Do you buy fish at Assi Market in Lansdale?
I've been buying fish at the new Whole Foods in Plymouth Meeting, and have been very happy with the quality and the sustainable fishing/fish farming practices, but not the price. DH and I were contemplating a trip to assi next time. What are your impressions of freshness, quality, price?
I am torn about spending less vs. sustainability. I can't say (or probably know) how the fish sold at assi is harvested, but paying whole foods prices is tough!
what are your opinions?
We have been going to Assi for many years and buying the fish. I will no longer buy many of the pre- filleted fish. Definetly NOT the $4.99/$5.99 lb "flounder". I have thrown out 3 to 4 lbs of "flounder" fillets 3X. The last time, 3 months ago, it was so bad I called and left a message at the county health inspector.
PLUS, It was not flounder, ( in retrospect at $4.99 per lb, how could it be?) I suspect it was some sort of fresh water fish or farm raised something or other and it smelled so bad I just tossed it.
I tried taking it back once, it was such a hassle with almost all the clerks faking not speaking english and, We live in Glenside, so what used to be a 15 min ride can be a 40 min ride with the construction.
I have had no trouble when I have selected a whole fish and had it prepared, selected a cut off a large low quantity fillet like the Mahi or salmon or bought the "Sushi" grade fish in the aisle.
I buy fish from both Assi and Whole Foods. Assi is considerably less expensive but the quality is not as good and sustainability is certainly not a priority. I have been quite happy with the red snapper at Assi, and I like that I can choose to have it filleted or left whole. Surprisingly, I have also been very happy with their scallops. But do not buy any pre filleted fish at Assi and don't buy the salmon, it's that awful farmed stuff. Shrimp are generally good and you can get them with the heads on. Clams are also good. I gave into my child's request for lobster once and it was as bad as any grocery store - but that was easy enough to tell just from looking at the tank. Oh, their flounder and fluke is also terrific. And if you like to cook squid at home Assi is the place to get it.
When you go to the counter, on the far left they have pre filleted fish. It always looks a mess and I bought some once and it smelled (couldn't convince the fish man to let me get a look at it before he wrapped it up) so I threw it away. Choose a whole fish then look up at the blue sign - it has about six different ways that they will butcher your fish. Skinless fillets are among the options. I think it is number 3 but I'm not sure, anyway just point and say the number and they will do it quickly and happily. (unless you're buying a very small fish, then they will scowl and say No Cut!) it is much nicer and fresher and they will let you really look at the whole fish and select the one you want.
On a completely different note - have you been over to Saigon on Main in Lansdale yet? That is on the way to Assi (well depending on which way you go you might have to continue up 63 rather than pass it on the way) and they have really good food. It's a simple Vietnamese place near the Starbucks. The bun is really good, and the pho is not stellar but reliable. Great green papaya salad!
I live very close to Assi and like that market very much. However, I do have my concerns with buying fish at Assi. It is my impression that a lot of their fish comes from Asia and I question the healthfulness of farmed fish from Asia. I do buy fish there but always am thinking that it may come from polluted waters or farms where thousands of fish are crammed into pens with contaminated water. I have no basis for these concerns but I do think about them when I am buying in Assi.
I do trust Whole Foods but of course it is expensive. I also trust Costco, I believe that they have high standards.
And a third from me. The market is huge (and the only Asian/Latino mega-market I can think of) that the turnover of fish must be incredibly fast. They do a huge business and the prices are by far the lowest around. As for sustainability, I attend more to endangerment of the species than the farming practices. I gave up Chilean sea bass a while ago as it has been drastically over harvested. But, ecopolitics aside, Assi is my choice for fish.
I second the recommendation for fish at ASSI. I have purchased fresh fish from there multiple times, and was very happy with the quality, selection, and price. They also have fresh sashimi grade fish fillets available, and giant sea scallops for much less than what you would pay in the other supermarkets.
I can't recommend the fish at Assi enough. Can't speak for the harvesting methiods but can regarding freshness. It is unmatched in ant place I can think of. Great selection as well. I have goten the salmon fillets with seams of fat that would make Kobe beef jealous.
While you're there ask about their fried chicken selection. Great stuff there as well.