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Anyone know what "basa" filet is?

Sarah Nov 27, 2007 07:35 PM

Mollie Stone has these fish filets on sale @4.99/lb this week -- what fish is this?

  1. c
    captbob Nov 27, 2007 07:41 PM

    It's an Asian catfish. It's not allowed to be called catfish because of the American catfish lobby. But it's usually imported from China or Vietnam. It's a fairly innocuous white fish good prepared in a variety of ways.

    1. m
      mare Nov 27, 2007 08:39 PM

      Might be frozen and defrosted. It has a much lighter taste than catfish.

      5 Replies
      1. re: mare
        Hunicsz Nov 28, 2007 06:30 PM

        Really? I also live in the Bay Area, and the 3 or 4 times I've bought basa I've found it to be much stronger tasting. Much more muddy. I'm not a big catfish fan anyway, but this stuff I found almost inedible (and I eat anything).

        1. re: Hunicsz
          Cheese Boy Nov 28, 2007 08:43 PM

          I can't eat tilapia for that same reason. Basa has a very clean taste (sometimes tasteless actually). You just probably got some bad fish.
          It happens.

          Image ---> http://tiengiang-etrade.com.vn/Images...

          1. re: Cheese Boy
            Hunicsz Nov 28, 2007 10:03 PM

            Hmmm.. . to be honest, each time I bought the offending fish at the same discount store. Most likely, I have had bad fish.

            1. re: Hunicsz
              Cheese Boy Nov 30, 2007 06:31 AM

              Uh oh, discounted fish. I don't like the sound of that. Sounds like what happened to me with tilapia. I, too, was looking for a reasonably priced fish, but what I got was a fish that tasted "muddy" to me -- and tilapia isn't a bottom-feeder as far as I know. I've never purchased it again.
              I wouldn't be surprised if you never purchased basa again either. There are so many *other* fish in the sea to enjoy. Try turbot.

              1. re: Cheese Boy
                mnitchals Nov 30, 2007 07:15 AM

                Tilapia isn't a bottom feeder per se but it lives in brackish (dirty estuarian) water so it can thrive in the nastiest dirty aquaculture. I've seen it sold in live tanks at Asian markets that were so dirty one couldn't even see the fish unless they were pressed right against the glass. But there they were live and swimming around. It's put me off tilapia for life. Watch out for fish labeled "Hawaiian Sunfish" it's Tilapia.
                Turbot is a great idea for a mild white fish. I've always been interested in trying it ever since I saw a turbotiere for cooking it. A quick google search show it seems to be a lot cheaper than Halibut which is now out of my price range (usually nearly $20lb in Minneapolis)

      2. carswell Nov 29, 2007 08:10 AM

        AKA pangasius, yellowtail catfish, Vietnamese catfish, pangasius catfish.

        1 Reply
        1. re: carswell
          Cheese Boy Nov 30, 2007 06:32 AM

          Ah, this explains why its referred to as pangafish at times.

        2. madgreek Nov 30, 2007 08:02 AM

          This must be what I had the last time (and I mean last) I ate at Cracker Barrel. I ordered catfish, and what they gave me tasted like the muck at the bottom of a river. I always liked catfish, but whatever they gave me was terrible.

          1. Sarah Nov 30, 2007 09:03 AM

            Sounds as if basa's not worth buying, at any price!

            2 Replies
            1. re: Sarah
              pinstripeprincess Nov 30, 2007 09:58 AM

              i wouldn't say that... i can get mine for about 1.99 to 2.99/lb frozen in the chinese grocery store and i would say that the taste is actually pretty clean or mild. muddy? definitely not!

              i've used it thus far in a fish congee and deep fried for home made fish and chips. wonderful! especially the fish and chips... it was just rich enough that there were some nice fatty flakes of fish that didn't easily overcook and necessity for any extraneous sauce was nil. will have to try it in other forms though.

              1. re: Sarah
                wiccanbabe Apr 19, 2010 08:41 PM

                Actually it is a very nice fish that is relatively low in cost, I purchase it often and cook it just as I would cod or sole. When the alternatives are so much higher priced it is nice to find a fish that is easy to prepare, has a good texture and a mild flavor that is not overbearing... I recommend buying it..

              2. p
                paul balbin Apr 21, 2010 10:03 AM

                I think this is what Ricky in LA uses. I have been trying to find some to try in my fish tacos
                but so far have not found it locally. If any chowhounds know anything about this let me

                3 Replies
                1. re: paul balbin
                  kim2027 Apr 23, 2010 06:21 AM

                  I tried some of it frozen from our local chain grocery store, it was awful in my opinion and I am not really a food snob. I have liked catfish the few times I've tried it. I'm trying to stick with wild caught fish but it's so expensive compared to the basa and the tilapia.

                  1. re: paul balbin
                    Zeldog Apr 23, 2010 06:16 PM

                    It's sometimes packaged as swai in asian markets. Trader Joe's sells it as white ruffy (how pretentious). Not as firm or flavorful as American catfish (even the farmed ones), but better than talapia.

                    1. re: Zeldog
                      Jemon Jun 24, 2010 10:27 AM

                      It's sold as swai at Safeway now in San Jose, CA too... It's a good tasting fish for the price if it's fresh/well stored and well prepared.

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