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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?

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

      5 Replies
      1. re: mare

        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

          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

            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

              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

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

        1 Reply
        1. re: carswell

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

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

            2 Replies
            1. re: Sarah

              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

                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. 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
                know.

                3 Replies
                1. re: paul balbin

                  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

                    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

                      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.