What is a Basa fish?

Bass fish.

A bassa fish is a type of catfish found in Southeast Asia, primarily Vietnam. Fish is prized for its appeal as a food source, especially in mass markets in other parts of the world, including the United States. Basa fish can be caught in the wild as adults, but most are bred in captivity after being caught as fingerlings.

Most Basa fish grown in Vietnam are produced by local farmers along the Mekong River. They are raised in corrals that use the natural flow of the river to remove any impurities that may build up over time. While most varieties of catfish don’t like strong currents, Basa fish don’t seem to mind them, but may actually prefer them. This technique offers a number of advantages to the farmer and increases the reputation of the fish’s taste, if not its value.

Known for its mild flavor and white, flaky flesh, Basa fish is starting to challenge other types of catfish around the world as the catfish of choice. The method of rearing catfish in the Mekong River has helped to create a following among fish lovers. Most feel that bassa fish taste “cleaner” than most other forms of farm-raised fish, because of the fresh water that constantly flows into their pens.

Consumers in the United States were introduced to the fish in 1994 after the trade embargo with Vietnam was finally lifted. While it took some time for bassa fish to gain a following in the United States, today it has become a serious concern for domestic catfish growers. It is cheaper than domestic catfish with no noticeable loss of quality. This has led to some large restaurants and resorts serving basa fish, or something that looks like fish.

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For consumers looking to try basa, it is important to remember that not all catfish labeled as basa fish are true representatives of the species. In fact, most of them are a different species of Asian catfish called tra. These fish are hardier and easier to raise than basa fish and have therefore become the fish of choice for many farmers, although the quality of the meat is considered inferior to that of basa fish. For those confused, the bottom line is that if you’re buying imported catfish for less than $5 US dollars (USD) per pound, then it’s probably not a true bass fish, no matter what the label says.

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