Pangasius fish, also known as the Vietnamese catfish or basa fish, has gained popularity in recent years for its affordability and earthy sweet taste. It is native to Southeast Asia, particularly the Mekong River basin, and is widely cultivated for commercial purposes. There are many popular questions surrounding it: What is it? Is it safe to eat? Why is it so cheap? Let’s find the answers to these questions and also discover how to cook this fish for everyday meals.
What is Pangasius?
Pangasius is a type of freshwater fish that hails from the rivers of Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam, belonging to the Pangasiidae family. This fish has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its mild taste and versatility in the culinary world.
- Appearance: The fish has a distinct appearance. It has a sleek, elongated body with a flat, broad head and smooth, scaleless skin. It typically has a silver or grayish color on its body, which may vary depending on the specific species.
- Size: Pangasius can grow to significant sizes, with adults reaching lengths of up to 4-5 feet (120-150 cm) and weighing around 40-60 pounds (18-27 kg). However, commercially available pangasius fish are usually harvested at a younger age and smaller size.
- Flavor and Texture: The flesh of this fish is white, lean, and tender with a mild, slightly sweet flavor. It has a firm texture that holds up well in various cooking methods.
- Nutritional Profile: The fish is a good source of high-quality protein and essential nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins D, iron, potassium, and calcium. One fillet (140g or 5 oz) of pangasius contains 26g of protein and 0 carbohydrates. It is also relatively low in calories (only 200) and fat (10g), making it a healthier choice compared to some other types of fish. To compare, 140g or 5oz of salmon includes 292 calories and 18g of fat.