Honey Paksiw: Ugly but Delicious

Words: Dwight Co/Photography: Mylene Chung/Styling and Recipe Development: Katherine Jao/April 30, 2012

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Don’t you find it annoying how local TV commercials slap the line, “Fortified with vitamins and minerals” on just about ever food item we have?

Royal Tru Orange. Otap. Tender Juicy Hotdogs.

Today, we want to bring you a classic Filipino dish that actually has all of those. Meet paksiw.

The bad thing about paksiw is that visually, it looks like crap. But all its shortcomings are compensated for because it’s light, healthy and delicious.

On top of that, this classic fish dish’s aggressive sour taste mixes extremely well with our favorite food of all time, plain rice.

If you’re short on budget and want a quick jolt of salty and sour while keeping your figure in check, this might be your best bet.

By the way, our version’s a little bit different from the original with a little honey for a more well-rounded flavor.

Honeyed Paksiw

Yield: 3-4 servings


  • 12 pcs galunggong fish
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp patis/ fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 3/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 tbsp ginger strips
  • 12 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 2 pcs green finger chili


  1. Clean fish well. Mix together olive oil, patis and honey.
  2. In a pot, put 1/3 of the ginger and 4 pcs garlic. Arrange 6 pcs of fish on top.
  3. Top with another 1/3 of ginger and 4 cloves garlic. Then layer the remaining fish.
  4. Top with remaining ginger and garlic.
  5. Sprinkle peppercorn, pour over patis mixture, and top with chili.
  6. Cover and boil.
  7. When mixture starts to boil, remove cover and boil for another 12-15 minutes.


  1. Feel free to use other varieties of fish like Besugo.

Dwight Co

Managing Director/Founder

When he was nine, Dwight stormed the kitchen and proudly cooked himself his first dish, Spam and eggs. Realizing his immense talent for cooking canned food, he co-founded Pepper.ph in 2012. Aside from directing Pepper.ph's content and design, Dwight also makes websites and runs a tiny ramen house in Burgos Circle called Wrong Ramen. See More.

  • Lence Perfecto

    i wish i could like paksiw was much as i like the photo. ewan, can’t stand paksiw at all! :)

    • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

      haha! It’s really more of an acquired taste! I used to not like it very much it as well, but it grows on you especially when you pour the sauce over rice! haha!

  • http://twitter.com/mrdeliciousph Jeremy Slagle

    New stinky food? I’m intrigued…

    • http://twitter.com/katherinejao Katherine Jao

      Not really a stinky food, but the kitchen does smell like vinegar when you cook it.

      • Jeremy Slagle

        I did just buy a kilo of tuyo to fry and marinate. Now that will be stinky:)

        • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

          hahaha Tuyo is always stinky! Although my dad loves the smell, he’s a huge sucker for tuyo with just plain rice!

    • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

      Try it Jeremy!! Another recipe to add to your Filipino food adventures!:D

  • http://tartineandapronstrings.com/ Jen Laceda

    Yeah, after reading Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” I’m so skeptical about anything that’s ‘added’ to foods! Once something’s added, be it preservatives or vitamins and nutrients, it becomes a processed food / industrialized food. We’re all better off without them!

    Anyway, who said paksiw is ugly? Hehe. It’s all in the eye of the beholder (or eater)! LOL!

    • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

      With all the “vitamins and minerals” different brands keep claiming they have, it’s really hard not to be skeptical about it. Sometimes I think they just add it for the sake of having a selling point. haha!

      Paksiw not very pleasant to the eyes compared to say fish and chips or grilled trout but we love it just the same hahaha!:D

  • http://janislrobles.wordpress.com/ Janis

    I love paksiw! It’s one of my favorite dishes growing up. I guess that’s expected when the food served when one is growing up is in a regular rotation between 4 different dishes only to be interrupted by special sunday meals, if we get lucky. So adobo (in all its variety), pinakbet, fried tilapia and paksiw, I happen to get excited over paksiw. try frying the left over fish from the paksiw and pair with garlic fried rice the following day, sarap.

    Thanks to tastespotting that I stumbled upon your really cool blog. adding you to my blogroll now. Mabuhay!

    PS. you guys look liek a fun bunch

    • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

      Thanks so much Janis! I guess it’s a Filipino thing to have a regular food rotation at home. My house has tortang talong, tilapia, bangus plus a few more other Filipino classics on the weekly menu haha!

      We’re actually doing a follow-up recipe to this which includes the fried version of Paksiw! We made a special dip for it too! Stay tuned!:D hehe! Hope to see you here more often!

  • ethelbert

    i usually pour the oil at the last part, after the fish is cooked, then simmer for a bit. i love paksiw, its my mom’s specialty.

    • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

      Really? We’ll try that sequence next time! haha! I guess Paksiw is really a Filipino household special, I’m surprised that a lot of people actually love the dish! I hated it when I was a kid since I was never fond of picking out fish bones while eating fish. haha! See you around and thanks for commenting!

    • http://www.lipstickandchopsticks.com/ Cai

      Please share your mom’s recipe! :)

  • retortingjk

    I hate it when I find out that mom cooked paksiw for dinner…
    Then hate myself halfway through my meal knowing all too well that I’ve always liked it.
    This delicious dish has a serious image problem.
    P.S. Try it with bagoong! :)

    • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

      Bagoong? Really? Sounds interesting! We’ll definitely try that next time! haha! Thanks!:D

    • ACE Fajardo

      Pareho tau. I love eating paksiw with sweet and spicy bagoong alamang. definitely yum!

    • http://www.lipstickandchopsticks.com/ Cai

      I eat it with bagoong too, but not just any bagoong, it must be ginataang alamang! Yum!!!!

  • http://slouchingsomewhere.wordpress.com/ Mabel

    I love paksiw, but yes, it is one of the least photogenic dishes although you guys did an awesome job with the photo :) Just discovered your site and I am now a fan!

    • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

      Thanks so much Mabel!! Hope to see you here more often!:D

  • http://blog.happysarah.net/ sarah mamaril

    Paksiw + garlic fried rice = full of yum. 

  • jmeciano

    love the photographs…it made galunggong/paksiw looks really yummy

  • Wyatt Belmonte

    paksiw is good with fried rice.  It’s good you’re not putting vetsin (and derivatives). I like to drizzle extra virgin olive after cooking process.  While you think honey (or anything sweet enhances the flavor), bitter is the taste of sophistication (coffee, beer, arugula) so we add bitter ampalaya, mustasa.

  • Andrea

    it looks like you forgot to include the vinegar in the instructions (Mix together olive oil, patis and honey).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Te/100000168577956 Tony Te

    In my opinion, the claim “mas maputi sa puti” is THE most stupid ever on Philippine media–and it continues to be used to this day by the industry’s biggest advertisers. The “pampatamgkad” margarine takes second place.

  • Irene

    Oh my gosh! Love paksiw. My father used to cook paksiw. I so miss it.

  • henrik

    I love paksiw..but with bangus..!
    Love this food blog too.. The most sophisticated and HONEST.
    So damn sick of popular food blogs who obviously prioritise revenues over sincere and honest food blogging.