days of travel, the producer will make it saltier and drier to make it last longer.
Dayok can be eaten raw with vinegar, as sauteed, or as one of the ingredients to some Filipino dishes. Shrimps are basically harvested from the sea and the amount of the dayok depends on how abundant the harvest is. Usually, it is the fisherfolk who harvest the shrimp from the sea while the women in the community make the dayok. They are also the one who takes charge of selling them on the public market or to vendors who sell them as well.
Raw dayok is available in the public and weekend markets. Some artisanal food makers, like housewives, local restaurant owners/cooks, and food enthusiasts also experiment on different ways that the dayok may be proffered.