Milkfish, also called Bangus or 虱目鱼 is a very popular fish in Taiwan and Philippines but it has not picked up so much in other parts of the world due to the amount of bones in this fish. It has a total of 214 bones! However, did you know that the structure of this fish allows skilled fishmongers to cut out the milkfish belly without worrying about its dreaded bones?
Check out this video to watch how it's done.
Are there bones in the milkfish belly?
No, there are no bones in the bulk of the milkfish belly due to the the milkfish's skeletal structure. There is a colour boundary separating the milkfish's belly and back. Following this boundary, and cutting along a curved arc, the processor is able to extract the milkfish belly which is boneless. What is even more precious than the lack of bones in a milkfish belly is the gelatinous deposit of belly fat between the black cavity lining and the abdominal wall. When cooked, it is soft and slippery with no fishy taste.
What does milkfish taste like?
Milkfish has a firm texture with a mild, sweet taste. The texture of the milkfish is suitable for most cooking techniques from soup to frying and grilling. We tried cooking it in a simple broth similar to how the local Taiwanese people enjoy it in Tainan and found it extremely delicious. The broth was light with a lingering sweet aftertaste. The fish in this soup was sweet and reminded us of Chinese Pomfret. The soup was also slightly milky looking due to the emulsion of the milkfish belly's gelatin and fat.
Here's the recipe for a simple Taiwan-style Milkfish Soup.
1. Two pieces of milkfish belly (our milkfish belly comes nicely vacuum-packed in the exact portion required for this recipe)
2. Sliced ginger (this recipe recommends young ginger)
3. One stalk of spring onion, sliced
4. A tablespoon of rice wine
6. 300ml water
1. Use a paper towel to dab on the milkfish to remove excess liquid. Spinkle salt on both sides of the milkfish belly.
2. Bring water to a gentle boil and put the milkfish belly in for 3 minutes.
3. In a serving bowl, add the spring onion and rice wine. Pour the milkfish belly and soup into the bowl. Top it off with the sliced ginger and serve while hot.
What are the nutritional benefits of milkfish?
Milkfish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. On top of that, it is a rich source of B-complex vitamins and selenium.
What's so special about the milkfish from Dish The Fish?
Our milkfish is directly imported from Fisher Farms in the Philippines. Fisher Farms grows most of its milkfish in the pristine deep sea waters of Pangasinan in northern Philippines. Milkfish grown in the deep sea have sweeter, more flavourful, firmer, and cleaner flesh than fish grown in freshwater. They have state-of-the-art processing and farming technology, ensuring only high quality products. On our site, you will be able to find many of their milkfish based sausages which was awarded the 2012 Superior Taste Award by the highly prestigious International Taste and Quality Institute (ITQI) based in Belgium.