Firm in texture and mild in flavor, swai is a freshwater fish native to southeast Asia.

The fish is primarily farmed (rather than wild-caught) in Vietnam, though it’s also produced in Thailand, Nepal, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia, and Cambodia, according to Athena Davis, the North America marketing manager for the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).

“It’s pretty popular in the U.S. as well as some other markets around the world for being a more affordable option for seafood,” says Maggie Moon, M.S., R.D., a Los Angeles–based registered dietitian and the author of The MIND Diet. “People may also be seeking it out because it’s a lean protein and fish [in general] is good for the heart and the brain.”

You may not always see the fish labeled as “swai” in grocery stores or restaurants, though. The fish, which is scientifically known as Pangasianodon hypophthalmus, is also known as pangasius, basa, striped catfish, striped pangasius, and tra, says Corbett Nash, the outreach manager for the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program.

Although it’s a type of catfish, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t permit it to be labeled as such in this country; instead, it’s called sutchi catfish, he adds. 

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Harmony Evans is an award-winning author of Harlequin Kimani Romance, African-American romance, and so on. Harmony Evans is an award-winning author for Harlequin Kimani Romance, the leading publisher of African-American romance. Her 2nd novel, STEALING KISSES, will be released in November 2013. Harmony is a single mom to a beautiful, too-smart-for-her-own-good daughter, who makes her grateful for life daily. Her hobbies include cooking, baking, knitting, reading, and of course, napping and also review some of the best-selling and popular brands and services in the market and also write comprehensive blogs.


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