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Alan, along with Elle, is the owner of Spain Buddy. He was born in the North of England (Lancashire) and travelled extensively before eventually settling in Almería. Alan has 3 sons from the first of his 18 marriages, (Sam, Joe & Ben) who are all now adults. You can read more articles by Alan on his personal blog at and see more of his photography on his photography website as well as on Flickr and Instagram. Also, for less than the price of a cup of coffee each month you can help support Alan's photography (and get some freebies into the bargain). Click here to visit his Patreon page to find out more.


  1. trish
    May 13, 2013 @ 10:25 pm

    Well that’s one fish I shall NEVER eat again, What IS safe these days, unless you farm it yourself!! thanks for posting Alan.


  2. robingraham
    May 14, 2013 @ 11:23 am

    Good to know! I’ll pay a bit more and stick to Dorada, Merluza, Besugo etc…


  3. Norman Brown
    March 21, 2014 @ 10:32 pm

    Myself and three other members of my family were visiting Whitstable Kent last week and we decided to eat in a local pub where the menu urges you to try pang instead of cod because of the over fishing of cod.
    We all tried the panga wondering what it was, although we all enjoyed it because it does resemble cod in flavour i will be sure after reading the comments here never to eat panga again.


    • Alan Gandy
      March 22, 2014 @ 11:41 am

      I’ve read that they have cleaned up their act a little since. But I personally will never touch it again!


  4. James Whyley
    March 31, 2014 @ 11:49 am

    I’ve had it once, seemed to have a strangely soft mushy texture, was on the loo 4 times next day.
    Don’t know if its coincidence but that’s my first and last experience of Panga.


    • Alan Gandy
      March 31, 2014 @ 11:59 am

      Thankfully we never got as far as letting it pass our lips!


  5. garry
    August 3, 2014 @ 4:15 am

    What a load of rubbish, you must have something against Vietnam, Cod you say has a very similar taste, cod feed of the bottom where everything is iffy so to speak, when you see a red blood vein or a red patches in the flesh what do you think these are? WORMS everything is edible, just another Edwina curry. enough said.


    • Elle Draper
      August 4, 2014 @ 9:47 am

      “Rubbish”? Well, aren’t you just a ray of sunshine at 4:15 of a morning, Garry ;)
      I am afraid you are mistaken in your statement, Garry. No, I certainly have nothing against Vietnam, nor any other country for that matter. What a very odd thing to say.
      I am far from squeamish and have eaten just about all foodstuffs (exotic or not) put in front of me – I’ll try anything once. I have no issues with “bottom feeders”- prawns, for example, are one of my favourite foods even though they are simply one of nature’s filters.
      However I do have issues with fish that contain poisons such as arsenic and DDT, or are farmed in contaminated waters. We also object to those businesses that sell it pretending it is cod. If that floats your boat then carry on – it’s your right, but forewarned is forearmed.
      Elle x


  6. Avril Welch
    October 17, 2014 @ 6:03 pm

    We have just eaten Panga fish in a Chinese restaurant in Leeds quite categorically stating it was Panga. When addressed to the staff how devine it was questioning its whereabouts they didn`t know and were not even sure if it was Panga. My son requested double helpings and irrespective about what we have read, I think we would eat it again. Nearly every foodstuff, you could worry about how its sourced. And then you wouldn`t be able to live on fresh air as its polluted.


    • Alan Gandy
      October 17, 2014 @ 6:29 pm

      It’s not for me Avril. Ever. There’s pollution and pollution… ;)
      Seems they were a bit confused about whether it was Panga or not if I’m reading your comment correctly. That in itself would worry me in any restaurant. Panga or not…


  7. Alf
    October 27, 2014 @ 9:11 pm

    I know you’ve mentioned before that you’re not much of a cat fan but, there’s really no need to prove it by giving panga to your neighbours to feed to their unsuspecting moggies. ;-)


    • Alan Gandy
      October 27, 2014 @ 9:37 pm



    • Elle Draper
      October 27, 2014 @ 9:37 pm

      Mua ha ha ha ha ha!


  8. Maria Ashot
    May 11, 2015 @ 11:54 pm

    Really value your research,Alan & Elle! Food for thought…!


  9. mike smith
    July 6, 2015 @ 9:20 pm

    Plenty more fish in the sea!!!!!
    just finished eating panga. NEVER AGAIN. Not because of your review its just rubbish. Mushy horrible sloppy no taste apart from what you put on it. I’ll stick to haddock.
    good web site. Cheers


  10. Lee
    December 10, 2015 @ 3:28 pm

    Panga fish is widely eaten in Holland. One of the main products you find in the frozen section. Tiliapia too. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.


    • Elle Draper
      December 10, 2015 @ 4:36 pm

      We don’t believe everything we read on the internet. But it’s difficult to dispute video evidence. ;)


  11. Susana goode
    January 24, 2016 @ 3:44 pm

    I am a pensioner, never been a fussy eater, ate what I was given as a child, non of our food was kept in a fridges or freezers, could not afford them… Well I am just about to cook some panga fish for my dinner, watch this space !!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  12. Janet Forster
    March 19, 2016 @ 2:41 pm

    I try never to buy cod, because of the over-fishing, but find frozen HOKI (usually from New Zealand) very similar in taste and texture.


  13. Kathleen McKeady-Chiles
    April 28, 2016 @ 9:00 pm

    I have fully researched the Panga problem now and I personally find it safe to eat. I personally have had no ill effects from the fish and made it with various recipes. I also enjoy the fish as others I have spoken to. I would like this video uploaded please for the public to watch and consider eating the fish for themselves. I will be uploading it elsewhere.

    Whilst, once upon a time there was a problem, It certainly seems safer to eat now. Also there are so many organisations involved in the cleaning up and monitoring of this business that it will be unlikely to be unsafe for the public to consume.

    To be honest, if we look at other issues for example Pigs, Pigs eat swill and live in really horrible conditions but we still eat pork and have done for many, many years plus eat black pudding (containing mainly Blood), we have not been ill and neither has it killed us.

    In fact a lot of the time when people consume anything and become ill, it would be due to cooking methods, under cooking or dirty environments the food is ultimately kept in.

    My findings as of April 2016, is that the Pangasius product from Vietnam is perfectly safe in this day and age.

    I was once a Project Manager in the process of cleaning up the Water with a Private Project Management Company for the Environmental Health in the UK. I was there for 1 year and as Project Manager along with my Business Partner, setting a Project in motion and before the year ended we was there to see the Project was maintained for the future.

    I am now an ex-pat living in San Rafael, Castilla y Leon, Spain on a very extended vacation. Mind I will be on the look out for work in the near future here in Spain.

    Good luck with your ventures for the future.
    In all you have created a great site for the public.
    All the Best
    Kathleen McKeady-Chiles


  14. Alan Lowther
    July 27, 2016 @ 4:36 pm

    I have been eating Pangs in the UK under it’s Western Europe and North American name – Basa – for a number of years and have had no problems with the quality or taste.

    If you’re still unsure look for packs marked Panga Morales in Spain similarly to looking for ethically caught Tuna.


  15. John Dray
    February 24, 2017 @ 9:52 pm

    Can you name your sources of information please.


    • Elle Draper
      February 25, 2017 @ 12:45 pm

      All sources were found during the Google searches we carried out back in May 2013 when this article was written.


  16. Mick Holmes
    March 19, 2017 @ 7:10 pm

    Been eating it regularly for years with no issues. Out dated research and panic mongering…. trying to push personal opinion on others.


    • Elle Draper
      March 21, 2017 @ 6:30 pm

      Hello Mick. Had you looked at the date on the article that you are annoyed about – you would see that it was written almost four years ago.

      Yes it’s personal opinon – it’s our own website so we can write on it what we wish. We’re not funded by the government like the BBC or governed by a Press Organisation. It’s a commercial venture. If you thought this was an opinion piece… then you’d be best to steer clear of our “From the Editors” section. ;)

      Eat what you like – but we choose not to.

      E x


  17. Nicholas Cann
    June 9, 2017 @ 8:16 pm

    We eat panga once a ek here in N.E.Spain, as do thousands of other people here…it is a ery popular dish. It does NOT COME FROM ABROAD, and is a very nutritious fish meal, and this feature posted here is very very wrong. If it tastes ‘mushy’, then you don’t have a clue how to cook it. It doesn’t need spices to make it enjoyable. Spices were originally used to cover up tye real taste of poor quality food, but since then have become an ‘ enhancement’ to add another flavour. It is all down to personal taste though…not direcwarnings of dangerous food. A disclaimer alongside the title should have been added. Be it a ‘personal website ‘ or not, because it is open to Public viewing, it is wrong to mislead people…innocently or not.
    Psnga in Europe is a perfectly safe fish to eat, providing it is cooked correctly.


    • Elle Draper
      June 10, 2017 @ 3:00 pm

      Hello Nicholas.

      I am pleased that you are happy with your diet there in NE Spain. We are not telling you what to eat; we simply explained why we choose not to – back in 2013. Yes of course it is popular; it is a cheap alternative to non-sustainable fish such as cod. So let me address some of your statements. Some links below are in Castellano. As you are in NE Spain, I wouldn’t wish to assume you speak Castellano… perhaps Catalan is your language of choice, but I guess you can always use Google Translate.

      1. “It does NOT COME FROM ABROAD”
      Some evidence of this claim would be useful. If it is farmed outside of Spain, and you are speaking from Spain, then by its very definition it comes from abroad. That’s basic geography and your statement is so laughable that I should really have just deleted your comment and not given it any further attention. Panga sold in Spain is predominantly farmed in SE Asia… a very long way from Spanish waters. But don’t take my word for it:

      2. “… it is a very nutritious meal”
      Some evidence to back up that claim would be useful from you here. I can’t find any from trusted sources. Several schools in the Canary Islands and Balearic Islands have banned it from school dinners and Carrefour removed it from their product list – all this year. The only research that we could find to support the nutrition and low levels of certain toxic ingredients of panga as a food product were those with a vested interest – Vietnamese businesses and several large supermarket chains. Again – don’t take my word for it:
      Panga ban in schools:
      Carrefour stops selling panga: and
      Italian supermarkets follow Carrefour’s lead:
      Listeria and Cholera found in panga in Vigo:
      We are personally following with interest the involvement of the European Parliament to the questions raised although right now I believe they rather have their hands full with other matters.

      3. “… and this feature posted here is very very wrong”
      In your opinion perhaps, but not in ours. Our claims have been supported with our findings rather than defensive anecdotes from business owners who may or may not have a vested interest (or lack of knowledge) in selling/cooking cheap fish.

      4: “A disclaimer alongside the title should have been added. Be it a ‘personal website ‘ or not, because it is open to Public viewing, it is wrong to mislead people…innocently or not.”
      Tell that to the Leave Campaign or Donald Trump! But I digress… … … no disclaimer is necessary when advising people of our findings and our opinions, which is what we have done. We certainly don’t take orders from “Disgruntled of NE Spain”. Likewise, just because something is open to public viewing… it should not necessarily be party to a disclaimer. If that were the case, every website ever built should carry a disclaimer. That demonstrates a lack of understanding about how the internet and freedom of speech works.

      6. Like Alan said at the start of this article, “I’ve read a few articles since that claim that the farmers have cleaned their act up” and Kathleen (above in the comments) has attested to the relative improvement in conditions since we originally wrote this. We have taken that on board of course. But we choose not to eat it. We prefer to know where our food comes from. We choose to eat local produce not that which heavily impacts upon the carbon footprint. We choose to support the Spanish fishing industry rather than kicking them in the pocket so that we may save a few centimos. You, sir, are welcome to buy or eat what you like.



    • James Carney
      June 14, 2017 @ 12:36 pm


      They sell Panga in our local supermarket here in Istanbul. It’s pretty good when you cook it right as you say..I just wondered if you can recommend a simple way to cook it/recipe that gets the most out of the flavour? Thank you!


  18. ROS
    June 29, 2017 @ 10:43 am

    Yes, a recipe or cooking ideas would be useful. I also think the editors come down like a ton of bricks on people who don’t agree with them. It is not necessary to ridicule people for their opinions or to be rude. I would have expected a more appropriate tone in Elle’s replies to readers comments, as she is trying to present a professional and helpful website. Please don’t degenerate into yet another site where people sling mud and verbally abuse each other.


    • Elle Draper
      June 29, 2017 @ 11:36 am

      Hello Ros and thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Unfortunately I can’t see where I have used an inappropriate tone? Where I have ridiculed? Or where I have been rude? Perhaps you could be a little more specific for me? Sometimes tone gets lost in text – and perhaps you’re reading more into my replies than is intended.

      If told we are “wrong” or “misleading”… or somebody claims incorrect information such as pange not being from abroad (putting things in ipper case lettering doesn’t make it true) – then I would much prefer to address their points one by one. It is not wrong to disagree of course! But if I were simply to reply with “You’re wrong,” it would result in a game of comment tennis which benefits nobody. Don’t worry – this site won’t degenerate into a mud slinging website. It’s not an open forum and all comments are held in moderation before going live. So we will always try to let things get colourful but not destructive. For example, we chose not to publish several comments that made disparaging personal remarks at other commenters for eating panga – despite the theme of the comments supporting us. The swearing and personal insults brought nothing to the discussion at large. We have also chosen to include all comments made in support of panga . Fair’s fair after all.

      Speaking personally, I happily encourage debate and discussion… and as I have said previously – eating panga is a decision that people should make for themselves after research. Indeed according to another lady’s comments, the farmers do seem to be cleaning their act up. It’s not for me – but others are welcome to eat what they please.

      I hope that you find the recipes that you seek, Ros. A quick Google brings up a few ( Some of them sound quite nice… but I think I’ll stick to local fish instead. Enjoy and let us know how you get on.

      E xx


  19. Jim
    March 22, 2018 @ 6:05 pm

    I started looking for Panga on the net because I didn’t know what it was. My reason for finding the meaning is that my sister was in hospital in Benidorm in late 2015 and I have just found a hospital note showing that she was given Panga Al Horno as one of her meals. Surely Spanish hospital food is to be trusted.


  20. Sim
    August 27, 2018 @ 7:32 pm

    I’m a little concerned at how much you’ve salted panga fish. I think you’ve had a problem with it from a specific place but that’s not what people will take away.
    It’s a great fish and I eat it regularly. Never once been ill.
    Also your quotes seem out of context.


    • Elle Draper
      August 29, 2018 @ 11:23 am

      Hi Sim. You’ve stumbled across an article from 2013. Hopefully standards have risen since then.

      Enjoy your panga – I still won’t eat it.

      E x


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