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What kind of fish to buy? And where?

I live in a northern Detroit suburb and would like to add fish into my diet on a regular basis. I like the flavor of red snapper and fresh brook trout and would like to branch out. I want it to be budget friendly (say $12 and under per pound).

Is frozen comparable to fresh? The only frozen fish I ever had was the walleye, pike, perch and other great lakes fresh fish my father would bring home from fishing trip- which was always deep fried. (Yuck)

What places are the best to buy it. (surprise- there is not a fish monger in the close area that I can afford to purchase at regularly) I have looked at the fish in my local kroger and was not impressed by the limp dull yucky looking fish.

Thanks for the input.


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  1. I have the same problem. The CH board steered me to Trader Joe's for frozen fish. Actually I have not been disappointed. With halibut, tilapia and salmon always in their freezer, I've tried several, and all were nice.

    1. I think that for the most part frozen is not too bad, fresh is better but most of us don't have fresh readily available. I have great luck with talapia, no matter how I cook it and that is what I usually buy. Trader Joe's is a good place as is Costco (I know, go figure!). If you shop at a more upscale grocery store instead of the local low price leader you can often get some very good quality fish.

      1 Reply
      1. re: russban

        I have to say I have never been overjoyed with talapia (frozen or freshly thawed). The last usage resulted in a mushy product and that was from an excellent home cook. Too many other choices. Agree with trying Trader Joe or Costco though.

      2. I have actually come to enjoy farm-raised catfish. We almost always have it blackened using the recipe from Joy of Cooking. I guess my main goal is to get fish that is farmed or caught in the U.S. That doesn't mean much for over-fishing, but at least I can be pretty sure there are no bizarre chemicals lurking in my seafood.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Procrastibaker

          I love farm raised catfish, as it is a very versatile fish that stands up to strong flavors and different methods.

          Cod, Hake, talapia, freshwater and saltwater perch are commonly available and are very good for the non-fish lover. I do insist the fish was raised in the US, as there is questions about the safety of farm-raised fish from Asia.

          sea-bass, grouper, salmon are fun to play with.

        2. We've moved this thread from the Home Cooking board to the General Topics board. For specific ideas of where to buy fish in Detroit and what might be available there, please post on the Midwest board.


          1. I don't live in your area but have two suggestions for you.

            First of all, I love grouper. It's a white fleshed fish and is great grilled.

            Secondly, ask the fish person at your Kroger when the fish comes in and go on that day. See what looks good and start from there.


            6 Replies
            1. re: Davwud

              I cooked some flounder the other day and had forgotten what a lovely fish it is. But I agree that you should try and get the freshest fish that you can, and go from there.

              1. re: Davwud

                Asking the fish guy is a great idea. Also, just straight ask them what is good on the day you're in the store. If you're skeptical about the quality and they say everything well ... find another grocery store (or say something to the manager). I do this at Randall's, Central Market (our local foodie mecca) and my favorite fish monger and haven't been disappointed.

                Tilapia is my go-to weeknight fish. I've been using it more and more, and it really is a very flexible, relatively inexpensive piece of fish. Of course down here in Texas we may be getting locally farmed Tilapia, not really sure. For variety's sake, you should also be able to get farm raised salmon at that price.

                The salmon can definitely be gotten at Costco, but I've found it to be pretty hit or miss. Sometimes it's absolutely great, sometimes completely flavorless. I know they carry other fish, but I haven't tried any of it.

                1. re: mikefoody

                  You're right about the "Everything" answer. When I do shop for fish in this one grocery store I usually ask what the person at the counter would take home. It usually serves me well.


                  1. re: mikefoody

                    i want to like tilapia, but i find it has a swampy taste more often than not

                      1. re: thew

                        Hi Thew.There are a few different types of Tilapia from different regions around the world.I have had the type that tastes swampy and that came from South America.Whenever I bought the Tilapia from China,yes China,it was always very good tasting.I served a ton of it at a restaurant in Florida.No one knew what it was so they were skeptical(they all like their Grouper down there).I told them if they didn't like it I wouldn't charge them.I had many repeat customers.One more thing.The Grouper was $7.99 per pound wholesale and the Tilapia was $1.80 per pound.My customers were happy and so wasn't I.

                  2. No one mentioned it yet, but what about salmon? Deep ocean fishes are best for you health-wise.

                    I don't know if you have Costco, but that's where we buy a lot of our salmon.

                    1. Farmed, fozen and imported fresh fish just aren't comparable to wild, local fresh.

                      Fresh Walleye and Perch are the most tasty, succulent fish available to you, and why should they be deep fried? Use them as you would any other firm, light-tasting fish.

                      Kingsville, Leamington and Wheately are 40+ minutes from the Bridge or Tunnel on the Canadian side and they all have Lake Erie fisheries with retail outlets. I don't know if there are fisheries any longer in Amherstburg, Colchester or Harrow which are closer. I know also that Lake Huron Lake Trout and Whitefish are sent down to Wheately and so may be available there. Also, some fisheries offer smoked fish.

                      If you go down in season you can also pick up bargains along the way at farm-gate veggies and fruit stands.

                      1. I live in the northern suburbs, too, and prefer to buy my fresh fish at the Busch's in Rochester Hills (at the corner of Adams Road and Walton Blvd.). I have not yet been disappointed and have purchased salmon, shrimp, cod, whitefish, scallops, etc. I believe they have a seafood sale going on this week, too. I echo others' sentiments about the frozen fish at Trader Joe's if you can't find good fresh fish.

                        1. If cost is a priority, look for a good size asian grocery store (korean, chinese, janpanese, also latin) will have fish counter. Where I live that is where I get the best fish. I don't go for specific types, I go and look at what is the cheapest and the freshest looking. I don't generally by fish fillets or steaks. I go for generally whole fish (not always feasible e.g., sword fish). some times, the good priced fish tends to be also the freshest (e.g., they get a lot in and want to move the product). Its pretty easy to tell fresh fish but you could always ask.

                          As for frozen, I've gotten frozen stuff from TJs and they are pretty good but I like fresh whole fish.

                          1. I eat a lot of shrimp.

                            I've found that when I don't buy it at the fish store (Here on Long Island lot's of what they have is fresh) it's almost always frozen - TJ's as well as regular grocery stores. That's not a bad thing - other than the time involved in defrosting it, I've almost always had good frozen shrimp meals.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: amymsmom

                              the best shrimp is always frozen - while still on the boat, in fact.

                              99% of the :"fresh" shrimp you buy was actually frozen and already defrosted.

                              shrimp is delicate.

                              as to the time defrosting it... put it in a bowl of cold water, and run cold water gently into the bowl... should only take 2 or 3 minutes to defrost that way

                              1. re: thew

                                Right about the frozen right on the spot.. shrimp. Also, without the heads. If the heads are left on, an enzyme can "leak" into the body and make it mushy.

                            2. Being from New England,Cod,Haddock and Flounder were always the fish of choice as we hauled them in from waters in our backyard.As the fish became scarce,we had to look to other alternatives.One of those was Tilapia.There are different regions to get this fish and I chose the type from China.I fried a ton of it but it bakes real nice too.Most likely you will only be able to get this frozen but it's not a big deal.Fresh is always better but frozen is almost as good.If you are looking for a healthy fish for your diet,Salmon is probably one of the best for you.It contains Omega 3 which is a heathy fat(such as the fat in olive oil).It bakes well,pan frys well but is best on a very hot grill.If grilling,be sure to brush it with olive oil and season it.I always spray the grill with olive oil spray too,but hold the can back because the flames will jump up at you.When putting it on the grill,don't fuss with it or you will ruin the whole piece of fish.Just leave it there until ready to turn.I dont know how well you like your fish cooked,but if you overcook it you lose the best of the flavor.I usually leave it for 2-2 1/2 mins per side.Good luck.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: raf945

                                My wife is from the Philippines, so she has always enjoyed tilapia, but since I'm Canadian, I've always preferred cold water fish (and lobster and oysters!). Cod - so hard to find now due to overfishing and the seal hunt ban - halibut, sole, plaice - in fact, virtually all the flat fishes - are all wonderful, grilled, fried, deep-fried, or baked. Salmon! I love that my local sushi place has a sashimi lunch for $8 that includes at least 12 pieces of raw salmon. Lightly grilled or baked, topped with teriyaki if you like (not my fave, but it's OK), it's really good for you and so delicious. See if you can get monkfish - it's not quite lobster, but it's not far off. Black sea bass, alaskan cod, and last, but not at all least, good tuna. We can't get the best - the Japanese scarf it up at $300/lb and up, but high grade tuna is one of the best meals you will ever have.

                                1. re: KevinB

                                  Your table must see alot of diverse food Kevin.I agree that high grade tuna is the only way to go.I have to say though,I will not buy Cod or Haddock from any Pacific waters.I won't take it for free.Honestly,I have done the blindfold test and proved many people wrong.Atlantic Cod or Haddock for this guy.I prefer the fish from the New Bedford Mass area but when there is nothing available,I will force myself to buy from anywhere from Norway to New Jersey.Also,on the topic of New Bedford,scallops from Georges Bank are well worth paying a little more coin for.

                              2. I am in the Detroit area and just went to Kroger. They are advertising flash frozen fish on sale this week. North Atlantic Cod and Alaskan Salmon. When I turned over the bag and read further both packages were stamped "Product of China". What?
                                I live in Wyandotte, come and visit Weyand's fish Market. Fresh LOCAL fish every day.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: stover

                                  There are a lot of people being scammed when it comes to Alaskan Salmon.While the product from Alaska sells for over twenty dollars per pound,the product from farther south on the west coast sells for 50-70 percent of that amount.The end result,consumers are paying premium for low quality Salmon.North Atlantic Cod could come from any place between Norway and New York,but it is a far cry from China.Quite honestly though,I didn't know they fished Cod out of Chinese waters.The best in the world is right here in Massachusetts,along with it's mother fish Haddock.Can't beat the Georges Bank scallops or the Flounder as well,and in my oppinion,the soft shell clams from Ipswich MA. or Essex MA.can't be touched.