Swai Fish is the most popular fish in United States due to is taste and availability.
By just looking at the seafood, our mouth gets watered, and resisting it doesn’t seem to be an option after all. As delicious it may appear at the sight, it is even more mouth licking at the taste. The taste of seafood amazes us each time we consume it. We have often heard that seafood is extremely beneficial for our health as they contain fish oil, protein, Omega 3 fatty acids, etc. There might be varieties in seafood, but today we are going to know all about swai fish also known as Pangasianodon hypophthalmus, scientifically.
It might happen that Swai fish might not have landed on your plate until now, but we will be discussing it today.
Table of Contents
What is Swai fish?
Swai fish, also known as catfish, is a white-fleshed fish that has a moderate flavor and a flaky texture, often referred to as South Asian Catfish and iridescent shark. It is a kind of freshwater fish native to Vietnamese rivers also known as the Vietnamese catfish, basa fish, and iridescent shark, but it is often said that it is neither basa nor a shark.
The scientific name for Swai fish is Pangasianodon hypophthalmus and is also called upon as tra, sutchi catfish, basa. Though the fish is not a catfish, it is still marketed as Catfish in several places. But, for doing so the importers of Swai fish could be penalized by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Where is Swai fish found?
The availability of Swai fish is limited to Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. The demand for this fish is all across Asia, the USA, and many other parts of the world.
Swai fish ranks 6th as the most popular fish in the world, as per the reports generated by US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Nutritional value of Swai fish:
Nutritional value of Swai fish per 4-ounce (113 gm) fillet:
- Calories – 70 gm
- Protein – 15 gm
- Omega 3 fat – 11 mg
- Carbs: 0 grams
- Cholesterol – 15 mg
- Sodium – 340 mg
- Fat – 1.5 gm
- Niacin: 14% of the RDI
- Vitamin B12: 19% of the RDI
- Selenium: 26% of the RDI
Price of Swai fish:
The price of Swai fish is low as compared to the other fishes in the market which makes it more consumable and popular in the regions such as the USA. Its low price makes it more affordable to consume for most people. It only costs 2$ per pound, which makes people consume it more but what people neglect is that: saving a few pounds might affect your health in long run.
Is Swai fish safer to consume?
Looking at the nutritional value of Swai fish, one might think that it would be a very healthy choice to include it in our diet but that’s not the case. As the upbringing of this fish is done in river cages and that too without adequate control, there is a huge danger of contamination with illness due to heavy metals such as mercury.
Some of the reasons to avoid Swai fish are:
- Toxins from factory farming may be present in Swai fish.
- The presence of potentially harmful microorganisms.
- On crowded this fish farms, antibiotics are regularly used to fight illnesses.
- The unclean conditions of the water
- Overfishing and Pollution in the Ocean
- Vibrio Bacteria, the microorganisms responsible for the majority of shellfish poisoning, were found in 70-80% of swai fish samples.
- Malachite green, a veterinarian medication used to treat ill fish, was found in the fish.
Along with all the above reasons, the most serious issue with swai fish is that it is factory farmed. When fish are mass-produced from the wild, they suffer the same consequences as factory-farmed foods.
Furthermore, fish farms generate a large amount of trash that cannot be lawfully thrown into waterways. A variety of chemicals, including anti-parasitic medicines, are used in these fish farms.
How To Cook Swai Fish?
You can cook Swai fish like any other fish by frying, baking, grilling, or steaming it. It gives an outstanding taste when battered and deep-fried and also endures the heat of an open flame without falling apart.
It could be paired up greatly with different kinds of sauces and marinades.
Healthy Alternatives to Swai fish:
By far we know, Swai fish is not the ideal choice for your health, so you might want to look for other healthy alternatives to Swai fish:
Sardines are a group of fish that are tiny, silvery, and have a high oil content. If you’ve ever seen them in the ocean or a huge aquarium tank, you’ve undoubtedly found the sight hypnotic. Sardines contain a lot of nutritional value at their hand and might be the ideal choice for you to consume.
Salmon is a popular food fish categorized as an oily fish with a high protein and omega-3 fatty acid content. Farmed and wild salmon differ relatively little in terms of food quality and safety in Norway, a significant producer of both farmed and wild salmon, with farmed salmon containing fewer environmental pollutants and wild salmon containing more omega-3 fatty acids.
3. Albacore tuna
Albacore tuna is a low-sodium and high-protein fish with the greatest amounts of heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids in the tuna family. This could be your potential alternative after Sardines and Salmon.
4. Atlantic Mackarel
The Atlantic mackerel has a strong flavor and has a highly commercial fish that is sought after for its meat, which has a strong flavor and is high in oil content and omega-3 fatty acids, among other nutrients. Each year, about 1 million tons of Atlantic mackerel are caught across the world, the vast majority of which is marketed fresh, frozen, smoked, or canned. Despite its highly commercial position, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists Atlantic mackerel as Least Concern, and worldwide harvest has remained sustainable.
What Does Swai Fish Taste Like?
It is a flaky textured, white-colored fish with a mild taste. Swai fish, compared to other fishes is likely to taste neutral. Though it has a neutral taste, it is slightly tinted towards sweetness which makes it more delicious to taste.
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How do Swai Fish look like?
Swai fish is a kind of Asian catfish with silver scales, whitish skin, and tiny whiskers. Pangasius, like other shark catfish, have a tiny dorsal fin on top of their body. The margins of a pangasius’ fins shine softly underwater, making them a popular option for aquariums.
Young iridescent sharks may grow to be 1 to 4 feet long and weigh 50 to 100 pounds. The largest swai fish ever caught weighed 44 kilograms, or roughly 97 pounds. Pangasius development can be slowed by food or confinement, which is why iridescent sharks in aquariums are often considerably smaller than their wild or commercially-grown counterparts.
Apart from knowing all the harm it could do to your health, some people still prefer this fish due to its minimal cost and good taste.
If you still want to enjoy swai, purchase it from a reputable firm that sells eco-friendly items. Choose a product that has an eco-certification programme label. ASC Farmed Pangasius, Naturland, and BAP Certified are other brands to check for. If you can’t locate a swai product with these certifications, you’re better off choosing a healthier fish alternative with even greater levels of omega-3 fatty acids, such as wild-caught Salmon, Sardines, Atlantic Mackarel, Alcabore Tuna, and many more.