Swai Fish: Its Taste and Origins

swai_fishSwai fish is a form of catfish and is commonly referred to as shark catfish. Thailand uses a lot of swai fish but it is also transported to places such as the United States and Europe. It is an extremely healthy choice and is used by many who are looking to lose weight. There are thousands of recipes either created to use this type of fish or adapted to incorporate it.

Due to commercial fish farming, it has become a recommended alternative to many once popular fishes. Fishes such as haddock, cod and mackerel are starting to die out due to the demand being higher than the supply. Swai fish was once relatively unheard of so the demand has been much lower than the supply and its taste and texture is very similar to the once favourites.

The Taste of Swai Fish

This type of fish has a sweeter taste, which helps for fish pies and pasta dishes, along with being cooked on its own. It is also moist so needs very little oil when cooking, helping to promote healthy eating. The taste is the main reason for its popularity in the Asian countries since it can be used in so many of their different dishes.swai fish

The mild taste helps to be able to use different types of sauces and herbs during cooking. This helps to create a number of different recipes, which will suit different people. There is bound to be something that you will enjoy to be able to reap the benefits of swai fish.

The labelling of Swai Fish

In the United States, all swai fish much be labelled as ‘swai’. It is against the law to label it as anything else, including shark catfish. Anywhere else, it can be labelled as shark catfish. Some places will label swai fish as Basa or Panga fish; however, this is incorrect as these are different types of fish. Basa is commonly used in Vietnam and is not shipped to the United States as much as swai.

Is Swai Fish Safe to Eat?

swai fish recipeWhen looking at something different, the common question is whether it is safe to eat. The simple answer is yes. In fact, is a healthy choice and is actually healthier than many other meats and fishes available. It is high in protein and low in fat. It is also an oily fish, which means that it is very high in Omega-3. This is excellent as it helps to promote a healthy brain.

However, it is important to research the different vendors of swai fish to ensure quality. Unfortunately, there are some vendors that supply low quality types, which will not provide the nutrients that good quality swai fish does. Good quality fish will come from the optimum water conditions.

Swai fish is also low in mercury levels. This is good news for those who are pregnant. It is safe to eat while pregnant, unlike other healthy fishes like monkfish, tuna and swordfish. The omega-3 oils and high protein content are also good for mother and baby. However, it is important to eat this fish as part of a well-balanced diet to gain the most from a healthy eating plan. It is recommended for pregnant women to only have 1-2 servings of fish per week. It is also important to ensure that the fish is fully cooked before eating to avoid food poisoning, which could have a detrimental effect on the baby.

How to Cook Swai Fish

swai fishSwai fish can be cooked in various ways. The most popular option is to grill or bake it in the oven; however, it can also be fried, battered and boiled. Whichever way you choose to cook the fish, you will need to ensure that it is fully cooked. Once it is cooked, it will turn white instead of the beige colour that it starts off with. It should also become flaky in texture, making it easy to pull away from the bones and eat.

Swai fish can be used with different herbs, spices and flavourings. Some excellent examples include lemon, pepper, dill and basil. This type of fish is something that you could experiment with and it will also depend on the side dishes or sauces that you choose to use with it.

Eating on a Budget

Swai fish has become an extremely popular option for those on a budget because it is so affordable. It is cheaper than cod, haddock and many other earlier popular fish options. Some will say that it is also tastier and there are a lot of options to do with it. Swai fish can be used in basa fish recipes since the two types are very similar in taste and style once cooked; hence why they are often referred to as the same fish, even though that is incorrect.

There is no need to buy expensive ingredients to use with swai. Simple chips and seasonable vegetables will work well. Swai fish also goes well with a range of white sauces, such as cheese and parsley, and in pasta dishes, with potatoes or on its own as a starter. It is possible to stick to a small, family-friendly budget and have a meal fit for a king.

Swai fish is becoming extremely popular. It is low in price and tasty for the whole family. Can also be cooked in a variety of ways to be as healthy or unhealthy as you want it to be.

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21 Responses to “Swai Fish: Its Taste and Origins”

  1. Gare says:

    This fish is cheap for a good reason. It and Basa come from some of the most polluted rivers in South East Asia. The FDA has already fined some for substituting this for other fish. Good for them.

  2. Angela says:

    Love swai!! Love to heat my butter, season the fish with Cajun Seasoning, and cook 3min on each side of a small fillet. Goes great with a little tartar sauce as well!!

  3. Dawna says:

    We had this tonight for the first time. Wow. Great taste and easily fixed in brown butter and lemon. The only question I hav e is if this is like catfish, actually a type of it. Why don’t we raise it in the. US?

    • admin says:

      This fish need some special condition…..perhaps…

      • Linda says:

        If you google it, there are several articles explaining “Swai”. Basically, it IS a type of catfish. A “shark catfish”, to be specific. Our US Fisheries Reps had previously lobbied our Congress to ONLY allow catfish farmed in the US, to be CALLED “catfish”….in order to eliminate their over-seas competition. So, a law was passed to that effect.
        Recently, tho’…the “shark catfish” has become popular, because of it’s mild, sweet taste. It’s supposedly low in Mercury & high in Omega fish oils, too.
        So “Swai” is being sold just as “Swai” (due to legal restrictions), with the hope that consumers will do their homework, and figure out what it actually is. A variety of catfish, that’s simply called by another name.
        I just bought some today, and it was $3.99/lb…as opposed to the “US Farm-Raised Catfish” in the seafood case, which was $8.99/lb. Quite a price difference.
        One article I found, said that Swai typically comes from the Mekong Delta or the Mississippi Delta. The one article also went on to say that Viet Nam fisheries are not, by and large…the cesspools they’re claimed to be. The contention is that it’s merely propaganda to keep US consumers from buying imported fish. This is what I read while doing online research, by the way…so please do your own research for verification/confirmation. ; )

  4. Lyricalone says:

    I drizzle it with garlic infused olive oil. Then I dust it with Cajun seasonings. Then I bake it.

    I am trying to lose weight – but I love good food.
    It is also very budget friendly.

  5. kathi says:

    Love it.. heat the butter til just hot enough to fry … lemon pepper and a tad bit of flour on side then place in pan and fry till edges are brown ..flip and cook either side for 5 minutes and ad lemon juice in last 5 minutes…yummm !!

  6. Gracious says:

    I cooked this fish for the first time 2 weeks ago and shared with a lady who is known to make the best fried fish in my circle. I was hesitant to share it because it was my first experience with Swai fish. Never even heard of the fish but it was discounted at the Stop n’ Shop supermarket along with tilapia fish so I took a chance with it. I must admit, it was really very good. My son, who is 23 loved it. I actually fried it using a light coating of McCormick Golden Dipt Fish Fry (Seafood Fry Mix) and then made a quick Jamaican style escovitch (escoveitch) sauce but not spicy because I do not believe in giving spicy food to people. You can always add the spice afterward. That lady I mentioned earlier, raved so much about the fish and asked when can I make her some. So today I will be doing a pack for her. By the way, I buy the Swai fillet by the Baltimore Crab Company and it is very affordable. I did some research on the fish history and I am okay with it. Will continue to purchase and spread it, especially in the Jamaican community.

  7. Amy says:

    I fried this swai fish which was in nugget form, I love it, after reading these various articles, I was going to say its taste is similar to catfish, which i loved the most of all fishes. I also have a great big old bag of more swai fish nuggets, very good. I will also try baking this fish when i get it in the fillet form.

  8. Mark says:

    My Wife and I had this Fish for Dinner last night for the first time and it is Wonderful, We love it. I grilled it. I wrapped it in aluminum foil with lemon juice, salt and a cheap season salt, that has garlic,paprika and the rest…ect. The best flavor!!! This Fish is now high on our scale. We will but this at the Grocery from now on!!!

  9. Andre Young says:

    This fish melts in your mouth..e

  10. dee says:

    Love, love, love this fish.
    Cooked in butter and olive oil in skillet; six minutes on each side; put this over a bed of rice, with Mozzerala cheese (melted) with sauteed mushrooms, bell peppers and onions.

  11. Rachel says:

    I am pregnant and I buy this fish and freeze it and will pull out 2 for my husband and I and throw it into the steamer frozen. From freezer to plate in less than 20 mins, cant beat that!

  12. patrise says:

    trying this tonight.

  13. Laurie says:

    I had this fish for the first time tonight. I bought it because there was a terrific sale -buy 1 get 2 free, wow great for a person on a budget and trying to eat healthy. I decided to fry it with corn meal. I seasoned it mildly with salt, pepper and parsley. I was so excited and couldnt wait to taste it.
    I loved tge way it cooked, it was meaty, white, and flakey. However I was disappointed at the mild taste, it was almost tasteless and very bland, so I added a little more salt. Dont get me wrong I liked it alot but I expected more taste. I would not suggest frying this fish. Next time I will bake it with olive oil and other seasoning, I think I will enjoy it better. I will be eating alot more of it and more often.

    • Roger says:

      I have recently started to buy Swai fish at the near supermarket, the sign above it says “flounder”, but the actual packaging says swai. More affordable than most fish, definitely. I have only eaten in this coconut/tomato sauce that i make and it is pretty delicious. The sweet taste of the meat goes well with the coconut flavor, besides the sauce is a pretty pink color. I was interested in finding the actual fat content (know is low, but i like to be exact) per serving.
      Anyway if anyone wants to try: 1one 14oz can of coconut milk, preferably low fat; equal amount of tomato paste, salt and fresh black pepper to taste, 1 tablespoon of hot chili oil and finally fresh cilantro – lots of cilanto, if you like it. Put the fish in this mixture and let if cook through

  14. Renee says:

    I cooked Swai for the first time for Thanksgiving yesterday, and I must say we all LOVED it!! I’m from Alabama, and we grow our own catfish; I could barely tell the difference!!
    I grilled some with only jerk seasoning, and fried the rest. The grilled with Jerk seasoning was the best!

  15. becky says:

    Love this fish!!! It is so light; my family and I enjoy it baked with a little olive oil, light seasoning and served with white rice with soy sauce! So good! My son and I like to pour lots of lemon on our fish! Awesome!

  16. fanky says:

    Is a cheap fish with many health benefits, great for cooking.

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