Sinigang na Bangus sa Bayabas
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How to Cook Sinigang na Bangus sa Bayabas

what is sinigang sa bayabas

Sinigang, to begin with, means “to stew in souring agents.”  “Bayabas” is the Tagalog (Filipino language) term for guava fruit. Therefore, sinigang sa bayabas means to stew with guavas. Sinigang sa bayabas is a Filipino dish.

This recipe uses overripe guavas. So, do we call overripe guavas “fresh?” For the purpose of this recipe, yes, they are fresh guavas, however, ripened to the hilt, those that are closed to being ditched. Probably weird as it sounds, but giving it a try will prove otherwise. The older the better – I like the way that statement sounds. The most popular sinigang sa bayabas is bangus, or milkfish as it is otherwise known. Although there are various sinigang sa bayabas that call for meats and seafoods, sinigang na bangus sa bayabas is what you are going to find here. My hubby does not fancy cooking fruits, and at times, I want to agree with him, but sinigang na bayabas is worth trying.


Ingredients for sinigang sa bayabas

If you have cooked sinigang (or if you’re familiar with the dish), the only ingredient you would need to substitute here is bayabas as opposed to other souring agents such as sampaloc or tamarind, calamansi, lemon, etc.). The rest of the ingredients are the same fresh ingredients that make sinigang particularly delicious:

  • onions
  • tomato
  • souring agent (yes, ripe guavas this time)
  • Green or string beans
  • raddish
  • kangkong (water spinach). Kangkong is also otherwise known as swamp cabbage. 
  • serrano chilis (siling panigang)
  • fish sauce
  • water
  • taro roots (optional, but provide wonders to sinigang sa bayabas)


How to make sinigang na bangus sa bayabas

As in any sinigang recipes, we simply throw the ingredients in water with the souring agent – however in a particular order – until they are cooked through. Sounds simple? It is.

  • Boil medium onion, medium tomatoes, and guavas with two cups of water in a cooking pot until the guavas begin to tear.

  • Scoop the guavas onto a bowl, and add about a cup of soup water from the casserole. Mash the guavas then return them to the pot. You may want to strain and get only the juice. 

  • Add the milkfish and the rest of the ingredients, except kangkong (romaine lettuce), and cook over medium heat until the fish is done.

  • Add the kangkong or romaine lettuce and heat for just a couple of minutes and serve.


Cooking sinigang in four simple steps

It is easy to remember cooking sinigang as it is almost always in four simple steps:

  • stewing ingredients first
  • fish
  • vegetable ingredients, except the green leaves
  • spices and the leafy veggies


Cooking tips:

  • Use Mama Sita’s sinigang mix! (well, come on, why not?) 
  • Using raddish with bayabas is a matter of taste. I find reddish a bit sour for the sweet guava. Your choice of vegetables, therefore varies, but that is fine.
  • Using overripe guava makes sinigang extract is natural flavor because we actually want to get the guava pulp. Green guavas are not good for sinigang at all. Somebody asked me before if guava leaves can be used. Nah, I don’t think so. 🙂
  • A tablespoon fish sauce adds flavor to broth.
  • Green chili is optional in sinigang sa bayabas, though necessary in the other sinigang recipes.
  • Romaine lettuce or about 2 cups baby spinach are good alternatives, if kangkong is not readily available.
  • Best eaten with steamed rice, this dish can serve as appetizer as well, i.e., eat it as is. Make sure that the soup is hot – according to your taste. By the way, you will find this sour soup different than other sinigang as it has some suggestion of sweetness from the guava as its soup base. You may want to season it with salt at the serving stage. As for me, I season with fish sauce (this is indulgence, according to my hubby).
  • Ah, yes, I do not use black pepper in sinigang. 
  • Store leftover sinigang in an airtight container in the fridge and eat the following day. All sinigangs are best on the same day, or the following day max.


Below is an excerpt from a write up of my brother, Francis Perez, who co-authored the book ‘there is no oven in Inang’s kitchen.”

eating fish, skills needed

Eating fish could be a skill second only to its preparation. Removing the scales, and deboning it during meals can be truly intricate. It all starts at the market where one must know how to identify the fresh from the stale? It makes a hell of a difference.

Most people think the supermarket is not the place for “fresh” fish except maybe for live tilapia; but tilapia is as common as our national fish, bangus (milk fish), which, however,  is dead almost immediately after being caught. Even then, bangus won’t go stale even if exposed the whole day as compared to mudfish that should be cleaned alive; it’s not good for consumption if the poor fish is dead before buying. “Bangus is safe,” says my father who grew up in the “palaisdaan” and “pamamalakaya.” I guess his roots explain my inherent love for seafood.

To the fish market, let’s go

The fish market, on the other hand, is always exciting with its variety of fish. Preparing the fish, cooking, and getting the right taste are always gratifying challenges. I do not overdo the ingredients for each fish recipe because I do not want the ingredients to take over its natural taste. The ingredients and cooking should enhance the fish rather than cover its fishiness.

We all know, the place where and how the seafood is caught affects the price. Where a fish is caught also makes a difference in taste. Pinangat na ayungin, small fish from Laguna Lake – this variety is smaller than the ayunging dagat that has green stripes. The former’s meat is more tender. The freshwater fish is normally more tender than the saltwater fish – somehow the norm, but that does not necessarily make it better than the other. Similarly, for shrimps caught from the sea against cultured shrimps.

There is a quickly growing demand for fish fillet meals being served by food stands to fast-food outlets to your favorite restaurants. However, the fish fillet wasn’t initially locally produced. It is fleshy, boneless, and bland but convenient and easy, both for the eating public and those who serve it. There isn’t many praises for this fish even on the Internet. You and I would always be better off devouring a whole fresh fish that we pick up that day in the market.

Be adventurous, step on the wet market and find joy in picking up the fish with the best-looking set of eyes.


Recipe for Sinigang sa Bayabas


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Sinigang na Bangus sa Bayabas

Sinigang na Bangus sa Bayabas

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 5 people 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Filipino


Bangus or milkfish cooked in overripe guavas as souring agent.


  • 1 whole bangus (milkfish)
  • 1 medium-sized onion quartered
  • 1 medium-sized tomato quartered
  • 69 pcs overripe guavas (bayabas)
  • 250 g green beans or string beans (sitaw cut into 3-inch pieces)
  • a few pcs okra
  • 1 bunch kangkong (watercress or romaine lettuce)
  • 4 tbsps patis (fish sauce – optional)


  1. Boil onion, tomatoes and guavas in a casserole or pot until the guavas begin to tear.
  2. Scoop the guavas onto a bowl, add about a cup of soup water from the casserole. Mash the guavas then return them to the pot. You may want to strain and get only the juice.
  3. Add the milkfish and the rest of the ingredients, except kangkong (romaine lettuce) and cook unitl the fish is done.
  4. Add the kangkong or romaine lettuce and heat for just a couple of minutes and serve.

Keywords: sinigang, sinigang na bangus sa bayabas, sinigang sa bayabas

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