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What is swai fish?

Angelina May 20, 2012 04:10 AM

I see this always in my supermarket (frozen and at Wegmans here in NJ) but I have no idea what type of fish or what it even tastes like. I was going to buy it, but I figured I would first ask my pals here and see if it is worth it or not.

I have no recipe, as I did not even search yet!

Thanks so much for any help!!! :)

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  1. c
    coolaugustmoon RE: Angelina May 20, 2012 04:58 AM

    Short answer, Southeast Asian catfish. Longer answer involves the catfish family tree. It is is not bad, buttery even.

    1. g
      GH1618 RE: Angelina May 20, 2012 06:07 AM

      Here's the summary from Blue Ocean Institute:


      1. Bacardi1 RE: Angelina May 20, 2012 02:32 PM

        It's an Asian catfish, & while not bad-tasting (I've tried it), I beg you NOT to buy it.

        For starters, all fish coming from Asia are raised under circumstances that are unbelievably frightening at best as far as health concerns. For seconds, markets that purchase this crap do so because it's cheap, thereby undermining our local fresh farm-raised catfish.

        Please, PLEASE do NOT BUY "SWAI"!!! You're undermining your own health, plus your local, & HEALTHIER, catfish farmers.

        15 Replies
        1. re: Bacardi1
          PSZaas RE: Bacardi1 May 20, 2012 07:21 PM

          The swai sold in local supermarkets here in upstate NY is all locally-farmed.

          1. re: PSZaas
            Bacardi1 RE: PSZaas May 21, 2012 07:41 AM

            Are you absolutely sure about that? Because according to the U.S. Farmed Catfish Association, there are no Swai farm-raised anywhere in the United States. It's all imported.

            1. re: Bacardi1
              PSZaas RE: Bacardi1 May 21, 2012 09:34 AM

              You might be right. The sign at my local supermarket says "locally farmed," but I'm thinking that's only true if you're living in Vietnam, since I can't find any hint that there's farmed catfish anywhere in the NE.

              1. re: PSZaas
                law_doc89 RE: PSZaas Mar 2, 2013 08:11 AM

                Swai is a negotiated import treaty term. It CANNOT be swai if it is from the USA.

                1. re: law_doc89
                  PSZaas RE: law_doc89 Mar 5, 2013 03:23 PM


          2. re: Bacardi1
            Querencia RE: Bacardi1 May 31, 2012 04:03 PM

            Aren't vendors required to publish the country of origin of fish? I see that some places do it and it certainly is printed on packaged seafood like frozen scallops and shrimp. I will not buy ANY seafood coming from China, having seen enough newspaper stories of filthy conditions and total lack of regulatory law. I like to think that Thailand is a bit better but invite comments from any who know this not to be true and I will give that up too. I noticed just today at Jewel (big chain in Chicago) that swai of mysterious origin was $3.99 lb while US-farmed catfish was $8.99 lb---there must be a reason.

            1. re: Bacardi1
              mrtunk RE: Bacardi1 Aug 17, 2012 11:30 AM

              I hope you realize that you are throwing out unverified propaganda (LIES) fabricated by a scared and greedy Catfish Farmers of America (CFA) in an attempt to stifle foreign competition.An independent study reveals that many Vietnamese fishery farms are cleaner and more efficient than some of our local CFA farms. Get educated on the issue.





              1. re: mrtunk
                Uncle Bob RE: mrtunk Aug 17, 2012 02:40 PM

                Three things I don't/choose to put in my mouth.....Chewing tobacco, Chicken Shit, and Fish from the dooky ditches (their tributaries) and sewage lagoons of SE Asia.....However if you choose to promote, import, enjoy, etc...........

                Fun & Bon Appetit!!

                1. re: Uncle Bob
                  Bacardi1 RE: Uncle Bob Aug 18, 2012 07:31 AM

                  A huge DITTO!!!!!

                  1. re: Uncle Bob
                    dpumpkin RE: Uncle Bob Apr 28, 2014 03:12 PM

                    Just curious if you have personally travelled to SE Asia and have witnessed this? Thanks, Di

                  2. re: mrtunk
                    ratgirlagogo RE: mrtunk Aug 19, 2012 08:54 AM

                    You do realize that the Monterey Bay Aquarium report you linked to recommends AGAINST purchasing swai, basa, and Asian-farmed catfish:

                    "Basa, Pangasius and Swai are used interchangeably when referring to two species of farmed river catfish from Asia. Catfish farmed in the U.S. is considered a "Best Choice," as it's farmed in a more ecologically responsible manner."

                    1. re: ratgirlagogo
                      kmcarr RE: ratgirlagogo Aug 19, 2012 08:53 PM

                      Huh?? The MBA Seafood Watch guide (mrtunk's link) classifies these as a "Good Alternative". Yes, they do identify American farmed catfish as a "Best Choice" but absolutely are NOT recommending against purchasing Asian Swai (Basa, Pangasius).

                      1. re: ratgirlagogo
                        tdreese RE: ratgirlagogo Jan 28, 2014 07:51 PM



                      2. re: mrtunk
                        Violapie RE: mrtunk Jan 19, 2013 08:05 PM

                        We had it for dinner this evening for the first time and we're not impressed. Never again.

                      3. re: Bacardi1
                        Mslola53 RE: Bacardi1 Jul 11, 2013 07:29 PM

                        Oh crap...I had some reservations about Swai because it's so inexpensive...I just endorsed it to someone else [Sorry Angelina) I don't really care for catfish, and I found Swai to have a milder favor unlike Tilapia which has no favor at all to me...Thanks for you info

                      4. luckyfatima RE: Angelina May 20, 2012 07:11 PM

                        Ah, I hate to read about the health concerns. I *love* swai. I am not a fish-person. I love shell fish but for some reason fin fish is often malodorous for me and tastes too fishy and I can't even swallow fish if it is too fishy. Swai is extremely mild tasting and the flesh is tender and creamy...a really nice texture. I use it for fish-fry and fish curries. Of the cheapo grocery store pre-frozen fish, like compared to tilapia and other usual suspects, swai tastes a million times better. I shudder to think about how dirty it must be. So that is fish advice from a person who doesn't like fish, but just my two cents for whatever it is worth.

                        13 Replies
                        1. re: luckyfatima
                          tonifi RE: luckyfatima May 21, 2012 08:42 AM

                          Yeah...I really can't answer as to the politics of the thing...nor do I care to. But swai (which I used to find called 'basa') is a channel catfish, which is to say, a BIG catfish...which means it can be cut into nice big fillets, unlike most of the other catfish I can purchase, which comes in small chunks. It is also inexpensive, mild, meaty, and I use it anywhere I would use cod (which is much more expensive) or tilapia(which often tastes muddy to me).

                          1. re: tonifi
                            GH1618 RE: tonifi May 21, 2012 02:33 PM

                            No, "channel catfish" is the North American fish. Swai is not even a member of the same family, and may not be called "catfish" for sale as food.


                            1. re: GH1618
                              mrtunk RE: GH1618 Aug 17, 2012 11:49 AM

                              Ok, not only are you incorrect about "Channel Catfish" being only the North America variety, you are wrong about the two being of different Families. If you research the two different fish using the fishbase.com link you provided, you can find that the "Channel Catfish" is also native to six other countries , and are the exact same species. Further more the Swai variety is not only the same Family as "Channel Catfish", it is also of the same Genus, differing only in Species.


                              1. re: mrtunk
                                GH1618 RE: mrtunk Aug 17, 2012 02:28 PM

                                You should read more carefully; you seem to have some trouble with biological charts.  I did not write that channel catfish are found only in North America, but the native North American channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus, is in the family Ictaluridae (North American freshwater catfishes).  Swai, Pangasian hypophthalmus, is in the family Pangasiidae (shark catfishes).  Both are in the order Siluriformes.  They are distant cousins.     

                          2. re: luckyfatima
                            Kate is always hungry RE: luckyfatima Sep 24, 2013 09:58 PM

                            My brother also can't/won't eat most fish for the same reason-too fishy. He liked the swai at the local fish restaurant. I then found out it was a form of catfish! He keeps kosher and I don't have the heart to tell him what we were eating wasn't kosher! Would really have appreciated it if it had been labeled as a type of bottom feeder.

                            1. re: Kate is always hungry
                              hotoynoodle RE: Kate is always hungry Sep 27, 2013 05:36 AM

                              does it still count as a bottom-feeder when living in a pen eating corn/soy pellets? not being snarky, truly curious?

                              1. re: hotoynoodle
                                daviddoughty RE: hotoynoodle May 8, 2014 06:46 AM

                                Yes because the fish has no scales and kosher laws require the fish go have scales...God is a picky eater.

                              2. re: Kate is always hungry
                                Tom34 RE: Kate is always hungry Sep 27, 2013 06:00 AM

                                Leaving the Kosher issue out of it, I think labeling a product a "Bottom Feeder" would likely decrease sales.

                                1. re: Tom34
                                  hotoynoodle RE: Tom34 Sep 27, 2013 06:11 AM

                                  lol, yes that too, but i did seriously mean the kosher aspect?

                                  1. re: hotoynoodle
                                    Tom34 RE: hotoynoodle Sep 27, 2013 06:40 AM

                                    Good question. Most of the freshwater trout for sale in the stores are raised in hatcheries and fed a diet consisting of the pellets you speak of. Its been years since I have been to a hatchery but if my memory serves me correctly the pellets settle quickly to the bottom.

                                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                                      ratgirlagogo RE: hotoynoodle Sep 27, 2013 07:30 AM

                                      I think it's the lack of scales rather than the bottom feeding that makes catfish treif.

                                      1. re: ratgirlagogo
                                        hotoynoodle RE: ratgirlagogo Sep 27, 2013 03:25 PM

                                        ok, google is my friend:

                                        "The Torah says that fish or any creature that lives in the water must have both scales (kaskekset) and fins (senapir) in order to be considered Kosher."


                                        nothing about bottom-feeding.

                                  2. re: Kate is always hungry
                                    ChefDominick RE: Kate is always hungry Apr 21, 2014 09:39 PM

                                    I know this post is old and I hate to say it but your brother wouldn't be eating kosher even if he was eating a piece of salmon in the restaurant.

                                2. b
                                  beachmouse RE: Angelina May 21, 2012 09:14 AM

                                  Swai aka Vietnamese catfish have a very bad reputation down here. It's what unscrupulous fishmongers and restaurant owners will try to pass off as other much more expensive mild whitefish like grouper or snapper in the name of saving a few bucks, at least in the short term. (If you get caught by the state, it's a $1000 fine per incident.)

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: beachmouse
                                    mrtunk RE: beachmouse Aug 17, 2012 11:50 AM

                                    These are the people giving Swai / Basa a bad name. Swai / Basa, really great fish in its own right.

                                    1. re: mrtunk
                                      GH1618 RE: mrtunk Aug 17, 2012 02:30 PM

                                      What is the nature and extent of your relationship to the marketing of Swai or Basa in North America?

                                      1. re: GH1618
                                        kubasd RE: GH1618 Aug 17, 2012 02:32 PM

                                        Obviously there is some kind of connection... the only posts they've made are on this thread... and they blew it up!

                                        1. re: GH1618
                                          mrtunk RE: GH1618 Aug 20, 2012 09:00 AM

                                          My relationship is, "FAN" as I seriously like Swai / Basa. It seems like there is a lot of CFA backers hanging out here.

                                    2. r
                                      redfish62 RE: Angelina May 21, 2012 09:58 AM

                                      I never worry about the health scare stuff because no matter what you eat, somebody will tell you it's bad for your health.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: redfish62
                                        Bacardi1 RE: redfish62 May 21, 2012 12:32 PM

                                        I agree with you concerning "health scare stuff" in general, but in this case, it really is valid. Fish-farming in Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, China, etc.) is a FAR cry from fish farming in the U.S. And although a lot of fish farming in the U.S. isn't getting any blue-ribbon seals of approval (EXCEPT for the catfish industry), the Asian counterparts are much, much worse. The fish are sometimes fed trash, as well as copious amounts of antibiotics (many illegal) to counteract the horribly filthy conditions they're raised in. Outside environmental issues aren't even raised - those are laughable.

                                        If you like catfish, buy certified U.S.-farmed fish. Every reputable seafood market/counter is required by law to have the origin of all of their products readily available. Buying imported "Swai" is not only detrimental to your health, but puts another nail in the coffin of our already suffering local catfish industry.

                                        And just out of curiousity, I bought Swai once against my better judgement. Couldn't hold a candle to our U.S. farmed catfish.

                                        1. re: Bacardi1
                                          Just Visiting RE: Bacardi1 May 30, 2012 05:58 PM

                                          Would you like a side of facts to go with that?


                                          "Vietnam catfish farmers and other international exporters of fish need to show proof that the water used to farm fish is safe and unpolluted and provide observational data related to their farming practices in order to meet American food safety requirements. The issue of tracking is essential to allow country of origin to be traced if a food safety issue were to occur in the United States.

                                          Under the revisions are rules that Vietnamese catfish producers are required to have their product inspected and tested. U.S. fishmongers have been lobbying for new policy, claiming imported catfish pose a potential health risk."

                                          That was in 2010. Then in 2011, http://www.fsis.usda.gov/About_FSIS/O...

                                          Not saying FSIS is perfect; no agency is. Though in my experience, the inspection of imported food is far more stringent that is the inspection of home-grown stuff.

                                          1. re: Just Visiting
                                            Msample RE: Just Visiting May 31, 2012 06:59 AM

                                            The problem with domestic catfish is that I rarely see it any more in New England, whereas it used to be pretty plentiful say 5 years ago. Not only has Asian stuff gotten more common, but the rising cost of the feed grains has made US stuff more expensive. I used to get it fairly often at our regional chain supermarekt ( Shaws ) but they haven't had it in years .

                                          2. re: Bacardi1
                                            mrtunk RE: Bacardi1 Aug 17, 2012 11:55 AM

                                            You all are looking to CFA ( Catfish Farmers of America) propaganda. Read the facts.


                                          3. re: redfish62
                                            NoniGina RE: redfish62 Apr 19, 2014 11:46 AM


                                          4. q
                                            Querencia RE: Angelina May 31, 2012 04:09 PM

                                            It is interesting to come upon this thread today when I was sitting here half the night trying to find out where my pills come from and, guess what, it's the same place more and more of our fish is coming from, namely Asia. I got suspicious when I picked up some prescriptions that cost so little I thought CVS had made a mistake so I followed through and found a website where by entering the pill imprint you can get the manufacturer and the country of origin (the choice there seems to be India or China). Do they practice quality control? I greatly doubt it. Then today I found the grocery store selling mostly Asian Crap Fish. I think we are all screwed.

                                            1. k
                                              kseiverd RE: Angelina Aug 17, 2012 11:45 AM

                                              Tried it for the first time a few days ago... NOT impressed. I asked what it was and told "farmed" and pretty much the same as catfish. Think main reason I even gave it a try was the price... seriously less than anything else in supermarket. I did a light, seasoned flour/cornmeal coating and shallow fried till crispy. Frankly, it had absolutely NO flavor... and I though catfish needed a lot of "doctoring up"?? And it seems to be a fish that will always be "wet" inside, no matter how long you cook it... a trait that I'm not fond of. Won't buy it again.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: kseiverd
                                                mrtunk RE: kseiverd Aug 17, 2012 12:05 PM

                                                That's a fair review. I would suggest baking with herbs and tomatoes, it brings out the fish's natural buttery flavor. This is my families new favorite, especially given the price. Let me suggest Dried Italian herbs, a splash of olive oil and top with some sliced yellow tomatoes. I bake at 350, and when the juices start bubbling , i switch to broil for 5-10 minutes or till they fillets get Brown and crispy.

                                              2. a
                                                Alica RE: Angelina Aug 17, 2012 02:41 PM

                                                Had it last night for the first time. I found it in Stop & Shop and like to try new things. I baked it with pesto and a little fresh mozzarella. I served it with broccoli rabe. It was very good! We liked the texture.

                                                1. Kat RE: Angelina Aug 17, 2012 09:08 PM

                                                  Cheap Swai is always for sale at my local Shaws and Stop and Shop with tags stating it is from Asia. I will not buy it due to concerns about dirty living conditions of the fish in the farms. Also, am concerned as to why it is always so much cheaper than all the other fish, even the fish on sale.

                                                  1. g
                                                    GH1618 RE: Angelina Aug 17, 2012 10:03 PM

                                                    Here's a document from the US Federal Register on the taxonomy and other aspects of catfish:


                                                    Ictaluridae are North American catfish.

                                                    1. hotoynoodle RE: Angelina Aug 19, 2012 08:11 AM

                                                      have totally stopped buying any farmed fish, except for oysters, either domestic or imported. i don't want to eat what they eat, namely gmo soy.

                                                      farmed salmon, for example, is flaccid and off-tasting, vs. the wild stuff.

                                                      no thank you.

                                                      1. d
                                                        DrRisk RE: Angelina Dec 12, 2012 07:31 AM

                                                        It's not a bad fish, rather tasteless by itself. Rather like flounder. And I don't like farm-raised catfish either. The real thing has taste.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: DrRisk
                                                          Bacardi1 RE: DrRisk Dec 12, 2012 08:26 AM

                                                          I've completely given up ever buying wild catfish again (but do love the U.S.-farmed product). Have tried wild catfish 3 times from 2 different sources. Twice the flavor was decidedly "muddy" & unpleasant. No thank you.

                                                          And frankly - & most likely because I grew up on the Long Island, NY, waterfront - I don't find ANY freshwater fish to have ANY particular "flavor" whatsoever. So "muddy" was just an unpleasant surprise for me - lol!!

                                                          However, I do enjoy U.S.-farmed catfish filets for their firmness & texture. Are an absolute delight as a clean slate for different rubs & sauces.

                                                          1. re: Bacardi1
                                                            Kontxesi RE: Bacardi1 Feb 21, 2013 05:11 AM

                                                            I've never purchased wild or farmed cats. We eat what my fiance and his dad bring home from fishing trips. They absolutely love it, but I can't eat it. I'm not sure my palate is attuned to "muddiness", but it seems to have an overpowering fishy taste to me. (Which I thought catfish wasn't supposed to have?)

                                                            1. re: Kontxesi
                                                              law_doc89 RE: Kontxesi Mar 2, 2013 08:16 AM

                                                              Like a lot of wild caught, you sometimes end up tasting what they ate recently.

                                                        2. s
                                                          seamunky RE: Angelina Dec 12, 2012 09:59 AM

                                                          On another post, someone once commented that to them swai taste like eggs and if they wanted to eat something that tastes like eggs, they would eat eggs. I ate some swai later that day and I totallly understood what they were saying. Now all I can think of when I eat swai is eggs, eggs, eggs.. . .

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: seamunky
                                                            Kontxesi RE: seamunky Feb 21, 2013 05:13 AM

                                                            I don't recall mine tasting like eggs. It was decidedly bland, though. And I definitely noticed the "wetness" of the flesh, as someone mentioned up-thread.

                                                            (Now, what DOES taste like eggs to me is cheap-ass chicken pumped full of salt solution. All I taste is scrambled eggs! But that is for another thread.)

                                                          2. alliegator RE: Angelina Dec 12, 2012 10:52 AM

                                                            I find it to be very tilapia-like in that it's just cheap, firm, white fish. Unless you've got a very flavorful sauce or seasoning, it tastes pretty much like nothing.
                                                            The fact that's it's farmed in Asia doesn't really bother me, I've eaten all sorts of things farmed in Asia and have never fallen ill as a result.
                                                            But I'm a snapper fan, and that is generally my fish of choice for cooking.

                                                            1. d
                                                              DEBMCE4 RE: Angelina Feb 20, 2013 09:50 PM

                                                              It is considered a form of asian catfish, which is also used to described Tilapia. Swai is good for those who do not prefer a fishy taste and has a light texture. Tilapia has a more firm consistancy and holds up better in a recipe that calls for a firm fish (like cioppino or jambalaya). Since Swai doesn't have much flavor, be prepared to use breading/spices/marinades.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: DEBMCE4
                                                                dougbr RE: DEBMCE4 Feb 21, 2013 10:09 PM

                                                                Tilapia is a cichlid, like those big oscar fish you see in pet shops, not a catfish. All farm raised freshwater fish pretty much taste like mud though.

                                                              2. law_doc89 RE: Angelina Mar 2, 2013 08:39 AM

                                                                If you read this long, boring technical report on the Mekong River, you will not want to eat what is harvested from "farms" on the lower river:


                                                                Further, watch this, and you won't either:


                                                                11 Replies
                                                                1. re: law_doc89
                                                                  carolinadawg RE: law_doc89 Mar 2, 2013 02:57 PM

                                                                  And I bet if I watch a video of how sausage is made, I won't be interested in eating it, either.

                                                                  1. re: carolinadawg
                                                                    law_doc89 RE: carolinadawg Mar 2, 2013 08:17 PM

                                                                    Big difference between disgusting and toxic. But, the song lyrics are: "suicide is painless..."

                                                                    1. re: law_doc89
                                                                      carolinadawg RE: law_doc89 Mar 3, 2013 04:42 AM

                                                                      Not sure what suicide has to with anything, but in any event, we are all in contact with potentially toxic substances everyday. Doesn't mean that specific exposure will kill us. I don't eat swai, so it's not a real concern to me personally. I just don't see the point in demonizing It or freaking out about it.

                                                                      1. re: carolinadawg
                                                                        Bacardi1 RE: carolinadawg Mar 3, 2013 06:34 AM

                                                                        I don't think it's a question of "demonizing it" or "freaking out about it".

                                                                        It's a question of supporting U.S. farmed catfish - which are raised via hygienic practices & standards - rather than imported swai, which are brought in from Asia & raised under standard-free filthy, frequently drug-riddled, conditions.

                                                                        1. re: Bacardi1
                                                                          GH1618 RE: Bacardi1 Mar 3, 2013 06:40 AM


                                                                          1. re: Bacardi1
                                                                            carolinadawg RE: Bacardi1 Mar 3, 2013 06:58 AM

                                                                            Supporting US farm raised catfish is a fine and noble thing, but none of law_doc89's posts suggested doing that, not to mention that there are questions about how clear cut the reality is.

                                                                            1. re: carolinadawg
                                                                              law_doc89 RE: carolinadawg Mar 3, 2013 07:12 AM

                                                                              It IS about knowing what you are doing when you eat something. We all act on trust that what we buy is safe over time. But some risks are greater than others. We negotiate treaties with other countries about standards, what we call stuff, what are tolerable levels, and how something will be reviewed or inspected. That said, I will not buy any fish from Vietnam, nor China. It is not worth the "savings."

                                                                              1. re: carolinadawg
                                                                                Bacardi1 RE: carolinadawg Mar 3, 2013 01:49 PM

                                                                                Which reality isn't "clear cut" to you? The reality that U.S. farm-raised catfish are raised under stringent health standards & regularly inspected, or the reality that Asian-farmed Swai (& other seafood) not only are not raised under standardized healthy conditions, nor are they reliably inspected before making their way to your seafood counter?

                                                                                And regardless, you stated previously that you don't even eat Swai, nor do you intend to, so one really can't understand exactly what dog you have in this fight anyway.

                                                                          2. re: law_doc89
                                                                            carolinadawg RE: law_doc89 Mar 3, 2013 04:43 PM

                                                                            How about chicken as an example, rather than sausage? Is salmonella toxic enough?

                                                                        2. re: law_doc89
                                                                          carolinadawg RE: law_doc89 Mar 5, 2013 05:03 AM

                                                                          I read the report. My reaction is so what? It doesn't mention fish, much less fish farming. A river in Asia is polluted. Ok. I bet a similar report on the any major river in the US wouldn't look too good either.

                                                                          Unless you somehow have detailed information on where the individual swai you buy specifically came from, then you don't know if there is a problem with that specific fish. And even then, you have no knowledge of the actual harm that may be caused by eating it. There are many examples of other such contaminats and toxins in various foods. Avoiding them all won't leave much to eat.

                                                                          1. re: law_doc89
                                                                            Lisa Gutterman RE: law_doc89 Sep 27, 2013 05:14 AM

                                                                            HELLO PEOPLE - the US government does not care about our health...it is all about the $ MONEY

                                                                            Thank you for the video and information law_doc89

                                                                          2. k
                                                                            kseiverd RE: Angelina Mar 3, 2013 03:02 PM

                                                                            Bought it one time. Asked what it was and was told "like catfish"... "very mild". One of the reasons I tried it... frankly, was that it was about HALF the price of anything else iin fish case.

                                                                            Took it home, dredged and fried. Even tho flour and curmbs were heavily seasoned and BIG glug of hot sauce in beaten eggs... fish had absolutely NO flavor & was kinda soft/wet... to me. Doubt I'll buy it again.

                                                                            1. luckyfatima RE: Angelina Mar 5, 2013 01:26 PM

                                                                              So I had still been eating swai but think maybe I shouldn't.

                                                                              The thing is, other cheap fish just tastes too fishy and gross to me. I hate tilapia. It's texture is dryer and flakier and it is slightly more fishy tasting than swai.

                                                                              I do like striped bass and red snapper and a few other fishes but they are usually costly.

                                                                              So, what is a good option to buy that is just like swai: creamy, extremely mild, and in terms of fish taste, flavorless. Does American catfish taste like swai?

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: luckyfatima
                                                                                Bacardi1 RE: luckyfatima Mar 5, 2013 05:16 PM

                                                                                U.S. farm-raised catfish tastes BETTER than Swai, in my opinion. Just make sure to ask if the catfish you're buying is U.S. farm-raised before you buy it.

                                                                                The bottom line as to flavor is always going to be personal preference, but with U.S. farm-raised catfish, you at least will know that you're not eating Asian antibiotics & Lord knows what else in your fish.

                                                                                1. re: luckyfatima
                                                                                  carolinadawg RE: luckyfatima Mar 6, 2013 11:03 AM

                                                                                  Farm raised catfish almost always has a "muddy" taste to me, as does tilapia. I have had golden tilefish several times in the past 2 weeks, don't know if its available in your area. An excellent fish, imo. White, mild, flaky. I paid about $15/pound for it. Grouper might suit you as well. Unfortunately, good fish is generally expensive.

                                                                                2. d
                                                                                  dougbr RE: Angelina Mar 6, 2013 08:26 PM

                                                                                  You can find swai in your local pet store as well, it is an aquarium fish that goes by the name of irridescent shark.

                                                                                  1. u
                                                                                    unclesam328 RE: Angelina Mar 31, 2013 07:43 PM

                                                                                    going to do a quick soy sauce, garlic powder, chili powder, lemon juice, and hot sauce marinade till it takes some color. Cornmeal/ flour breading and deep fry. Little lemon juice and tartar sauce with wild rice. My tilapia never taste fishy? It is cheaper than any others at Kroger. Is it farmed?

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: unclesam328
                                                                                      Tom34 RE: unclesam328 Mar 31, 2013 07:52 PM

                                                                                      Swai is farmed and there is a lot of controversy involving the Mekong River. Best do some reading on it.

                                                                                    2. u
                                                                                      unclesam328 RE: Angelina Mar 31, 2013 09:56 PM

                                                                                      Flesh is very light and and lacks character. I'll eat it but won't serve it to my guest.

                                                                                      1. m
                                                                                        Mslola53 RE: Angelina Jul 11, 2013 07:22 PM

                                                                                        Angelina I don't know where to begin...first I'm not big on fish especially baked. One day, out of nowhere I had a taste for fish. I went to one of those "You buy we fry" places and because of the price (cheap) I tried Swai....long story short...I've been eating it every since. Mostly baked! with lemon/pepper and lemon juice ...boy o boy it's some kinda good. I had some for dinner tonite...give it a try it's YUMMO!

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Mslola53
                                                                                          ospreycove RE: Mslola53 Jul 12, 2013 04:29 AM

                                                                                          Look at the attached video, I would not eat this, nor any fish that are farm raised in either S.E. Asia or China. U.S catfish farms are highly regulated and pose a lesser risk to the consumer. For my tastes, I only buy/catch local Gulf fish; but that is a benefit of living oin a coastal area.


                                                                                          1. re: ospreycove
                                                                                            Mcodragon RE: ospreycove Jun 8, 2014 07:50 AM

                                                                                            Look at the highly regulated U.S. beef industry, the warnings on E. coli just kept coming...... I am REALLY impressed when the package said it is US regulated......

                                                                                        2. k
                                                                                          kseiverd RE: Angelina Jul 12, 2013 05:08 AM

                                                                                          Bought it once... mainly cuz it was so cheap compared with anything else in fish case. Flavor... mild to down right flavorless?? I was turned off by the wetness... even when breaded and fried... a texture thing for me. It wasn't "bad" but after reading most of these posts, not a keeper.

                                                                                          1. j
                                                                                            JudiAU RE: Angelina Jul 12, 2013 09:21 PM

                                                                                            What is swai fish?

                                                                                            Answer: the lowest quality farmed fish on the plant

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: JudiAU
                                                                                              ospreycove RE: JudiAU Jul 13, 2013 05:25 AM

                                                                                              Agreed!! Farmed fish in general is suspect, imported Swai is the worst of the worst. Who really wants anything raised on raw sewage?????

                                                                                            2. s
                                                                                              sgt_russ RE: Angelina Aug 26, 2013 01:22 PM

                                                                                              I rather like Swai also known as Basa. It is very mild, and lacks any fishy taste. My kids like it for that very reason.

                                                                                              The best way to eat it is lightly bread it with flour, spice it with Old Bay and fry it on medium for about 4 minutes per side.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: sgt_russ
                                                                                                unclesam328 RE: sgt_russ Jun 9, 2014 12:57 PM

                                                                                                Lack any taste and has a bad texture. I'll pass.

                                                                                              2. b
                                                                                                Bluidtiger RE: Angelina Sep 10, 2013 04:02 PM

                                                                                                I just had mine. It is extremely tender, flaky, and you can't just eat one. I put mine in aluminum foil with butter, garlic, salt and pepper. Make sure you put it on any kind of baking sheet. Preheat oven to 425 and leave the foil open a little. Cook for 22 minutes.

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Bluidtiger
                                                                                                  Tom34 RE: Bluidtiger Sep 10, 2013 04:58 PM

                                                                                                  It is good & reasonable but just limit your intake of it until the heavy metals issue is fully investigated. Lot of $$$$$$$$ at work keeping the whole issue on the back burner.

                                                                                                  1. re: Tom34
                                                                                                    carolinadawg RE: Tom34 Sep 10, 2013 05:29 PM

                                                                                                    Yeah, its not really imported, it's raised in Area 51...but we aren't supposed to know that.

                                                                                                    1. re: carolinadawg
                                                                                                      Tom34 RE: carolinadawg Sep 10, 2013 05:54 PM

                                                                                                      I'll be honest with you, I don't know that much about Swai but from what I have read there is reason for concern. To what level of concern seems to be the big question. I love food & don't figure on living for ever but at this point in time I am a little cautious with many Asian products.

                                                                                                2. y
                                                                                                  youareabunny RE: Angelina Sep 25, 2013 12:05 AM

                                                                                                  I think I bought this stuff frozen once. Yeh frozen fish isn't the best but I'm not comfortable with whole fish and it's just easier to thaw fillets as I need them

                                                                                                  I normally buy cod but this was a tiny bit cheaper and figured it might be a nice change.

                                                                                                  I don't recall the texture but the taste was... strange and it had so many bones! I've never had bones in frozen fillets and even trying to pick them out before was impossible because there was so many. I was getting so annoyed with the bones and by the time I had picked most of them out the fillets were mangled. Nothing on the packaging indicated that there were supposed to be bones.

                                                                                                  I baked the second batch in an attempt to mask the flavor with some kind of mustard recipe. Still, bones and an off taste couldn't save them so I threw the rest away. I've rarely done that.

                                                                                                  1. u
                                                                                                    UPDoc RE: Angelina Sep 27, 2013 07:37 AM


                                                                                                    in a word Catfish

                                                                                                    1. d
                                                                                                      debranutrition RE: Angelina Sep 30, 2013 08:47 PM

                                                                                                      I am a food service mgr and was introduced to swai at a food show. It is an inexpensive white fish and can be baked, fried poched or cooked any way you would serve tilapia. Personally I prefer the taste of swai over that of tiapia.

                                                                                                      1. t
                                                                                                        tdreese RE: Angelina Nov 3, 2013 06:46 AM

                                                                                                        GOOD MORNING, ANGELINA!


                                                                                                        1. s
                                                                                                          steevsf RE: Angelina Nov 15, 2013 10:49 PM

                                                                                                          Swai and tilapia are both disgusting fish!!!! Hate them both. Feel sorry for anyone who eats this crap fish. Yuck!!! Pay the price and buy wild caught Pacific and Atlantic seafood.

                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: steevsf
                                                                                                            The Professor RE: steevsf Nov 15, 2013 11:04 PM

                                                                                                            I pretty much agree. Questionable farming practices aside, they just have no flavor at all.

                                                                                                            1. re: steevsf
                                                                                                              Tom34 RE: steevsf Nov 18, 2013 11:06 AM

                                                                                                              I am a fan of wild but there are good farmed raised products out there that do not come from polluted waters, are not recklessly laced with antibiotics in a country with little or no oversight nor pumped with chemicals that make the product retain water.

                                                                                                              Ocean Garden farm raised shrimp are a good example. I also recently had Blue Tilapia at a friend's restaurant that was firm, tender and mildly sweet (Nothing like the $1.99 lb crap Tilapia) I forget where he told me it came from but it was not one of the typical Asian suspect countries.

                                                                                                              1. re: steevsf
                                                                                                                pallu RE: steevsf Jan 18, 2014 09:13 PM

                                                                                                                Not really. Way back in India, I would go to the fish market to get live tilapia. They were delicious, maybe because they were fresh.

                                                                                                                1. re: steevsf
                                                                                                                  pallu RE: steevsf Apr 22, 2014 12:04 PM

                                                                                                                  Well, once you have taken home a live tilapia and cooked it, you'll never turn back. It's way different from the frozen stuff.

                                                                                                                  1. re: pallu
                                                                                                                    law_doc89 RE: pallu Apr 22, 2014 09:40 PM

                                                                                                                    Does it scream if you cook it live?

                                                                                                                2. delilahtoo RE: Angelina Jan 1, 2014 06:19 PM

                                                                                                                  I was just doing a search to see what Swai was. I stay away from farm raised fish. As soon as they start feeding them some unspecified "meal" instead of their regular wild diet, the meat properties change. Even if they are not in dank ponds full of antibiotics and their own excrement, the meat is no longer what we think it is. I was looking for a link I had saved about farm raised tilapia. Basically, it said that farm raised tilapia had worse cholesterol levels than bacon, due to the diet they were being fed. I had been a die-hard tilapia eater and bought in bulk at Costco. After I read that article, I NEVER ate tilapia again and it's been over 5 years.

                                                                                                                  If you are eating fish for the health benefits, *wild caught*, cold water, fatty fish like pacific (Alaskan) cod and salmon are what all your health reports are talking about.. not farm-raised-in-muddy-ponds fish.

                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: delilahtoo
                                                                                                                    tdreese RE: delilahtoo Jan 27, 2014 09:03 PM

                                                                                                                    SORRY, BUT I DISLIKE COD AND SALMON...BOTH ARE TOO FISHY!

                                                                                                                    NOTE: I'M NOT SHOUTING, I ALWAYS TYPE/WRITE WITH CAPITAL LETTERS...BEEN DOING THAT FOR A FEW DECADES NOW.


                                                                                                                    1. re: GH1618
                                                                                                                      Tom34 RE: GH1618 Jan 28, 2014 10:04 AM

                                                                                                                      Whats your take on the Heavy Metal issue with Swai. Still the same river or has the farming branched out?

                                                                                                                      1. re: Tom34
                                                                                                                        GH1618 RE: Tom34 Jan 28, 2014 10:34 AM

                                                                                                                        My take? I don't have any information on the subject, but I'm not buying swai. (I have tried it, though.)

                                                                                                                  2. c
                                                                                                                    cynthiarswan RE: Angelina Jan 27, 2014 08:09 PM

                                                                                                                    Yum, just tasted for the first time, fish-fry style. I don't like cat fish and Swai taste nothing like it. It is not fishy at all texture is grate. Also grate for fish tacos, which will be my next dish.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: cynthiarswan
                                                                                                                      tdreese RE: cynthiarswan Jan 27, 2014 09:08 PM

                                                                                                                      I NOW BUY THE SWAI INSTEAD OF TILAPIA.


                                                                                                                    2. f
                                                                                                                      Foodie305 RE: Angelina Feb 10, 2014 09:39 PM



                                                                                                                      Fantastic Fish. You can't get better product for the price.

                                                                                                                      Swai Ceviche. Breaded Swai.

                                                                                                                      You can get it in Target, Wal-Mart, Safeway, Kroger, Aldi or any other major chain as well as many regional small chains.

                                                                                                                      It's one of the most consumed aquaculture species in America.

                                                                                                                      Please don't compare this product to something that costs 2-3 times more. Vietnam is the only country that produces this product in a major way and due to economics of scale is able to offer it at a great price to the USA, even comparable to Tilapia which is fantastic. I eat this fish 9 out of 10 times instead of Tilapia.

                                                                                                                      Most farms that supply US retailers are certified by the Best Aquaculture Practices, a USA standard as well as the FDA. On top of that most farms also maintain other certifications.

                                                                                                                      The Vietnamese Swai industry is one of the most heavily regulated aquaculture industry in Asia.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: Foodie305
                                                                                                                        JudiAU RE: Foodie305 Apr 20, 2014 08:28 PM

                                                                                                                        "The Vietnamese Swai industry is one of the most heavily regulated aquaculture industry in Asia."

                                                                                                                        That statement is meaningless in that their is virtually no enforcement here or there.

                                                                                                                      2. JTPhilly RE: Angelina Feb 12, 2014 07:04 AM

                                                                                                                        Why Swai?

                                                                                                                        I prepared this fish for dinner last night - made a lovely Panko breading, seasoned with Old Bay - baked and then finished on the broiler to brown everything was good except the fish itself - it has no texture mushy and flavorless.

                                                                                                                        Why even bother farming this fish - it is a fish to make people hate eating fish. Never again

                                                                                                                        1. m
                                                                                                                          MrsKeny RE: Angelina Apr 3, 2014 05:26 AM

                                                                                                                          I absolutely love this mild and healthy fish. We prepare it very simply by squeezing a whole lemon over 3 fillets, sprinkling Lawry's Salt Free 17 blend and baking. Plus, for the price, it cannot be beat. It freezes very well. We use a Food Saver to make sure it doesn't get freezer burn. This summer we will try grilling it. This is the least "fishy" tasting fish we've Ever had.

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: MrsKeny
                                                                                                                            carolinadawg RE: MrsKeny Apr 3, 2014 06:57 AM

                                                                                                                            You might want to re-examine the meaning of the word "healthy" vis-à-vis swai.

                                                                                                                          2. s
                                                                                                                            Sofieschoice1 RE: Angelina Apr 3, 2014 12:16 PM

                                                                                                                            The fish is very tasty not fishy at all....if it's mushy it because you don't know how to cook fish.

                                                                                                                            1. JTPhilly RE: Angelina Apr 3, 2014 12:42 PM

                                                                                                                              People who like swai seem to like it because it is not "fishy" tasting - but to me it is not anything tasting - just bland poorly textured fish - and after reading about its farming practices It is forever off the menu bleh

                                                                                                                              1. g
                                                                                                                                gfr1111 RE: Angelina Apr 4, 2014 01:41 PM

                                                                                                                                "Consumer Reports" says that it is a southeast asian catfish.

                                                                                                                                1. h
                                                                                                                                  halcyon1 RE: Angelina Apr 10, 2014 05:20 PM

                                                                                                                                  I just cooked up some frozen swai and it tastes...moldy. Anybody else have this experience?

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: halcyon1
                                                                                                                                    MrsKeny RE: halcyon1 Apr 10, 2014 09:44 PM

                                                                                                                                    Halcyon1 do you play Wow? Lol. No, never had that taste. I've always thought it was quite buttery and lucious.

                                                                                                                                  2. s
                                                                                                                                    Sn8ke RE: Angelina Apr 12, 2014 02:59 PM

                                                                                                                                    I say Swai not, it taste good & so does American bolagna.

                                                                                                                                    1. s
                                                                                                                                      SwayFish RE: Angelina Apr 12, 2014 09:31 PM

                                                                                                                                      To sum this all up. Swai or Basa is a very distant cousin of Catfish. Important to note that even though it is in the same order as Catfish it is not considered catfish and does NOT have to follow the same stringent testing guidelines as Catfish when being imported, therefor it skirts the expensive testing and can be imported cheaply and thus cheaper to our plates. This is an Asian fish and It is found in the Mekong basin as well as the Chao Phraya River. Both known to be heavily polluted.

                                                                                                                                      That being said. It is a light fish and I have found that it lacks much flavor and can even turn to mush when cooked/stored poorly. It is this lack of flavor that most people enjoy whom think most fish taste "fishy". It tends to get smothered in marinades and sauces to give it flavor which in my opinion is the opposite of how fish should be served. Personally I find this fish bakes well lightly seasoned and finished with a light broil to crisp the surface just a bit. Do not over cook you can get jerky or mush quite easily.

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: SwayFish
                                                                                                                                        Tom34 RE: SwayFish Apr 13, 2014 05:05 AM

                                                                                                                                        Bottom feeders raised in waters with some of the highest concentrations of heavy metals in a region of the world that could care less and a free pass on import testing based on a technicality. No thanks.

                                                                                                                                      2. s
                                                                                                                                        Sn8ke RE: Angelina Apr 22, 2014 10:34 AM

                                                                                                                                        Lobster & crab are also bottom fedders,the taste all right.

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Sn8ke
                                                                                                                                          Tom34 RE: Sn8ke Apr 23, 2014 06:05 AM

                                                                                                                                          Its not a flavor issue with bottom feeders, its a pollution concern with this particular species given the waters most of it comes from.

                                                                                                                                          Many industrial pollutants settle to the bottom & the concentration of same in river beds is often extremely high to the point of raising serious legal challenges to channel dredging.

                                                                                                                                        2. s
                                                                                                                                          Sn8ke RE: Angelina Apr 23, 2014 07:16 PM

                                                                                                                                          Ive herd channel catfish got their name because they used to be farmed in cement channels so they didnt live & feed down in the muck.Not sure about today.

                                                                                                                                          1. w
                                                                                                                                            walnutseed RE: Angelina Apr 28, 2014 03:15 AM

                                                                                                                                            Is it true that the Chinese use "Nightsoil" or human and animal feces to feed their farm raised fish?

                                                                                                                                            1. s
                                                                                                                                              Sn8ke RE: Angelina Apr 28, 2014 10:06 AM

                                                                                                                                              I bought a bag of 4 big swai fillets at the supermarket for $5. It tasted o.k. but you have to season the shit out of it,lots of hot sauce,& its mushy,might go good in some kindoff mixed seafood soup.It will be a long time behfore I might ever fell like cooking that crap again, much better choices to eat.

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: Sn8ke
                                                                                                                                                carolinadawg RE: Sn8ke Apr 28, 2014 11:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                I thought it "taste good":


                                                                                                                                              2. z
                                                                                                                                                zackly RE: Angelina Apr 28, 2014 11:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                I used to market Pangasius (Swai) to Sysco. It is the boneless skinless chicken breast of the fish world. White flesh & mild it is the cheapest fish du jour. Do I like it? Let me put it this way, I used to have access to all I want for free & I've never prepared it @ home. Samegoes for tilapia. Give me the wild stuff like cod & flounder.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: zackly
                                                                                                                                                  law_doc89 RE: zackly Apr 28, 2014 03:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                  But this thread demonstrates that there are those who will eat sewage if it is cheap enough.

                                                                                                                                                2. s
                                                                                                                                                  Sn8ke RE: Angelina Apr 28, 2014 01:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Ya it taste o.k. but 4 a few bucks more I can buy some fish that can taste really good.

                                                                                                                                                  1. s
                                                                                                                                                    Sn8ke RE: Angelina Apr 28, 2014 03:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                    Who cares if somebody want to eat sewage fish from Vietnam.Different strokes 4 different folks.Just think of all the crap we eat here,its makes us fat

                                                                                                                                                    1. v
                                                                                                                                                      vonheise RE: Angelina May 9, 2014 04:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                      I found this after dinner, not before. Just decided to Google it. It was mild, flaky and didn't taste like catfish. A few years ago I didn't know what talipia was, now I eat it. Now I likely will eat this fish until I find scientific reasons not to eat is. If I made all my decisions based on Internet gossip, I would starve to death!

                                                                                                                                                      1. b
                                                                                                                                                        Beachfinder RE: Angelina May 26, 2014 04:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                        Hey, just had some tonight I bought from Winn Dixie who sold it buy one, get one free... Seasoned it with fish spices from the Caribbean, grilled in a George Foreman grill and thought it was fantastic. I read the trash comments about being unhealthy and did the research for myself. They are safe and fine. Hey, just because you read something on the internet, that doesn't mean it's gospel... Do the research yourself. Great fish and I thought it was fine...

                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Beachfinder
                                                                                                                                                          Tom34 RE: Beachfinder May 27, 2014 08:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                          I am far from an alarmist but I think there are some real concerns with consuming large quantities of Swai.

                                                                                                                                                        2. JTPhilly RE: Angelina May 27, 2014 08:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                          wow I better rethink my assessment of Swai as a nasty mushy yukfish as so many people sign up for CH just to make one post on how wonderfully un-fishy Swai is, give a preparation method, and how they don't care that it is farmed in polluted unregulated rivers -- because somehow that information is invalid because its from the internet. Certainly wining me over... mmmm Swai - the unfishy fish

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JTPhilly
                                                                                                                                                            law_doc89 RE: JTPhilly May 28, 2014 07:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                            Yeah, that should sum it up - eat something because it doesn't taste like what it is. Steak that tastes just like swai, or chicken?

                                                                                                                                                            I think some people are so pathologically cheap, they will eat saw dust if they can save money. Maybe enogh swai cause brain damage?

                                                                                                                                                          2. a
                                                                                                                                                            awynhaus RE: Angelina Jul 3, 2014 09:34 AM


                                                                                                                                                            Swai isn't specifically mentioned here but they do talk about issues with Asian fish farming as well as Atlantic fish. :(

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: awynhaus
                                                                                                                                                              law_doc89 RE: awynhaus Jul 6, 2014 07:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                              Yeah, it is, as the number one fish to avoid.

                                                                                                                                                            2. u
                                                                                                                                                              Uptown Dave RE: Angelina Jul 3, 2014 06:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                              We've really been enjoying the taste and texture of the Swai used in Trader Joe's "White Fish Vera Cruz". We serve it over rice, with a side of broccoli. Here is a link to one person's review: bit.ly/1jOXLY9

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