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What is swai fish?

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

      1. 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.

        17 Replies
        1. re: Bacardi1

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

          1. re: PSZaas

            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

              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

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

          2. re: Bacardi1

            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

              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.

              http://www.chefs-resources.com/Is-Vie...

              http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2010/02...

              http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr...

              http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr...

              1. re: mrtunk

                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

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

                  2. re: mrtunk

                    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

                      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

                        YES, I AGREE. IT SEEMS AS THOUGH MANY PEOPLE THINK THEIR ONE IN THE SAME, BUT CLEARLY THEIRS AT LEAST 2 DIFFERENT SPECIES. I'VE SEEN EACH NAME ON BAGS OF BOTH AT THE GROCERY STORE. THANKS!

                        -TDR-

                      2. re: mrtunk

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

                        1. re: Violapie

                          You need to know how to prepare this fish to get the best results

                      3. re: Bacardi1

                        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

                        1. re: Mslola53

                          Swai is not Catfish, it's compared to catfish cause it has some similarities! It's actually one of the best tasting farm raised fish out there if prepared correctly.

                      4. 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.

                        14 Replies
                        1. re: luckyfatima

                          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

                            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.

                            http://www.fishbase.org/summary/Panga...

                            1. re: GH1618

                              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.

                              http://www.fishbase.org/ComNames/Comm...
                              http://www.fishbase.org/summary/Panga...
                              http://www.fishbase.org/summary/Ictal...

                              1. re: mrtunk

                                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

                            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

                              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

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

                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                  Sorry for the late reply. The real issue with swai is no fins, no scales so it's not kosher. It's in the same order as catfish. It would be a bottom-feeder if it could be.

                                2. re: Kate is always hungry

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

                                  1. re: Tom34

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

                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                      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

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

                                        1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                          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."

                                          http://rabbibitton.blogspot.com/2010/...

                                          nothing about bottom-feeding.

                                    2. re: Kate is always hungry

                                      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. 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

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

                                      1. re: mrtunk

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

                                        1. re: GH1618

                                          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

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

                                      2. 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

                                          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

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

                                            http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2010/02...

                                            "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

                                              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: redfish62

                                              I WAS WONDERING ABOUT THIS POINT. ISN'T IT TRUE CONDITION OF THE FISH YOU EAT IS REGULATED BY APPROVAL FROM FDA OR SOME SUCH ASSOCIATION

                                            3. 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. 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

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

                                                      http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/F...

                                                      Ictaluridae are North American catfish.

                                                      1. 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. 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

                                                            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

                                                              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

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

                                                          2. 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

                                                              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. 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. 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

                                                                  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. 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:

                                                                  http://www.mrcmekong.org/assets/Publi...

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

                                                                  http://vimeo.com/11817894

                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                  1. re: law_doc89

                                                                    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

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

                                                                      1. re: law_doc89

                                                                        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

                                                                          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

                                                                              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

                                                                                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

                                                                                  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

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

                                                                          1. re: law_doc89

                                                                            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

                                                                              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. 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. 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

                                                                                  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

                                                                                    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. 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. 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

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

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

                                                                                        1. 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

                                                                                            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.

                                                                                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6N2SX...

                                                                                            1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                              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. 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. What is swai fish?

                                                                                              Answer: the lowest quality farmed fish on the plant

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: JudiAU

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

                                                                                              2. 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

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

                                                                                                2. 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

                                                                                                    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

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

                                                                                                      1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                        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. 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. 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. GOOD MORNING, ANGELINA!
                                                                                                          I TRIED SWAI OVA A YEAR AGO, AND I INTRODUCED IT TO MY FAMILY...WE LOVE IT AND ITS NOW OUR FAVORITE FISH. BUT BEFORE THAT TALAPIA WAS OUR FAVORITE FISH OF CHOICE. WE LIKE IT BECAUSE IT LITE, OF MEDIUM THICKNESS, AND ITS MILD IN FLAVOR. IT ALSO COSTS THE SAME AS THE TALAPIA BUT ITS SLICES ARE DOUBLE THE SIZE OF THE TALAPIA PIECES. WE LIKE THAT, TOO! SO, ALL I CAN SAY IS BUY IT AND ENJOY!!!

                                                                                                          -TDR-

                                                                                                          1. 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

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

                                                                                                              1. re: steevsf

                                                                                                                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

                                                                                                                  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

                                                                                                                    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

                                                                                                                      Does it scream if you cook it live?

                                                                                                                  2. 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

                                                                                                                      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.

                                                                                                                      -TDR-

                                                                                                                      1. re: GH1618

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

                                                                                                                        1. re: Tom34

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

                                                                                                                    2. 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

                                                                                                                        I NOW BUY THE SWAI INSTEAD OF TILAPIA.

                                                                                                                        -TDR-

                                                                                                                      2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZvs_m...

                                                                                                                        www.swai.com

                                                                                                                        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

                                                                                                                          "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. 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. 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

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

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

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

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

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: halcyon1

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

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

                                                                                                                                      1. 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

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

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Sn8ke

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

                                                                                                                                              1. 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. 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

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

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

                                                                                                                                                    1. 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. 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. 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

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

                                                                                                                                                          2. 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

                                                                                                                                                              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. http://www.prevention.com/food/health...

                                                                                                                                                              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

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

                                                                                                                                                              2. 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

                                                                                                                                                                1. This is a great fish, light and flaky. Similar to cod! Not fishy, you'll love it!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Lacking in taste and texture. I guess it's lack of taste is enjoyed by people who don't like fish. I'll pass.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. After reading through all of the posts regarding Swai/Basa and other farmed fish, I felt it was my moral duty to provide you with some actual facts regarding the danger of eating Basa Fish. One month ago, my 65 year old brother ate a Basa fish fillet purchased from a high end food boutique in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was a frozen product, imported from Vietnam. He fried the fillet in butter and was very pleased with the taste - it was his first time trying any imported fish. Within 4 hours, he was experiencing food poisoning like symptoms and within 6 hours his entire body (including eyes, palms, soles of his feet) had turned a brilliant red - darker than a 3rd degree sunburn. He was rushed to a local hospital after which performing many tests to determine what was happening they discovered that his red blood cells were bursting apart and potassium was flooding through his entire body. He was close to death. He was immediately transported to another hospital where they tried to stop this mysterious outbreak that was invading his entire body. Over the course of a week, he suffered a minor heart attack and several days later a mini-stroke which thankfully he survived though doctors were in disbelief that he actually came through it. To make a very long story short, specialists were unable to figure out the root cause and began a thorough investigation of his every move, environment and food eaten prior to the attack. The only unusual thing that he had eaten was the fillet of Basa Fish and thankfully he still had two portions in his freezer that he had not eaten. These were sent out to 3 independent government labs (as well as his blood work) for testing. Each chemical, anti-biotic and toxin found in the fish samples were tested against those found in his blood work and after intense tests were performed, it was conclusively proven that more than one toxin found in the fish sample was the root cause of the attack. The written reports were then sent to both the provincial and federal level of the agencies for food safety in Canada who will determine what the next step will be. I am unable to publically comment on the exact toxins/antibiotics found in the testing at this time as investigations of original source, importer, etc. are currently being conducted however this will eventually get massive media coverage at least within Canada but until that time, I just wanted to let people know what horrors my brother experienced, as well as the rest of our family, how close he came to dying because of a little piece of innocent looking white fish, that our respective countries are allowing the import of potentially hazardous food without proper inspection standards (it's all about the money) and to warn people to be careful what you eat. You may have eaten Basa/Swai a hundred times and never got sick but do you really want to take that chance for yourself or your family. Our new strict rule of thumb in regards to fish or any type of seafood moving forward is, unless I actually see it pulled out of a wild environment in my own country, I will not touch it. Unless I can prove the source - whether it be purchased in a store or at a restaurant, I will not touch it. And this goes for any type of fish farmed within North America as well. Our standards for raising farmed fish and seafood on this continent are not much better than the countries we import from! Just be careful and be aware!!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. Bought it ONCE... white fillets, and VERY cheap compared to anything else in supermarket. I like mild white fish... talapia and catfish work for me on occasion. None of these three kinds of fish have very much flavor at all IMO, but when seriously seasoned... not too bad. The swai had LESS than zero flavor to me?? And it was kinda "soft" and a bit "wet" for my liking when breaded/fried.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. I just made swai tempura with Thai curry rice and Asian vegetables tonite. Little Red Boat fish sauce to dip the fish in, a little sweet & sour sauce and a little hot mustard. Everyone was thrilled. Swai is a sweet mild fish and much preferred over tilapia.I like fried chicken and apple pie and flag waving...but when I want to eat Asian it's hard to beat swai.