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Milkfish is a sleek, silvery fish that’s a popular ingredient in the cuisines of Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, and other parts of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

In fact, in the Philippines it’s commonly considered the unofficial national fish.

A milkfish can grow up to five feet long, although most of them end up a couple feet shorter than that. Their ideal habitat is warmer water, and they’re known to congregate around relatively shallow areas compared to most saltwater fish — they’re often found around coral areas, lagoons, or other parts of the sea with lots of nooks and less vast open water.

While used in many different dishes, milkfish is also traditionally dried, fermented, or canned, as well as smoked or eaten raw. A popular Filipino dish is fried milkfish stuffed with vegetables; in Taiwan, it’s popular fried or on top of congee. In parts of Indonesia, milkfish will be pressure-cooked until the thorny parts of its body are tender and edible.

Nutritionally, milkfish is high in protein and healthy unsaturated fats, niacin, vitamins B12 and 6, magnesium, phosphorus, and other minerals and vitamins. Plus, unlike some larger fish, it’s low in mercury.

You can find milkfish in Uwajimaya’s seafood market, where our fishmongers will help you make the best pick for your needs!