Paksiw na Bangus

Paksiw na Bangus is one of the easiest and tastiest ways to cook milkfish! Stewed in vinegar and spices, the fish turns out super moist and flavorful. Pair it with steamed rice for a healthy, delicious, and budget-friendly meal you’ll feel good serving the whole family.

I love all types of fish and seafood dishes, but I’ve never really been fond of bangus paksiw. I like milksfish but I never took a liking for the stew’s sharp vinegary taste.

That was until a friend of mine taught me a simple trick that turned the dish into my favorite: a teaspoon or two of oil is added to the dish at the end of cooking. The addition of fat adds flavor and mellows out the mouth-puckering acidity.

To scale or not to scale

When you buy fish at Asian supermarkets here in the U.S., they’ll usually clean and cut the fish according to how you plan to cook it. I asked the staff manning the fish section to prepare my bangus pang-paksiw and I was aghast to find it gutted and SCALED when I opened the paper wrapping at home.

Well, in fairness to the fishmonger, it seems cooking the bangus a la paksiw with scales or without is a matter of contention. I posted the video below on my Facebook page and there was a whole lot of discussion; half of the viewers said descale the fish and the other half said keep them on.

So, yes, keep the scales, don’t keep the scales. It’s up to you. The dish will be delicious regardless.

Cooking Tips

  • The quality of the fish affects the quality of the dish. The fresher the bangus, the better the taste. Try to choose a “mataba” bangus with a thick band of stomach fat for best flavor.
  • I like to add eggplant, but you can also use ampalaya or okra.
  • For an adobong paksiw version, add 1/4 cup soy sauce and decrease the amount of salt.
  • How to serve and store?

  • Enjoy paksiw na bangus as a main dish for lunch or dinner. It’s traditionally served with steamed rice and fish sauce (with chopped chilies if you want a bit of heat) for dipping.
  • The stewed fish keeps well for days due to the use of vinegar. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat leftovers in a saucepan over medium heat or in the microwave at 2 to 3-minute intervals to an internal temperature of 165 F.
  • You can also enjoy the leftovers as whole “new” dish by draining the liquid and pan-frying the fish until crispy. It takes on a “daing na bangus” flavor and pairs well with sinangag for breakfast!
  • Paksiw na Bangus

    Bangus Paksiw is a Filipino fish stew made of milkfish, vinegar, and spices. It’s a hearty, tasty, and budget-friendly meal that’s perfect with steamed rice.

    Prep Time: 10 mins
    Cook Time: 15 mins
    Total Time: 25 mins
    Author: Lalaine Manalo
    Course: Main Entree


  • 1 large milkfish
  • 1 large eggplant, cut into 1-inch thick wedges
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 4 garlic, peeled and pounded
  • 1 thumb-size ginger, sliced into thirds and pounded
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 finger chili peppers
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • Instructions

  • Clean and gut the fish, leaving scales intact. Cut into serving parts.
  • In a wide pot combine fish, eggplant, onion, garlic, ginger, vinegar, water, finger chili peppers, salt, and peppercorns.
  • Cover and let simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes or until fish is cooked and liquid is reduced.
  • Drizzle oil on top and stir gently to combine. Serve hot.
  • Leave a Reply