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Mar 21, 2002 02:01 PM

Wild King Salmon

  • c

Its the time of year for Wild King Salmon. Tuesday I had a craving for salmon, and I went to Santa Monica Seafood. Their price on Wild King was $18 a pound, pretty outrageous, so I bought a little slice for lunch. Then I stopped at the Wild Oats on Wilshire and 5th for some greens and noticed they had Wild King Salmon on sale for $5.99 a pound.
Now thats a great price.... I bought a couple pounds and did a taste test. Both fish looked similar, although the SM seafood fish was more noticably marbled with fat, like comparing fatty toro to maguro. I grilled both pieces in a light marinade, and this is the result. The Wild Oats fish was very very good, sweet and flavorful without that terrible fishy salmon taste that farmed/atlantic salmon has. The SM seafood fish was a whole different level of good ,more meltingly tender, fatty and sweeter. Was it worth $18 a pound, well that depends how much money you have to throw around, I can only afford that as a treat...however I will be going back to get more of the Wild Oats fish as it was great and hey..salmons really good for you.
Has anyone who frequents the downtown wholesale fish markets seen good looking King Salmon down there??? I would love to get a couple whole fish and do a barb-b-que, yum
Any recomendations welcomed!!

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  1. Don't hate me but you got ripped. The salmon you bought at SM was KING and wholesale is around 10- which is ridicules. The salmon you bought at Wild is Sockeye and wholesale is around 4-. The answer is : buy a whole(they will filet it for you) Canadian "farm raised" at International Marine (San Pedro & 7th down town LA for around 2 bucks a pound (10pound min) ask for their slightly flawed which can't be used for sushi, it's incredible and probably much better than what you've already had.

    14 Replies
    1. re: russkar
      Leslie Brenner

      It's my understanding that aside from flavor issues, with wild salmon there are neither the ecological nor mercury-level problems there are with farmed salmon.

      1. re: Leslie Brenner

        Actually it's reverse. The farmed are eating and drinking in controled conditions, unlike the WILD which may have strayed off into polluted areas , which are everywhere. Same holds true for oysters, the farmed and inspected are normally very safe compared to the one's havested from the Gulf. Back to salmon, there are different grades of farmed. The one I recommended is one of the best tasting, I'm using one tonight for a very large party.

        1. re: russkar

          In my albeit limited research wild-caught Salmon is far healthier, both for the consumer and for the environment. Fisheries and corporations are the main beneficiaries of farmed salmon. Even a cursory check to any reputable environmental/health source will bear this out. I'll include just one of countless links you can find to support this:


          1. re: Fidelixi

            dear Fidelixi, ... Thank you...It was my understanding that farmed salmon has environmental downsides.. thanks for the link .

            1. re: ciaolette


              We also happen to have salmon last night for dinner. I know it was purchased from 99 Ranch Market, but I don't know how much. I'd say somewhere in the range of $4-$6/lb. 99 Ranch dosen't usually specify where the salmon was caught. And at that price, I highly doubt it was Wild King Salmon. This is a silly question but when you cooked it? Did it give off a strong, fishy smell? We grilled it on one of those flat cast iron grill plates you place over the stove. The house permeated with a fishy smell. But it didn't have a fishy taste after cooking.

              The reason I ask, is I'm having my suspicions with 99 Ranch Market's fish quality. I always hear when purchasing whole fish, look for clear eyes. The ones in 99 Ranch are usually red fluid filled. With the cut fish it more difficult to tell, unless I ask to sniff each piece.

              So I'm wondering if your fish from Santa Monica and Wild Oats was MUCH fresher than 99 Ranch. Yes, it's hard to beat 99's sheer variety of fish, but I think I'll stick to the stuff (including shellfish) that is still swimming in their tanks. Still a good value, and definately fresh.

              1. re: Panoz

                $18 a pound is a lot to pay but I think the price will come down, so check again. Santa Monica Seafood has a web page where they list that week's specials alongside photos. From memory, I think we were paying between $8 and $12 a pound at different times last season for the wild salmon there. We make a special trip once a week to buy fish from them as it's the freshest, best-quality we have found so far in the area.
                As far as the farmed/wild question goes, I always try to protect my health, and so avoid farmed fish of any kind as much as possible, mainly because of the antibiotics they dump in the pens. As long as the price is do-able, I will always choose the wild fish over the farmed. The environmental damage is a concern also. At times when the wild salmon is not available, I must admit I have bought farmed from Santa Monica Seafood and have found the Scottish to be superior to the Canadian, for some reason, in both appearance and taste.

                1. re: Andie

                  BAD NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THE SCOTTISH IS FARMED!

                2. re: Panoz

                  The fishy smell has nothing to do with the freshness of the Salmon but with the HIGH FAT content which causes a nasty smoke to permeate your house if you cook it indoors. The problem will happen even with a fish that was swimming 2 mins before you cook it. 99 Ranch market normally has VERY fresh seafood, their typical customer is very discriminating, plus they have decent prices. I get a kick out of all the hoopla about WILD versus FARM raised. Whatever your choice be aware that PARISITES (WORMS) are one of the biggest problems and FARM raised normally don't have them. Best of Luck.

                  1. re: russkar

                    Farmed salmon don't often have parasites because they are pumped with antibiotics until they glow in the dark. The risk of parasites is minimized by taking two precautions: one, have a regular fishmonger as parasites are visible to the trained eye; two, fish that you intend to consume raw should first be frozen because this kills parasites. All fish sold as "sushi grade" has by definition been frozen for this very reason.

                    Enjoy your salmon!

                    1. re: Fidelixi

                      I buy Sushi grade fish semi weekly(for 20 years) at the 3 major Wholesale fish markets in Downtown LA. Let me assure you that most of the "finest sushi grade 1#+" is NOT FROZEN ever! Hamachi is 2 dollars extra for "overnight air" fresh instead of frozen. Salmon from Canada is FRESH from the farms only! Ahi (Big eye , Blue, Yellow fin ) are all fresh and not frozen. Exception to the rule is Chilean Seabass with is flash frozen or Tempered, for longer life.

                      1. re: russkar

                        I am interested in buying some fish from your purveyors. Who are they and at which major Wholesale fish markets in Downtown LA ? Is there a minimum amount I need top buy. Ordinarily, I cook (or rather, cut) for 2 or as many as 6.


                        1. re: Fidelixi

                          International Marine at San Pedro and 7th , LA Fish on Stanford and 4th. You need to buy quanities of the whole Salmon which they will gladly filet for you which is around 30- or 4-5pounds of Ahi which you can select from many sitting on a table, a whole side of Hamachi around 4 lbs at 11- a pound. When you go in don't give the appearence of a Retail customer but of a Sushi Bar owner or Caterer, they will help you. If you need Lobster go to SEA WIN on Stanford and 5th or 6th? Around 6- a pound.

                          1. re: russkar

                            Hi Panoz...Yes ! the smell which lingers through out the house... that is what happens when cooking atlantic salmon...which just seems to have a fishier smell even when it is very fresh. I have found Atlantic salmon has a stronger/overwhelming flavor which calls for more flavorful marinades/sauces.
                            I don't think the issue is simply oil content, as the King Salmon from Santa Monica Seafood was very rich in oil. but maybe?? what the fish eat.
                            As for 99 Ranch, I suppose in general the tradition of Chinese style versus European style fish venders is different. The Chinese value live fish, European value very fresh kept very cold/on ice. If you want a whole fish, snapper, live carp, or live crabs, go Chinese,ie 99 Ranch, but if you want fresh large deep sea fish, halibut, swordfish etc I think the quality is best from a market like Santa Monica Seafood, where the seafood is very carefully kept very cold.(For me salmon falls in this catagory.) I do not mean to offend anyone by this broad generalization, I like shopping at both types of markets, and wonder what others think?
                            In all respect to different opinions, farm vs wild, my favorite salmon ever was Wild caught purchased from a Safeway Market in Port Angeles, Washington State and cooked over a wood fire in Olympic National forest campground. The salmon was cut in a thick chunk , imagine a 6 inch thick salmon steak, which was labeled "salmon roast", and raw the flesh was an unbelievable deep red color, I've never seen anything like that for sale in LA.
                            Thanks so much!! Russkar for the wholesale info!!! I had searched for your earlier postings about this but came up blank. I will be checking those out soon, and also the lobster.

                            1. re: ciaolette

                              I hope you realize I see the SM trucks pulling up to buy from the wholesale places I mentioned. My most favorite Salmon is still Copper River KING at 12- wholesale or 21- at SM , enjoy.