tabtaba/barbaradio/bakbakasi/dodol-dodol/bilbildong, freshwater blue-green algae salad

Tabtaba, also known as bakbakasi, barbaradio, badbadiokdodol-dodol, bilbildong, kulatlatbakatel in different places, is a true delicacy, in that not many know that it's edible and palatable, and some doesn't have the guts to eat it because of the fact that this is actually gathered from the ground it's like the skin of the earth itself. When I was a kid, we used to "harvest" tabtaba in the fields just after the rice were cut and/or threshed when the rice field is somewhat dry, these bounty of the earth lay in the ground abundantly, waiting to be picked.

Some fortunate times, tabtaba is available in the market, during rice harvest season. This one, in  the Don Domingo public market in Tuguegarao City.

Tabtaba is actually a kind of freshwater algae (lumot), named blue-green algae and the scientific name of the locally growing species in Northern Luzon is Nostoc linckia. It is rich in protein, with a protein content of 40-45% (dry weight), according to studies

Tabtaba in the ground. (Photo: wikipedia.org)

Barbaradio for sale in the Bambang public market in Nueva Vizcaya.

This protein-rich algae is best prepared and consumed as a kind of salad. Wash and rinse well to get rid of the dirt stuck to its lobes. When it's thoroughly cleaned, put in a bowl then pour hot water into it to "cook" it. Let it wallow in hot water for some minutes, then rinse it. Dress with squeezes of calamansi, tomato and onion slices (add in young ginger, if you want), and drops of bugguong juice to taste. Some prefer to sauté tabtaba in little cooking oil, garlic, onions and tomatoes.

Tabtaba salad.


  1. I am imagining if the taste is the same as the jellyfish which is mostly serve in a Chinese restaurant.

  2. Is thise still available in Bambang market this days? It's been long time that I am looking for this..