A Fish by Any Other Name

I have a question for you.

Has anyone tasted both U.S. farmed catfish and imported (Vietnamese farmed) Swai ? I picked some up instead of cod, thinking it was one of the sustainable, good alternative species of white fish. It was, I grant you, delicious. BUT then I found out why it sounded familiar…according to Monterey Bay “seafood watch”, while it may be farmed, Vietnamese farms are unregulated polluters and maybe not a good choice for environmental friendliness after all. Not to mention, the waters where they are farmed may not be so pristine and unpolluted…ew.

Both the Monterey Bay source…and my favorite, and episode of “Good Eats” cite U.S. farmed catfish as a ‘best choice’ for sustainability, eco-compatibility, and efficient conversion of food to fish…whatever fancy term A.B dredged up for that.

But here is the vampire foodie in me…

My higher cortex brain and tree-hugging liberal side really really wants to do the right thing when it comes to eco-sustainability goodness. But my mouth and the rest of my brain wants to know if they TASTE the same. I’m not a huge fan of trout (heresy, I know, considering where I grew up) … but that Swai last night was pretty darn good, especially for a freshwater fish. Usually I’m all about the saltwater species.

So next time, I’ll have to just suck it up and try the catfish … but I”m also willing to listen to any heads-up experiences you all would like to share. So what’s the 411? Is catfish similar to swai or is it the fishy nasty bottom feeder mud tasting thing I’ve always heard?





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