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I don't like Tilapia. Do you?

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Adapted from Thy Holy Movie Pulp Fiction.

Tilapia are filthy animals. I don't eat filthy animals.

But bacon tastes good, pork chops taste good...

Hey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie,
But I'd never know 'cause I wouldn't eat the filthy motherfuckers.
Tilapia sleep and root in shit, that's a filthy animal.
I don't eat nothin' that ain't got sense enough to disregard its own feces.

How about a dog? A dog eats its own feces

I don't eat dog either

Yeah, but do you consider a dog to be a filthy animal?

I wouldn't go so far as to call a dog filthy, but it's definately dirty.
But, dogs got personality, personality goes a long way.

So by that rationale, if a Tilapia had a better personality, he would cease to be a filty animal. Is that true?

We' have to be talkin' 'bout one charmin' motherfuckin' Tilapia.
I mean he'd have to be ten times more charmin' than that Nemo on Finding Nemo, you know what I'm sayin'?

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      1. Yeah, tastes pretty Tilapidated to me.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Tripeler

          You should mosey on over to the "jarred" thread, where some folks throw a hissy fit over making up words related to food :)

          It's enough to make one tilapiaphobic.

        2. I don't hate Tilapia, but I rather have something else.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Ditto. I will eat it if I have to and I have bought it once in a while because my fiancé likes it.

          2. Hate those toilet dwellers.

            1. I don't like tilapia much either - not my favorite fish. But I also hope none of you are not eating RATS - the most perfect and exalted animal in all of creation - and not filthy in any way.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ratgirlagogo

                Can't stand the stuff. Im visiting NY from SoCal where tilapia is not common. Here in NY it seems to be everywhere! I ade my boyfriend take me all the way to Long Island to fibd some god grilled fish that was NOT tilapia. Shudder.

              2. if servio is cooking mojara frita, i'll be happily eating tilipia.
                any other preparation, not really

                1. I don't much care fo tilapia. Mercifully, I rarely see it offered and, even rarer, feel obliged to eat it - last time was, I think, about 3 year back as a course on a "no choice" tasting menu.

                    1. re: Just Visiting

                      Only U.S. Farm Raised Catfish, and then only on occasion, not my #1 choice of fish. Yellow Edge Grouper, SW Florida Gulf fresh caught preferably by me or one of my friends is my #1.

                      1. re: ospreycove

                        Show off! ;)
                        We are lucky to be in a place that has such an abundance of fresh fish if you are willing to look for it.

                        No the Publix seafood counter is not the place to look

                      2. re: Just Visiting

                        luv catfish grew up on fresh caught boston fsh but when mom cd get catfish (not farm raised I am 70yr} we partied on it. I have had it fresh out of rivers down south som were swee as cd be som kind of muddy bbut still great got to be careful of farm raised fish and know how its farmed and where it comes from some are loaded with chemicals an drugs luv all fish xcept tilapia no taste unless u know what ur doing and horrible if over cooked it sure is cheap tho

                      3. I always thought the appeal of tilapia was:
                        1. It's cheap.
                        2. It's bland.
                        Because of this, it appeals to many non-fish lovers who would not go near any kind of gamey fish like salmon or tuna. To me it tastes like whatever sauce or seasoning it was cook with. Alone, it's just bland. As a vehicle to highlight some seasoned bread crumbs, it does quite well although personally that's not what I'm looking for when I purchase fish. Combined with the vast population out there that knows not what they eat, you end up with a pretty successful product.
                        As far as what tilapia eat, well, there are a lot of critters that we eat that eat some crappy stuff, like pigs. In fact, no self respecting cannibal would go near me if they got one glance at my diet.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: bobbert

                          Yea, I never understood the desire to want to eat fish that doesn't taste like fish.

                          1. re: bobbert

                            I believe that flaky meat is also its selling point.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              Yep. I don't love tilapia but I don't get the hate for it either. It's the boneless, skinless chicken breast of fish. Once you know its limitations (which are considerable) and its possibilities it's a good arrow to have in the fish quiver. It makes a perfectly good baja-style fish taco (particularly fried ones), for example, and is even better with fish tacos using a spicier salsa. It's not a fish you'd lovingly descale but leave the skin on and roast with lemon slices and rosemary. So what? In particular, if you eat a lot of fish it's good to have some tilapia from time to time because in exchange for low omega-3s you also get lower mercury levels.

                              1. re: nokitchen


                                I could see it, when done with some zest, being a good fish for tacos. We normally use farm-raised catfish, but then we are both from the Deep South. I know what my next Fish Tacos will contain, and will try to get that "zest" into the Talapia.

                                Thank you,


                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                  My pleasure. I hope you enjoy it. I love a proper catfish, but it's pretty difficult to get one up here in NYC, at least at a price point that doesn't make you cry. So I'm glad to have decent tilapia for spicier, saucier applications.

                          2. No. I tend to like "fishy" fish...mackerel, salmon, swordfish.

                            4 Replies
                              1. re: pinehurst

                                Me too, I don't get the point of eating fish or really anything with out much flavor.

                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                  While I'm not a fan of tilapia, one could say that hake, haddock, cod, all great fishes don't taste "fishy" either. I'm not a fan of strong tasting fish, especially tuna in a can. Tuna steak is one of the greatest things on earth, but cook it through, and stick it in a can, and it's catfood.

                                  1. re: kimfair1

                                    I agree with you. I like a milder fish, so Talapia does make my "list," albeit near the bottom.

                                    The "fishy" aspect is one reason that I do not like most "farm-raised" Salmon, and prefer Alaskan Wild, or Scottish, over most of the rest.

                                    About the only time that I can appreciate the more "fishy" fish, is say a Sheepshead in a great Gumbo. Otherwise, I want a clean, sweet flavor, with no "fishiness" to it. The possible exceptions would be Mullet, and Catfish, which each have a certain level of "earthiness" in the flavor, but that pairs well with many Pinot Noirs.


                              2. No, always tastes muddy to me, and has a mushy texture.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: carolinadawg

                                  I thought I was the only one that detected a muddy flavour! I've tried explaining this to friends and family, but they don't detect any dirt-like/muddy flavour. I love a simple white fish every once in a while, but tilapia, can't even take a tiny bite.

                                  1. re: chefjeannine

                                    Tilapia tastes like "poo" for a reason. (Video included here).
                                    See for yourself --> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGoR4d...

                                    1. re: chefjeannine

                                      Catfish and Mullet do have a "muddiness," or "earthiness," but I have never detected that in Talapia - but the prep might well mask that?


                                  2. It all depends on how the talapia were raised, the conditions of the farm, and then (most importantly), the prep. I have had great talapia, but also some that were less than Mrs. Paul's Fishsticks (even the new ones). It just depends.


                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                      Are there any variables you suggest to evaluate? Place of origin, etc?

                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                        According to the much-referenced Monterey Aquarium Seafood Watch guide, US-sourced tilapia farmed in closed systems are your best choice.

                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                          I am not familiar enough with the various points of origin, but have enjoyed several variations:

                                          Blackened (just like Redfish)
                                          Courtbullion (again, popular in S. Louisiana with Redfish, and some other fish in the "Drum family")
                                          Thai seasoning - very good
                                          Yellow Curry - again, very good
                                          Deep Fried w/ Cajun/NOLA spices - very good

                                          I had Talapia at Campton Place, or Farallon, both in San Francisco, but cannot recall which, that was also very good. It was done in an Almondine Style, and reminded me a bit of Speckled Trout.

                                          I would guess that I have had Talapia maybe a dozen times, and 10 +/- have been good. The others? Well, not so much.


                                      2. 10 years ago, I remember seeing it at LA markets for $1.19 a pound.

                                        I don't eat it because I simply can't wrap my head around. not just the ridiculous price increase, but restaurants trying to push it like it's a delicacy.

                                        In my mind, it's still a buck a pound fish that tastes like a buck a pound fish.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Violatp

                                          First time that I encountered talapia was at Disney World, in their Epcot The Ocean (think that is the name of that area). They had a full talapia farm there, as part of the attraction, but then served it in their restaurant. It was not bad.

                                          Later, someone got several New Orleans chefs to do their recipes for the fish, and all were very good.

                                          Lately, I have been seeing more of it offered, and some has been very good, but most has been rather blah.

                                          Now, I am a big fan of catfish, both farmed and wild, so perhaps it's my Southern Heritage that carries talapia, in some cases.

                                          I can remember when redfish were not considered all that great, but in South Louisiana, there were many restaurants, that did wonderful dishes. We would catch them, filet them, and then cut those into large chips, to be deep fried - great too. Then, Chef Paul Prudhomme hit on Blackened Redfish, and the world changed. Now, there is a Redfish Season, for gosh sakes!

                                          Maybe it depends on where one grew up, and the fish that they grew up on?


                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                            Believe it or not, the farm-raised Tilapia at Disney World are not at the Living Seas Pavilion but at The Land (next one over), where they are raised in clear Lexan tanks, in a room next to where they also conventionally and hydroponically grow many of the vegetables used in the restaurant for that Pavilion.

                                            Fascinating and they actually prepare the stuff very nicely too.

                                            It's been a few years since we were there but at least this used to be the case.

                                          1. Not a fan either. The filets are way too thin, when you cook a portion of it, it shrinks down to practically nothing. Also it has no flavor.

                                            1. It is just another mildly flavored white fish that is a vehicle for whatever sauce or flavoring it is prepared in.

                                              I eat it on a regular basis.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: jpc8015

                                                Good description.

                                                I see it as a protein, where the prep is the key factor (and probably the farming, as others have mentioned).

                                                I find it light, flaky, and seldom "fishy." The better versions would probably have worked with many other fish, but because of the ability to raise a bazillion Talapia in tanks/farms, seems to be a better technique, than some of the over-fished species.


                                              2. i generally dislike tilapia here in the usa. when i lived in thailand, i'd sometimes end up eating it because friends served it, but it was usually something they'd caught themselves that day and cooked (commonly in curry, or spicy seafood "salads"). in those cases i didn't mind it too much, though as a rule i don't care for tilapia... and FORGET it when it comes to swai!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: chartreauxx

                                                  The Thai, and Curry preps, have been some of my favorites.


                                                2. I like tilapia - but I guess it's because of the way the fish is prepared here in Singapore/Malaysia (various Chinese regional styles, Thai-style, Indonesian-style, Malay-style, etc) is different from the way it'll be served in the US.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: klyeoh

                                                    Wow, finally a person strong enough to admit he/she likes tilapia. I don't like tilapia, but I don't hate it neither. I know many people prefer tilapia. It isn't a popular fish simply because it is cheap.

                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                      Tilapia is a common enough fish being served on a daily basis in South-east Asia, though I'd not seen it offered in, say, Italian, French or other Western/European eateries here.

                                                      In Indonesian preparations, it's usually deep-fried whole till crisped on the outside, whilst still moist on the inside, then served with "sambal terasi", very spicy chili-sweet soysauce-fishsauce dip.

                                                      In Malay preparations, the fish is marinated or covered with spices, onions and other aromatics, wrapped in banana leaves and barbecued over open flames.

                                                      In Chinese preparations, the most common version I see in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore is steamed, smothered with lots of minced ginger and drizzled with light soysauce. A handful of fresh coriander leaves and finely-chopped scallions will be scattered on top prior to serving.

                                                      The Indians here sometimes cook tilapia whole in a tandoor oven, marinated in yoghurt and spices, then served with a mint-coriander-yoghurt dip.

                                                      In Portuguese-Malaccan cooking in Malaysia, the tilapia is fried, then covered in an ultra-spicy sauce typical of Eurasian cooking here.

                                                      Bill Hunt has mentioned the Thai preparations. I'd say 'Pla Sam Rod', deep-fried then covered with a spicy-sweet-sour sauce (chillis/fish sauce/molasses/lime juice) is the most popular.

                                                    2. re: klyeoh

                                                      I'll jump in klyeoh's camp on this one. Here in the US, I'll choose another fish if it's on offer, but I like tilapia. However, I'll only use it in Asian preparations for home cooking. Some people talk about a muddy type flavor, but when dressed with strong and clear southeast Asian flavors, I've never noticed it.
                                                      It's generally quite firm, and it's cheap, so when making a curry type dish, you can feel free to cut away the sections that look like they could be a bit icky.
                                                      And it's the best for any kind of fish cakes where you need a ton of fish to turn out a decent portion of cakes.

                                                    3. I've had tilapia that was really pretty good, and some that was muddy and awful. Same with catfish, only I've never had farmed catfish that wasn't delicious. I'm sure the difference is where it's farmed, how well the pond was kept, et cetera.

                                                      1. Almost all of the frozen tilapia sold in the US if from Asia.

                                                        Farmed in questionable conditions .

                                                        That and the fact that it doesn't taste good to me ( the wonder bread of fish) is enough to keep me away from it.

                                                        1. I like the colour and texture but to me it has a mildewy mold taste that I can't get past.

                                                            1. No, I consider a trash fish!, yuk!

                                                              1. I avoid tilapia, swai, catfish and farmed salmon & shrimp not for health reason but because they don't taste very good.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. I didn't hate it when I tried it.....then read all about it and will never, never eat it again.

                                                                  1. My wife loves it for the same reasons many people hate it: it has virtually no flavor or texture. When I make it at home I make sure we have a really good sauce to put with it.

                                                                    Its diet bothers me not a whit. The best and most delicious things in life have horrible filthy diets and living conditions. I'm not giving up shrimp, lobster or pig.

                                                                    1. Nothing wrong with tilapia...it's a very pedestrian fish, but no reason to *dislike* it..

                                                                      1. 20 years ago you could get decent tilapia in S.F. Bay Area stores. It cost 2.99 a pound and did not have a dirty taste. It became popular and over-farmed. It is a disgusting fish now with a much higher price tag. I would suggest avoiding it. I am a seafood snob and won't eat a tiger shrimp either. They have also that over-farmed dirt taste. Farmed fish may be sustainable, but gross. And for those who are green but concerned about GMOs and gluten you should think about what nasty water your sustainable fish are living in.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: nikitachicita

                                                                          I saw tilapia at the local snooty-high-end grocery for $14.99/lb.- I maintained, but just barely. To their credit, they generally list where the seafood came from and whether it's farmed or not. Not the $15/lb tilapia, though!

                                                                        2. Trash fish----also Salmon are trash fish! Wouldn't even feed it to a cat, and I don't like cats!

                                                                          Mullet, bluefish, are so much better!

                                                                          11 Replies
                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                              I have only ever used Mullet as bait :-)

                                                                              1. re: Tom34

                                                                                Bait for what kind of women, those who live in trailer parks?

                                                                                1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                  Oh, I have a more effective bait for them ....Bigger too :-)

                                                                                  Seriously though, we used to net Mullet in the inlets for Weaks & Blues. Never thought about eating it.

                                                                                  1. re: Tom34

                                                                                    it's not all that great, actually.

                                                                                    Smoked it can be pretty good, but fresh it's not something I'd cross the street for.

                                                                                    1. re: Tom34

                                                                                      It's excellent smoked. An old Florida favorite.

                                                                                      1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                        I posted a minute after you did.

                                                                                        1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                          I like smoked Whiting but Whiting is pretty mild to begin with. On the other end of the spectrum, I am not a fan of smoked Mackerel. Which camp would Mullet fall into?

                                                                                          1. re: Tom34

                                                                                            doesn't taste anything at all like mackerel, but definitely that end of the spectrum.

                                                                                            Oily flesh.

                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                              Yeah, based on what I have seen cutting them for bait I had a feeling they would be on the oily side. I think I'll stick with the smoked Whiting :-)

                                                                                  2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                    It's served smoked in Florida but I've never been there so haven't had it. As Tom 34 says it's used as bait, here in Texas dead and cut up for sharks and redfish, or live small finger mullet for reds flounder. I'm a hard core artificial lure user so I don't mess with it.

                                                                                2. Not fond of Typical Tilapia. I have had Peruvian Blue Tilapia from a whole sale seafood purveyor and it was very good and supposedly raised in a much cleaner manner. It was also $6.99 lb @ 20 lb case quantity.

                                                                                  1. No, it's disgusting. A friend called me one day and asked "how do you cook tilapia?" I answered, "I don't".

                                                                                    1. I've had good tilapia- nice and firm and mild and sweet. And I've had tilapia that was muddy and mushy and gross like wild warmwater freshwater catfish. It's almost impossible to know what the pond your tilapia came from was like, so I don't buy it. On the other hand, I've personally never had farmed catfish that wasn't really tasty.
                                                                                      I do prefer more flavor in fish, so I don't buy catfish often, except in restaurants.

                                                                                      1. I do not eat ANY farmed fish, most especially fresh water fish. I'm allergic to antibiotics, even when they're second hand from a farmed fish. NO WAY! But I do greatly regret not being able to buy wild caught cat fish from clean pristine lakes and streams, but I don't think there are any of those left in the U.S. Pity! Tilapia I can Live without. Besides, in my experience they turn mushy very easily and I prefer firmer fish.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                          This exactly. Plus, I agree that tilapia is mushy and so off-putting. Yuck.

                                                                                          We finally have a good fishmonger nearby, and I never knew from halibut before. LOVE it.

                                                                                          1. re: breadchick

                                                                                            I feel the same way about the standard $2.99 lb Asian farm raised but the Peruvian Blue Tilapia that I had was thick, firm and sweet. Big seller in the Philadelphia restaurant scene and purveyors are getting over $6 lb for it but I have not seen it retail and have not cooked it myself.

                                                                                        2. Tofu of the sea. Or tofu with fins. A blank palette. A fish for people who don't really like fish.

                                                                                          1. Tilapia is better than swai, IMHO, but that's not saying much! I have seen some pristine looking tilapia farms in TX however.