What is Swai Fish?

Swai is a white-fleshed fish with a bland flavor commonly imported from Vietnamese fish farms. “Asian catfish” was once used in the United States, but it is now prohibited by law. Swai and American catfish belong to distinct families, yet they are related.

What Is Swai Fish

Swai fish is more likely to be found frozen outside of Southeast Asia, as it is sent from that region to keep fresh. Consumers will rarely see the fish intact; it is mostly offered as fillets for ease of use. Swai isn’t often available at regular grocery stores’ fish counters, but it’s common in Asian markets.

What is Swai Fish?

Swai (pronounced s-WHY) belongs to the same Pangasius genus as catfish. Even though they have a similar taste, Swai cannot be classified as catfish in the United States since that name is reserved for members of the Ictaluridae family. On the other hand, Swai has a distinct appearance and lacks the huge bottom-feeder mouth and whiskers that catfish have.

Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia produce most of this freshwater fish. Swai is caught in the rivers of the Mekong Delta’s many regions. Concerns about the fish’s viability have led to a decrease in wild Swai on the market and increased farmed fish caught in the locations mentioned above. Because much of this fish is farmed, some batches of Swai may contain additives or chemicals found in the water, making it dangerous to eat if not fully heated.

Swai is an inexpensive replacement for other fish, costing a third to a quarter of the price of other fish. It’s similar to light, white fish like flounder, sole, and grouper, but because of the similarities, there have been a lot of fish fraud instances. As a result of the misidentification, cooks have begun to treat it as a higher-quality fish. The easiest method to ensure that Swai is on your plate is to get it from a reputable fishmonger or supermarket.

Swai Fish vs. Tilapia 

These are freshwater fish that are less expensive than wide other varieties of fish, owing to their ease of farming. Swai is a Southeast Asian fish frozen and exported to the United States, whereas tilapia is harvested and raised worldwide. Both fish are white when cooked and become soft and flaky, making them excellent choices for fried fish cookouts. Tilapia is fatter than Swai, and the flesh might have darker patches. Fresh tilapia can be found in North America, but frozen Swai is usually available. There isn’t much difference in taste or texture, especially when the sauce is the show’s star.

What does Swai Fish Taste Like?

This light fish is best described as mild with a tinge of sweetness. Swai’s flesh is soft and flaky once cooked, making it more palatable to the palette than its relative, catfish. In terms of flavor, it’s similar to catfish, but the swai fish is more delicate in both flavor and texture. Although farmed extensively in Vietnam, it is a freshwater fish native to Southeast Asia’s Mekong Lake. The majority of swai fish available comes from Vietnam.

What Is Swai Fish

Swai fish is popular among American families since it lacks the traditional fishy flavor and odor. Swai fish has a somewhat sweet or neutral flavor. The fish has a flaky texture that pairs nicely with sauces and vegetables. It can be broiled, grilled, or fried after being breaded.

How to Cook Swai Fish?

The most important thing to remember when cooking Swai is that its quality may not be as good as other fish on the market, so cook it thoroughly. You shouldn’t eat it raw, rare, or medium-rare, but you can fry, bake, grill, or steam it like any other white fish. It can be battered and deep-fried without coming apart, and it can withstand the heat of an open flame. Swai’s flesh is a pale beige tint that turns creamy white when cooked. Swai absorbs tastes effectively, making it a fantastic match for rich sauces and marinades, especially those with citrus flavors.

Seasoned Swai Fish Fillet – Do you want to bring out the sweetness and tenderness of Swai even more? This seasoned fish fillet is bathed in flavorful herbs and lemon, and it will leave you wanting more!

As previously stated, Baked Swai Fish – Swai is ideal for baking, and it’s even better to serve it with creamy, buttery sauces to round out the flavor. That’s exactly what you’ll get with this dish packed with creamy salad dressing and shredded cheese. You’ll have the creamiest seafood dish at your dinner table if you bake it until the crumbs are flaky.

Spicy Catalina Swai Recipe – Try this spicy and flavorful swai recipe if you’re looking for a dish with a little extra heat. What better way to add some heat to your food than with a teaspoon or two of Sriracha?

Swai Cooking Tips

These tips will help you make great swai dishes every time!

  • Overcooking your fish might cause it to become rubbery.
  • Remove any traces of the fishy smell by seasoning with lemon, salt, pepper, and other spices and herbs.
  • Fillets should be cleaned under running water with a lot of salt.
  • Swai can be marinated in various flavors, including soy, turmeric, and crushed ginger.
  • It’s a terrific idea to serve Swai with vegetables like asparagus and tomatoes.
  • A terrific DIY fish and chips base is dipping the fillets in a batter and deep-frying them.

Is Swai Fish a Good Fish to Eat?

Swai fish has a poor nutritional profile and should be avoided. It comes from densely packed fish farms where excessive pesticides and antibiotics are employed, polluting the water and posing health risks. It’s occasionally mislabeled and sold as a more valuable fish. According to the USDA Branded Food Products Database, a 4-ounce swai fillet contains 90 calories and 14 grams of protein. It contains 1.5 grams of fat, with around 0.5 grams of saturated fat. Swai is typically found in the Mekong River and Maeklong Basin in Vietnam.

Despite what people may believe, Swais are safe to consume and do not have a low nutritional value. Some are just “unsafe” since their catfish and swai food production does not comply with country requirements.

Is Swai a Clean Fish?

Vietnamese-imported fish, such as swai fish, are frequently regarded as “unclean” and present some health issues due to their variable quality. The swai fish (Basa) is a Vietnamese native that is largely imported to the US. It is widely used since it is inexpensive, has a moderate flavor, and can be prepared in various ways. Swai fish has a poor nutritional profile and should be avoided. It comes from densely packed fish farms where excessive pesticides and antibiotics are employed, polluting the water and posing health risks. It’s occasionally mislabeled and sold as a more valuable fish.

Are Swai and Catfish the Same?

Even though the two fish have a similar flavor when cooked, Swai is not the same as the ordinary catfish produced and sold in the United States. Swai and catfish are sometimes confused because Swai’s scientific name is “Sutchi Catfish,” and Swai is frequently offered as imported catfish.

About Swai

Swai is a variety of catfish native to Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam in Southeast Asia. Due to its Latin scientific name, Pangasius hypophthalmus, it’s also known as basa, tra, or pangasius. The US Food and Drug Administration has punished several importers of South Asian catfish such as Swai for selling Swai under the names catfish, grouper, or sole to dodge duties on imported fish. Swai is frequently raised in cages in rivers, and because South Asian fisheries are unregulated, it is susceptible to contamination.

About Catfish

Catfish in the United States (as defined by the FDA) are two North American freshwater fish species belonging to the Ictaluridae family. Blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) and channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) are two species of catfish that are farmed and sold in the United States. Catfish are often farmed in big ponds or taken fresh from river deltas in North America. Catfish farms in the United States are strictly regulated to ensure that whole fish and fillets are free of infection and disease.

What Is The Nutritional Value Of Swai Fish?

Eating fish is recommended by the American Academy of Dietetics and Nutrition as a strategy for preventing heart and neurological disorders. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are largely responsible for their high quality. However, compared to other fatty fishes like salmon and sardines, the amount of omega-3 fatty acids available in a single serving (4 ounces or 114 g) is low. Protein content (15 g) is comparable to or lower than other fish.


Swai fish has a poor nutritional profile and should be avoided. It comes from densely packed fish farms where excessive pesticides and antibiotics are employed, polluting the water and waiting for health risks. It’s occasionally mislabeled and sold as a more valuable fish. If you’re going to consume it, go for a brand with an eco-certificate. It’s advisable to consume a range of different fish in general. Haddock, sole, salmon and various other fish are healthy alternatives to Swai.

Swai is a white-fleshed fish with a neutral, moderate flavor. The meat has a hard texture, but it’s still delicate and moist when cooked, and it’s rather flaky. Because of its bland flavor, it easily absorbs additional flavors. This fish can be found across Asia, and it is widely farmed in Vietnam and then shipped to North America. It’s a good choice for a healthy diet because it’s high in lean protein and good fats.