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Dec 19, 2007 05:30 PM

Live Carp or Carp substitute in ABQ?

My sister-in-law from Hungary wants to make a Hungarian dish called rácponty for Christmas. As the name suggests, if you can read Hungarian that is, it is based on carp.

Anyhow, while carp is easy to get a hold of in Central Europe, it is not so easy here in the States.


1) Any suggestions for places to get carp in Abq. or Santa Fe?


2) Any suggestions for a fish that is similar to carp in taste and consistency?

Thanks in advance,


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  1. The Cook's Thesaurus says ...
    carp Substitutes: buffalofish OR bluefish (flakier) OR perch OR bass

    You might post on the Southwest board for suggestions specific to that area. Don't know what the situation is in that area for Eastern European markets. Sometimes fish markets that cater to Cajun/Soul food customers sell some of the fish listed above. Might be hard to find them alive unless you go fishing. Maybe if there are Chinese markets with live fish tanks in that area?

    1. There are several places in town that will special order seafood for you, even if they don't have carp swimming around in the store. It just needs to be in season and available from the supplier.

      First, I would try Nantucket Shoals (505) 821-5787) on Academy near San Mateo, which is a specialty seafood shop. They supply many of the better restaurants in town and are accommodating about special orders. If they can't help you, they would be most likely to offer a good alternative.

      Whole Foods also takes seafood special orders, especially at holidays. I think the conventional stores (Albertson's and Smith's) will do so as well, but their fish is pretty bad on a daily basis, so I don't think I'd risk it.

      A great resource for unusual ingredients in Albuquerque is Talin Market, which does carry some live fish and lobsters. They usually have catfish (which, I know, is not carp) and maybe a few other fish, but perhaps they could find some live carp for you? I have no idea how that works.

      Talin is similar to a large Asian market in that it has fresh fish, produce and hard to find ingredients at much less than Whole Foods prices, but it also has a section with fresh pasta, cheese and Italian meats and other non-Asian cuisines (German, Australian and English are all I can think of right now).

      Best of luck. I'm not very familiar with Hungarian food, but it sounds intriguing. I hope you let us know how it all (the search and the dinner) turns out.

      1 Reply
      1. re: pywacket

        To the OP, in case you can't find live carp, the live part might not be so necessary. This post just triggered memories of when I was very little my grandparents from Poland made a similar recipe every Christmas. This memory is so old all I can remember is the fish swimming in the bath tub and not the dish itself. I was maybe three or four years old, so the excitement of having fish in the tub was the important thing then.

        On that memory I goggled the dish to see if it was the same and required live carp. A previously dispatched carp will do, if necessary.

        It seems carp, like catfish, swim in muddy water. Keeping your carp in the bath tub for a day or two in clean water removed the muddy taste from the fish. So working with a good fishmonger might resolve that problem ... or soaking the carp in milk for a while.

        Rácponty (Baked Carp with Sour Cream Sauce)

        The Polish equivalent with some carp info ... they can live a long time out of water and some people would clean the muddy taste by feeding carp bread soaked in milk.

        What seems like my online soulmate in terms of googling info, has this great post about Czech carp and Christmas.

        A caveat ... a link provided in the above says that the carp in North American might not taste the same ... very interesting story about how the Czech carp fishing practices date back to the 11th century.

        "Czech scientists say that carp can survive very harsh conditions but only reach their full potential in size and flavor when given special care. While species of carp have taken over tepid waters in North America only to produce undersized and unsavory offspring, Czech carp often weigh as much as 10 pounds and have a fine, buttery taste."

        Another Czech carp roundup

        But then again, under all that sour cream maybe it doesn't matter too much.