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May 22, 2011 12:04 PM

If you eat tilapia...

this may interest you. It's a lengthy piece about the downside of tilapia, both in terms of less healthfulness and environmental negatives.

Another Side of Tilapia, the Perfect Factory Fish


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      1. re: FoodChic

        3rd that, it's like the shoe leather of seafood., even looks somewhat like a shoe sole.

        1. re: cstr

          Shoe leather would be a bit of an up-stat. I don't think it has any flavor at all.

      2. re: magiesmom

        I always thought so, too. But I recently bought a whole, not filleted, tilapia here in the mercado in La Antigua, Guatemala, stuffed it with onion, garlic, lime, and herbs and pan broiled it, and was very pleasantly surprised at how tasty it was. No idea whether it was the preparation, the freshness of the fish, or where/how it was raised/caught, but it was very different from the insipid, unappealing fillets I've tried back in the States.

      3. I think the issues with it are well-known around here. But, the thing is, even with all its negatives, it's still probably better to have it in your diet than not having any fish at all (or in place of a fatty meat). Since it's usually an economic choice, it's not like there's a financial equal to it.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ediblover

          Since it's usually an economic choice, it's not like there's a financial equal to it.

          How about anchovies? Or sardines?

          Or the Filet-O-Fish?

          1. re: ipsedixit

            Fresh anchovies/sardines are impossible to find. Not sure if I should point out the obvious (guess I am) of the canned ones having an extremely strong flavor that turns of most people. Other whitefish are generally most expensive than the tilapia.

            Overall problem: People need to eat less bad stuff and more good, like fish.

            Solution: The economical and neutral tasting tilapia.

            Problem: It's economical because it's fed less than ideal diets resulting in a nutritional profile that's not great (but still better than many other choices).

            Solution: None at this time. Either get another neutral tasting fish with a good nutritional profile to take its place or improve the profile of the tilapia (difficult since it requires a diet overhaul, which would increase it's price, which...)

          2. re: ediblover

            properly raised fatty meat would be way healthier.

          3. The original comment has been removed
            1. "“Ten years ago no one had heard of it; now everyone wants it because it doesn’t have a fishy taste, especially hospitals and schools,”"

              That cannot be right... . We didn't hear of tilapia ten years ago?

              6 Replies
              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                I think that statement only applies to some areas of the country. Urban areas have seen tilapia as a major market fish for at least 20 years, probably 30. I know the last time I ate tilapia was about 10 years ago.....shows you how much I appreciate it. I remember an article in Organic Garden magazine extolling the virtues of raising tilapia in your home or yard, and how that should be the only fish you eat. I distinctly remember reading that article in the mid-80's. Stopped reading it afterwards.

                1. re: EricMM

                  Tilapia jumped the shark when Denny's started featuring it.

                  1. re: EricMM


                    I hear you, man. The last time you ate a tilapia was 10 years ago, huh? That is something. I am not a huge fan of tilapia either, but I don't dislike the taste. It is ok. I probably eat it like once or twice a year.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Tilapia is abundant in almost every retention pond, ditch and freshwater canal in Florida; pesticide/fertilizer runoff has to be in the flesh. I will pass on this tasteless invasive species.

                      1. re: ospreycove

                        I doubt any restaurant is serving the ones found in retention ponds and drainage ditches.

                        There's an Osprey (I think, could be some kind of hawk or eagle) that lives near my work, where we also have a big runoff ditch that stays at least half full with water through most of the rainy season. It's not uncommon to see the osprey suddenly dive down, grab a tilapia out of the water, and start chowing down at the top of a power pole.

                        1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                          tute, I have a friend who is very accomplished at casting a net, he always gets at least a couple of 5 gallopn buckets of "wild" Tilapia from the retention ponds. As you probably know Florida has no bag limits or season/minimum size for this non-native fish. Still I cannot get myself to accept his offer of his "hauls" of Tilapia.

                2. Everybody has a right to their own opinion, but I have to say, I am tired of the anti-tilapia talk on Chowhound. We get it. It's a 'trash fish' and people don't like it and blah blah blah. Others do, and others still know how to prepare it well. I don't see why people care what other people put in their own mouths.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: Jadore

                    Though not my fish of choice I do agree with you.

                    1. re: Jadore

                      Some folks are not aware of the potential hazards of eating imported, farmed, and drainage ditch, fish in general; Tilapia in particular. I always feel I learn something from others everyday.

                      1. re: ospreycove

                        I can pretty much guarantee that no one here can taste the difference between flounder and tilapia when cooked and blindfolded. If you don't want to eat it because it's harmful to you or the environment, so be it. To say it tastes bad is simply absurd.

                        1. re: Worldwide Diner

                          worldWide.....Hmmmmm, Fresh never frozen flounder vs. farm raised Tilapia, frozen, imported,,etc.....you need to try a nice Gulf Coast "Flattie" sauteed whole, with the simplest of seasonings, if one is lucky with the roe intact.. You will pass by the "immigrant Tilapia every time!! LOL

                          1. re: Worldwide Diner

                            I do a few blind tastings of foods and beverages and although I have not done one between flounder and tilapia I'm pretty sure I could tell them apart. May have to try it and report back

                            1. re: scubadoo97

                              Isn't flounder one of those fish that is hard to find anymore?

                              1. re: Rella

                                Rella, not really stocks off the Atlantic Coast and in the Gulf Coast allow for a lengthy recreational season, with good bag limits.

                                1. re: ospreycove

                                  Good bag limits? The flounder season in NYS is left to April and May, with a 2 fish bag limit of 12" minimum. Hardly anyone even bothers to try anymore. While some are caught in the NYC area, out east, where I spend summers, nonody even tries to fish for them anymore. I haven't even heard of someone trying in the last 8 years or so. My last flounder was caught maybe 15 years ago. (I'm talking winter flounder, Pseudopleuronectes americanus. Stocks are much better on fluke, Paralichthys dentatus.)

                                  1. re: EricMM

                                    EricMM........It has been a long time since I fished in NYS or NJ; I didn't know the regs. were so stringent; but in Florida there is no closed season for summer and "southern" flounder, daily bag limit is 10 fish and a minimum size of 12", no max. size. Having said that, the commercial draggers are doing some damage to the plentiful supply of wild shrimp, flounder, and black sea bass, as well as undersized grouper and red snapper.