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Old 07-25-2012, 10:01 AM   #41
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Ha! I just drove through there today, headed for the fire station om Pine Island. Are they ever going to get the bridge finished?
It's taking forever, isn't it? I don't mind, though. The slower traffic means I can poke along and rubberneck at the local color as I drive through.
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:23 AM   #42
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Just a few notes about fish safety: Tilapia is cheap because 95% of it is imported from Cihina, where environmental controls are questionable. I haven't eaten tilapia in years. Flounder and salmon cost just a bit more and are healthier. Also, if you're concerned about mercury at all, avoid large predator fish like swordfish, grouper and mackerel. Since they eat smaller fish, the mercury load in their body is larger and thus more likely to cause problems. Here's more info: The Super Green List from Seafood Watch

Seafood Watch also has downloadable guides for buying safe, sustainable seafood and a mobile app for looking them up when you're in the store.


I was just going to post about Talapia. The conditions it's farmed in in China and other asian countries can be quite filthy, polluted and dreadful.

I would recommend NOT eating Tilapia unless you are certain it was raised in the US. Which is hard to come by.
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:08 AM   #43
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There is an Alaskan Polach, that is pretty in expensive. Problem with tilapia, sometimes you get a piece and it smells like a swamp.
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:47 AM   #44
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Problem with tilapia, sometimes you get a piece and it smells like a swamp.
If your tilapia smells like swamp then you're buying it at the wrong place. Any fish that smells strongly has been around too long. AFAIK any reputable fish market will let you smell the fish before you buy it.

One thing I never do is buy fish in packages unless it is IQF (flash frozen).
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:39 PM   #45
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Out of curiosity, I purchased a package of Swai filets. A cheap fish by any standards. I would not recommend it for anything, even cat food. I have tried many ways of preparing, none came out even average. Any suggestions? I still have one piece left.
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:48 PM   #46
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Out of curiosity, I purchased a package of Swai filets. A cheap fish by any standards. I would not recommend it for anything, even cat food. I have tried many ways of preparing, none came out even average. Any suggestions? I still have one piece left.
I've never bought it--but my understanding is it is a type of catfish. Any recipe that works for catfish should work for this...I would think. I stay away from fish from Asia--I think most of the swai I see in the store comes from Thailand.
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:50 PM   #47
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What's the problem with your swai? Taste? Texture?

I think practically any fish that isn't spoiled could be battered and deep fried and taste good. Of course at that point you're just tasting the fried batter and whatever sauce it's dipped in.

As I said earlier I like using the Meuniere method on fish fillets, although if the fish doesn't have a naturally good taste I might smother it in some kind of heavier sauce.

I've found various kinds of bottled salsas, relishes and chutneys that add a nice variation to plain pan fried fish. For example, Trader Joe's Corn & Chili Salsa (no tomatoes), TJ's Pineapple Salsa (also no tomatoes), TJ's Mango Ginger Chutney, Patak's Sweet Mango Chutney...
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:59 PM   #48
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I got some last year, and cooked it in the microwave with vented plastic wrap. It's a Vietnamese catfish, and as I recall, it wasn't bad.
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Old 07-25-2012, 06:31 PM   #49
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And if you can actually get BIG filets, it holds up well to most cooking techniques, isn't as "muddy" tasting as catfish, and has been a food staple for eons in the Mekong delta. I would go for Swai, over tilapia any day of the week.
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Old 07-25-2012, 06:34 PM   #50
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Look for fish on sale too- there was a manager special on a large frozen wild caught salmon filet for $5. Left half of it frozen, and my bf and I got two meals out of it. $5 is pretty good for 4 meals total... I also bought a big bag of raw shrimp for $5 recently. It was a full lb bag. Just skewered it, brushed it with a lemony marinade, and grilled it up. It's done when there is no gray left. The leftovers went into shrimp linguini Alfredo the next day. Yum!!!
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Old 07-25-2012, 06:44 PM   #51
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If your tilapia smells like swamp then you're buying it at the wrong place. Any fish that smells strongly has been around too long. AFAIK any reputable fish market will let you smell the fish before you buy it.

One thing I never do is buy fish in packages unless it is IQF (flash frozen).
I usually buy in Sam's, frozen, actually I should have said tastes, not smells.
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Old 07-25-2012, 06:51 PM   #52
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I'll try one of the suggestions posted here on my last piece of swai. I'm a decent cook, and prepare seafood often. I am certainly not a picky eater. I didn't like the taste or the texture. Tried it several ways

I may be just curious enough to try one more pack.
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Old 07-25-2012, 06:59 PM   #53
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I usually buy in Sam's, frozen, actually I should have said tastes, not smells.
Well Charlie if your fish tastes like swamp then all I can say is don't buy same fish from same source again.

I've cooked swai a few times (this is swai, right?) which AFIAK is AKA Vietnamese catfish. I haven't cooked swai in over a year. I recall they were mild tasting rather thick fillets, often a side fillet (half a fish) being about a reasonable serving size (6 oz.?), no smell and no significant flavor.

The thick fillets didn't do that well using Meuniere techniques because the butter tends to burn before the thick fillets are fully cooked. Perhaps it might be better to flour them and then pan fry in EVOO or your favorite cooking oil.

To me swai is a lot like store chicken (not free range chicken) in that you need to consider it as a tabula rasa (blank slate), that the fish will have little flavor unless you add your own. (This is actually a benefit, and one of the reasons why chicken is so popular.)

My advice to anybody who wants to cook swai is to look towards recipes that enhance the taste of plain fish by flavorful marinades or sauces.
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Old 07-25-2012, 07:35 PM   #54
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I used the microwave recipe on the frozen swai bag. Am thinking it might make some decent fish tacos, maybe cut up, dusted and fried with some spices.

I'll have to give it another shot too. As I recall, it was super cheap.
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Old 07-25-2012, 08:50 PM   #55
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I've never seen swai here in MN.
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Old 07-25-2012, 08:51 PM   #56
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Well Charlie if your fish tastes like swamp then all I can say is don't buy same fish from same source again.
...
I don't anymore.
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Old 07-25-2012, 09:02 PM   #57
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I've never seen swai here in MN.
I'll be pretty surprised if Walmart doesn't have it, and surprised if you don't have a Walmart.

I see IQF frozen swai (and talapia) in all my local supermarkets in L.A.
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Old 07-26-2012, 02:34 AM   #58
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And if you can actually get BIG filets, it holds up well to most cooking techniques, isn't as "muddy" tasting as catfish, and has been a food staple for eons in the Mekong delta. I would go for Swai, over tilapia any day of the week.
....and then there was the one that got away.....big fish(good film too)tatt!!
does anyone know if swai is what we call vietnamese river cobbler or basa over here? really cheap here,decent size(6 oz+)fillets,pleasant/mild taste & holds together well when cooking.it is also sold as smoked fillets which are really good in a fish pie
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Old 07-26-2012, 08:09 AM   #59
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I'll be pretty surprised if Walmart doesn't have it, and surprised if you don't have a Walmart.

I see IQF frozen swai (and talapia) in all my local supermarkets in L.A.
Just for a heck of it I will have to make a special trip and check it out. But chances are you should get ready to be surprised. Becaue I usually alwasy check fish departments for some inexpensive fish.
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Old 07-26-2012, 08:19 AM   #60
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CharlieD--it is probably in the frozen fish department at WalMart.
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