Make dinnertime extra special with fried Sea Bass in Visayan Humba Sauce

Bring the flavors of Visayas to your dinner table and surprise the whole family with a sweeter and savory version of Adobo — Humba!

Humba, a popular dish in Visayas, has more tangy and mildly sweet flavors. Sometimes you can even add banana blossoms, pineapple, and black beans to the dish.

Usually, Humba is cooked using pork but in this recipe, we’ll use Sea Bass or “Apahap.” Sea Bass is a great alternative because it is meatier and tastier than some fish, which is what Humba calls for.

Sea Bass is a good source of thiamin which contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system, Vitamin B12 which may help to reduce tiredness, and selenium which can help with the maintenance of normal hair and nails.

Just like Adobo, Humba is easy to prepare and you can experiment with different levels of sweetness and saltiness. Enjoy its unique combination of flavors and don’t forget to partner it with delicious steamed rice.

Try this recipe for your next salu-salo!

Fried Sea Bass in Visayan Humba Sauce


1 whole           Sarangani Bay Seabass, gutted, cleaned & scales removed

¼ cup              flour

1 tsp                salt

¼ tsp               white pepper

1 cup               cooking oil



2 tbsp              cooking oil

½ cup              red onion, chopped

1 tbsp              garlic, ,minced

2                      star anise

2                      bay leaves

3 tbsp              soy sauce

2 tbsp              white vinegar

2 tbsp              gin

½ cup              light brown sugar

1 tbsp              cornstarch dissolved in

¾ cup              water

2 tbsp              salted black bean, rinsed

¼ cup              sliced leeks


  1. Cut 4-5 slits on the fish surface. Combine flour, salt and white pepper. Dredge fish in seasoned flour. Heat pan and add oil. Fry fish on both sides until crisp. Drain well and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, heat cooking oil. Sauté onion and garlic. Add star anise, bay leaves, soy sauce, vinegar, gin and sugar. Put to a slow boil. Reduce until slightly thick. Strain sauce. Discard spices. Return sauce in the pan . Add black beans and dissolved cornstarch. Cook for 3 minutes until thick.
  3. Pour sauce over fried fish. Top with sliced leeks. Serve.

Makes 4-6 servings.