They occur in the Indian and across the Pacific Ocean. The young fry live at sea for two to three weeks and then migrate to mangrove swamps, estuaries, and lakes. The fry are collected from rivers and raised in ponds where they grow very quickly. The milkfish is a national symbol of the Philippines, where it is called bangus. Ours are farmed in Indonesia.
Bangus is a delicious fish. Its nearly white flesh is neither too strong nor too mild, and many Filipinos consider all other fish inferior. There is a thin dark layer just under the skin and a dark strip down the centre but the dark parts are still quite mild.
A popular cooking method in the Philippines is Daing na Bangus. Here the Bangus is butterflied, cutting from the top, leaving the belly intact. It is deboned (or not), marinated in vinegar and garlic and fried. Often served for breakfast!
Try serving with a dry Riesling. With its sweet, citrusy flavour it pairs well with this fish whichever way it is cooked.