Milkfish, Awa, Ikan Bandeng, Bangus, 虱目魚

Milkfish (虱目魚 pronounced Si Mu Yu) is a southern Taiwanese specialty. Some popular Taiwanese milkfish dishes include milkfish (and milkfish belly) rice-porridge (虱目魚粥, 虱目魚肚粥),pan-fried milkfish belly (煎 虱目魚肚) and fishballs made from milkfish (虱目魚丸). Have you tried this fish before?

Top left: Milkfish belly porridge; top right: seafood combination porridge, bottom right: fried milkfish belly

If you are hearing about milkfish for the first time just like me, you may want to know more about this fish. It is also known as Awa - in Hawaii, Ikan Bandeng in Indonesia, Bangus in Philippines. I am not quite sure the method of preparation for milkfish in these countries, but I surely like how the Taiwanese prepares them, incorporating de-boned milkfish into a Hokkien-style rice-porridge. I have actually seen whole milkfish being sold in the Asian supermarket - 99 Ranch, in California, USA; however, I don't think I know how to de-bone this notoriously boney fish that is said to have more than 100 to almost over 200 fish bones!

Milkfish has good nutritional value - very high in niacin and Vitamin B12, high in phosphorus, high in selenium, high in vitamin B6. Similar to other oily fish e.g. sardines and salmon, milkfish is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) - "nutrients" for the brain. However, since it is high in purine, gout sufferers should mind their intake of this fish.


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