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Hake Fish from Namibia

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I've never seen Hake Fish for sale anywhere until today - frozen, of course, and I don't mind - at Costco, and Wild from Namibia.

I wanted to grab several sacks, but then I always look to see the origin of the fish and whether it is farmed or wild.

Looking at the pdf I linked, most of the fish is sold to Spain, and when I went to Eat Your Books, from the books that I own, hake is listed in mostly my Spanish books, a Rick Stein seafood book, and a French book. Just think, I could've made hake all COTM Spanish month!

However, I did not buy it using caution, thinking I'll ask Gio what her thoughts are on this fish from this country, and, of course, about fish from Africa. I have bought fish from other countries but never the continent of Africa, as far as I know.

I hope I don't get a spate of replies, i.e., what don't you like about Africa - etc. Please?

I'll finish up, briefly as possible, I've only eaten Hake once in my lifetime and that was in 1973 in one of those little islands off Amersterdam, either Monicadam or Vollendam. It was the best fish I'd ever eaten, when I asked what it was, it was Hake. I've not forgotten in 39 years.

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  1. wild hake is related to cod and haddock and as such, is badly overfished. it's on the monterey bay aquarium's list of fish to avoid.


    as for the integrity of the fish and whether or not it is truly wild, that is something else. most 3rd world countries are not as strict about food labels and origins as the u.s.

    1. Hake is, indeed, very popular in Spain. Less so in other European countries - but still quite common here.

      Wikipedia tells me there are several varieties of hake and I assume the one that might be landed in Namibia will be Cape Hake and not be the same as that fished in the Mediterranean. You may in luck there as Wiki indicates that Cape hake is the only one not considered to be overfished.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Harters

        I'd love for it to be sooooo. I'm concerned, too, about hygenic practices in other countries, as well. I know that it can happen in all countries; but perhaps it is a cultural thing/think/thang, reminding myself of one travel show host couldn't stop blaming herself for believing that the country that she was in was/is backward, when in fact, it was quite up-to-date.

        From some of my travels, I can't say that this is true of all countries, either. However, I've never been in Africa.

        Thanks, Harters.

        1. re: Rella

          My restaurant notes tell me one of us had hake when we were in South Africa last year - so presumably the same fish as that you're seeing from Namibia. Served with roast potatoes and a julienne of carrots, courgette and aubergine. It was OK, although the lemon butter sauce was poor.

          1. re: Harters

            Your memory is almost as good as mine!
            Thanks from a septogenarian.

          2. re: Rella

            This Environmental Defense Fund entry indicates that hake caught off Namibia is cape hake, which has been certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council: http://apps.edf.org/page.cfm?tagID=15873

            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              Yeah. 3x Hurray!
              I hope it is still there by the time I get up there again.

              My last disappointment was that the Kerrygold butter was gone when I got there again. http://www.igourmet.com/shoppe/Kerryg...

              Thanks so VERY much. So happy!

        2. Namibia is a country with one of the cleanest cities/places around! I wouldn't hesitate to eat something originating from that region, provided it has been properly transported and correctly stored afterwards. ( sniff test at time of purchase, or as in your case after thawing).

          1. I first ate Hake in Bilbao, Spain years ago and it was the best fish I ever had. I, too, was excited to see Costco carry a bag of skinless, boneless loins and purchased some. It was nothing like the Hake I had previously eaten and was so terribly fishy I could not eat more than one bite. What a dissapointment.

            1. Hi Relia,

              I hope you try the Hake from Costco and post your results. I saw it at Costco too, and went on line to find out more about it. That's how I ended up on Chow. I would love to know if Hake from Namibia is as good as the Hake you remember from 39 years ago.

              1. There is a huge environmental cost to dragging food around the world. Please consider buying more local/more seasonal.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Just Visiting

                  That's a good point. I do both. I live in the Central Valley of California. We have plenty of farmer's markets available, and I use them, preferably for fresh organic produce. But the only way I'll get fish in this area is to buy it from somewhere else, especially if I prefer wild caught.

                  1. re: myponderings

                    And there is a huge environmental cost to dragging products around the world. Eating local isn't enough.

                    And there's a huge environmental cost to many local farming practices, including diesel fuel and fertilizer usage. Buying from local farmers isn't enough.

                2. Costco only sells fish that is Marine Stewardship Council certified and they have been a signatory to the Global Partnership for the Oceans since 2009. See their "Seafood and Sustainability" report at http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.z... or you can Bing for "Costco sustainable seafood" to see a number of news stories on the same.

                  As for shipping food around the world, it's not nearly as bad as you might suppose. Cargo transport by ship is relatively energy efficient and techniques like pumpable ice cut the refrigeration cost significantly. One huge advantage of frozen fish is that it doesn't have to reach its destination as quickly as produce. Here's a link about techniques in use today: http://www.cargohandbook.com/index.ph...

                  I live near Seattle so I frequently encounter the "eat local" crowd. I usually ask them if they've ever eaten a banana, a mango or an avocado. Yes, local is good, but don't go slamming the global industry indiscriminately. There are good and bad practices everywhere.

                  And lastly, while Hake is an indiscriminate predator it manages to have only "moderate" mercury levels according to my MSC phone app.

                  1. I recently purchased Hake from Costco and my family and I enjoyed it in fish tacos, pan fried with a light coating of baking mix and cajun seasoning. The fillets stay together relatively well with only an end or two falling off. The fish was light and flaky with a mild flavor, not at all fishy. I too look for wild caught fish and with the value this one offer's, it's a keeper.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: lagolady6

                      A couple of miles from here is a hydroponic 'living lettuce' green house. They have large modern clean 'rearing pools' for rainbow trout.
                      The collect and turn the fish poop into fertilizer for the lettuce.
                      They sell the lettuce at the local farmers market. When the trout are big enough they are sent away to be processed and smoked or sold fresh at the market.
                      My point? Given the state of the earth's general declining health any fish that travels from Africa to be eaten by some one Duluth is part of the problem.

                      1. re: Puffin3

                        what are those farmed trout eating? soy?

                        is that person in duluth only ever supposed to eat pike?

                        never eat a banana or use olive oil?

                        living in new england i am spoiled with day-boat fish, but, damn, i splurged on black cod today and always have shrimp in the freezer. yes, i mostly buy local and want to support my local farmers and fishermen. that being said, i do not subsist on turnips all winter long and <<gasp>> my b/f puts a piece of lemon in his tea everyday.

                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                          I'm not suggesting you live on turnips all winter. There's lots of other root veg. LOL
                          I'm only suggesting that where we source our foods from ought to be considered. I just can't bring myself to buy grapes from Chile in February in Canada.
                          Picture our planet where there is basically a 'one-way' highway of foods leaving one part of the world and headed to another part. That's what we have now.
                          The people who are sending their local grown bananas to Toronto are not in turn buying products flown in from the Niagara Valley.
                          Ultimately that model is not sustainable. Hell, it's not even sustainable now.

                          1. re: Puffin3

                            i'll wager most on these boards do make informed decisions about where their foods come from.

                            i am old enough to remember when supermarkets didn't carry strawberries all year long, and i certainly don't bother with them for most months.

                            that one-way highway does simply go from 2nd- 3rd world countries mostly to north america and europe and will continue to do so until a fuel or water crisis collapses the whole damn thing. then i will be eating nothing but turnips for 6 months a year, lol.

                            1. re: Puffin3


                              Respectfully, I disagree. One of the wonders of the modern world is the expansion of foods available to us year around. Some foods imported from Mexico, Columbia, Peru or Argentina are better than others and, here in Florida, you soon learn which are the ones which travel well and which are not.

                              I am not willing to limit what I eat to local and seasonal foods. What is more miraculous than being able to eat strawberries in the winter?

                              Everything has costs. The fuel used and the pollution created by importing things from far away are offset by the net result--food availability year around, or at least, for extended periods of time.

                              1. re: gfr1111

                                "What is more miraculous than being able to eat strawberries in the winter?"

                                it would be miraculous if they tasted anything like the fresh local ones that will be in-season for me soon. the imports are just blobs of one-dimensional sweetness. i see zero benefit to them being sent anywhere, except possibly providing jobs for farm-hands who might otherwise be idle.

                        2. I tried the Costco hake and found it excellent. Will buy more of it.

                          I was curious about how Costco could sell decent-sized hunks of frozen hake when hake sold around the Mediterranean these days tends to be very small pieces, since hake is so overfished.

                          Did some googling and found out that hake from Southern Africa is an entirely different species that is abundant. Costco buys it from a South Africa fishing company that catches the hake off Namibia, just up the Atlantic Coast from South Africa.