Suwam na Tahong (Stewed Mussels with Papaya)

There is a big similarity between suwam na tahong and tinolang tahong because they used unripe papaya for the vegetable and it is also a soup. As much as possible, make sure that the mussels are fresh and alive because they smell awful and unhealthy to eat when shellfish are dead. Beware also of the red tide. But don’t worry it doesn’t occur often and you will hear the news. You might wonder what is the rice water? you can get it by washing the rice but throw away the first rice washing. Then save the second and third for this recipe.



1 kilo fresh large tahong (mussels)
1 large onion, sliced
2 cups diced unripe papaya
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. ginger strips
2 Tbsp. patis
1 tsp. MSG or granulated seasoning
4 cups rice water
salt to taste
2 Tbsp. cooking oil
chili pepper leaves (dahon ng sili)


How to cook Suwam na Tahong:

  • To clean the mussels, put them on a basin with water just enough to cover the shells. Put a teaspoon of salt. Leave them for at least an hour to expel the dirt and grime. After an hour, wash and drain and set aside.
  • Saute garlic until brown. Set aside. Saute ginger until brown then add the onions and saute until soft.
  • Add in patis and stir for 3 minutes then add the rice water and papaya. Cover and bring to a boil.
  • When papaya is half done, season with MSG, salt and pepper then add the mussels.
  • Boil until the shell open up. Lastly add the pepper leaves. Serve hot.


Suwam na Tahong