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basa, a kind of fish?

  • h

My local supermarket, an A&P, currently advertises "Basa" which it describes as "farm raised, boneless,... mild tasting cousin to catfish." Anyone know what this is? Anyone ever tasted it? I've looked in a couple of books and can't find any reference to this fish.

Since it's backed by the A&P you may well have it inflicted on you in the near future.

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  1. Check out the site, usvtc.com. It's the US-Vietnam trading site. The basa is a Vietnamese catfish that is competing with US farm raised catfish for shelfspace here. It's about a dollar a pound cheaper than farm raised, US catfish. In support of the US industry, I'd buy only US fish. It also happens to be a great product. The site has some articles that claim that most of the basa fish is raised in pens in the Mekong river, where human and other animal waste is funneled through as a recycling project.

    This kind of reminds me of the Chinese mudbug, a vastly inferior product when compared to the Louisana mudbug. The Chinese crawfish resembles pink packing peanuts more closely than any conceiveable food product. Still, they are widely used because they are cheaper than the LA product. Again, I gotta support the US produced product.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Greg Spence

      Sorry, that was usvts.org, not .com.

    2. c
      Christopher Riccio

      Hey Henry
      My wife and I are curious— the fish that we are buying, Basa, at A&P in Hoboken, is this the one from Vietnam? We heard reports of this but were unsure.
      We will consume our last purchase and cross it off our list of fish- thanks for the insight, we're worried mostly about the conditions under which this fish is raised.
      Crugie&Andrea
      Hoboken Too

      3 Replies
      1. re: Christopher Riccio

        I've been enjoying Basa but am concerned about the conditions under which it was raised. Usually Health Canada is very scrupulous about such imports, but I can't find many neutral and objective articles about the health and sustainability status of this cheap, firm, mild fish.

        I have no particular reason to support the US or the Vietnamese industry since I don't live in either of those countries - I doubt either is in danger, given the popularity of fish - but I would like to find out more about this fish from an environmental and health standpoint.

        1. re: Christopher Riccio

          No that is not basa. The basa we buy is not farm raised, It is wild. Did you know that basa only eat plants. Most catfish farm raised or other wise are bottom dwellers and feed off anything.
          I've bought basa in many different states in the USA and I have to tell you it is a lot of imitators selling shark and other fish for basa. I've only found one chain of stores that has been consistent with the real product for the last ten years and that is Albertsons.
          If you live in or close to any major city most oriental fish markets carry the real basa and more then likely a better price.
          Once you try the real basa there will be no mistake in the taste. If you decide to buy again ask for the one that's caught in the wild.

          1. re: ervin_evans

            How do you know Hoboken's A&P is not selling basa?
            Do you have any studies or stats that show "basa only eat plants"?
            Curious minds want to know.

        2. Basa or the slightly lower quality tra are Vietnamese catfish raised in large "cages" in the Mekong Delta. The fish are safe: the volume of flowing fresh water in the Mekong region is enormous. From a food consumer point of view, I much prefer those conditions over the relatively stagnant fish pond water of US catfish. As to trade with the Vietnamese, we should all support open, fair trade. We pushed a destructive war on the Vietnamese; and they still came out hard working and forward looking. Basa fish culture and international commercialization would have positive effects in terms of reducing poverty. Please, let's all think globally!

          4 Replies
          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            Sam--What you say is true, however, the fact remains that the diet of Vietnamese catfish has traditionally been human waste and I believe that this holds true for the renamed "Basa" as well. It may be everything that you say, but I prefer to avoid bottom-dwelling scavengers as a food source. (In fact, it is against my religious principles.) For those who don't have an aversion to this, I will gladly relinquish my share of Basa.

            1. re: Ted in Central NJ

              Ted, I've seen the toilets over fish pens scattered about in Vietnam and Java, but just small-scale for household.

              The basa production is entirely different (no matter what the US catfish producers say). They really are raised where there is a LOT of water flowing through. They get no algae and so don't even have that flavor hint. I respect your not eating bottom feeders and for similar reasons I don't eat southern farmed catfish.

              I really don't support GS' viewpoint above re: buying US. In the end we will all benefit by being global citizens.

            2. re: Sam Fujisaka

              Think and eat globally. I like Basa, It is clean, delish and honest. And if i knew it was a "catfish" before my first taste, I suspect I would have never bought it.

              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                My Mom cooked this for me a few times when I went to visit her in New York, and it was delicious. At the time, she thought it was related to a flounder-type fish, but now that I hear it is a type of catfish, it adds up. She simply breaded and fried it, and served it with lemon wedges.

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