King George Whiting

Sillaginodes punctata

Other names: Black whiting, South Australian whiting, spotted whiting.

Family: Sillaginidae (whitings).


The only member of the genus Sillaginodes, King George Whiting is easily distinguished from other Whitings by its tiny scales and the dark spots on its side (and from the unrelated but similar-looking Grass Whiting by its forked tail and 2 distinct dorsal fins). Available wild-caught, it is a coastal marine fish found around Australia’s southern coast from southern NSW to Perth (including Tasmania), usually at less than 50m over sand and weed, with juveniles preferring seagrass beds in shallow sheltered bays and estuaries. It is caught mainly off SA (where it is the state’s most valuable finfish) using seine nets, gill nets or handlines, with small fisheries off Victoria and southwestern WA.

Season: Available year round with peaks from March to August.

Size and Weight: Commonly 300g-1.4kg and 35-60cm, but can grow to 4.8kg and 72cm.

Price: High priced.


Sand Whiting, School Whiting, Trumpeter Whiting, Yellowfin Whiting and the other 20 or so species of Whiting (Sillaginidae) distributed throughout the Indo-Pacific region. Blue Weed Whiting (Haletta semifasciata) is a Wrasse, not a Whiting. In the northern hemisphere the name ‘whiting’ is also applied to various unrelated species, including Pacific hake (Merluccius productus) and English whiting (Merlangius merlangus).

To Buy:

Sold whole (gilled and gutted), as trunks (headless), and in single and butterflied fillets. Roe is also sometimes available. In whole fish look for lustrous skin, firm flesh, and a pleasant, fresh sea smell. In fillets, look for greyish to yellowish, firm, lustrous, moist flesh without any brown markings or oozing water and with a pleasant fresh sea smell.

To Store:

Make sure whole fish is scaled, gilled, gutted and cleaned thoroughly. Wrap whole fish and fillets in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze whole fish for up to 6 months, and fillets for up to 3 months, below -18ºC.

To Cook:

Average yield is 50%. Has a delicate, sweet flavour (occasionally slightly ‘peppery’), low oiliness and moist, medium-textured, flaky flesh with fine bones, which are easily removed. The edible skin can be left on and the bones make excellent stock.

Cooking Methods:

Steam, poach, deep-fry, pan-fry, stir-fry, bake, braise, grill, barbecue, raw (sashimi). Thin fillets are best wrapped in foil or banana leaves to protect them when barbecuing or grilling. A good plate-sized fish cooked whole. Flesh has good gelling characteristics and works well in mousseline.

Goes well with:

Almonds, asparagus, beer-batter, butter, capers, citrus, eggs, garlic, herbs (chervil, chives, dill, parsley, French tarragon), wine, verjuice.


Dory, Flathead, Flounder, Garfish, other Whitings.


None. Southern Blue Whiting, imported from New Zealand, and North Sea Whiting, imported from Europe, are not related to Whitings of the Sillaginidae family.


Pan-Fried King George Whiting Fillets with Mushrooms & Asparagus > 
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