Pangasius

Species Information

Pangasius is a type of catfish. The body of the Pangasius is stout and heavy. The rounded head is broader than it is long, the blunt snout having a white band on its muzzle. Pangasius are known to be from large rivers, in rapids and in deep, slower reaches. They also will enter flooded forests. They feed on plants and spawn at the onset of the rainy season.

Consumers in the United States were introduced to the fish in 1994, after the trade embargo with Vietnam was finally lifted. Though it took some time for Pangasius to gain a following in the United States, today it has become a serious concern of domestic catfish producers. It is cheaper than domestic catfish, with no noticeable decrease in quality. This has caused some large restaurants and resorts to switch to serving Pangasius.

Cooking & Handling

Naturally low in saturated fat and cholesterol, Pangasius is an excellent source of lean protein. It provides omega 3 fatty acids which are known offer significant health benefits.

Cooking Methods

Bake, Broil, Fry, Sauté

Global Supply

Vietnam

Seasonal Availability

Available year-round.

Did You Know?

Pangasius live as migrant fish going up the river when ready to spawn and traveling down the river as juveniles. They like the warm water and wet season best that lasts in the Mekong Delta from March until late October each year.

Pangasius are easy to farm, easy to process and fast in reproduction - reasons enough to make Pangasius global aquaculture's next in thing. In fact, Russia became a big market for it, and even the Japanese, who normally do not like freshwater fish (except of eel) and the French, (who never include Catfish in their cuisine) are starting to like this catch from the Mekong Farms.

Pangasius is now the most sought-after fish in the USA and Europe, and there is still an increasing demand for it in the worldwide market.

Scientific Name

Pangasius hypophthalmus

Market Name

Striped Pangasius, swai, tra

Common Names

Basa, basa catfish, swai, tra, Vietnamese catfish, Pangasius

Substitutions

Channel catfish, lake whitefish

Raw Characteristics

  • white, pinkish

Cooked Characteristics

  • mild, sweet flavor
  • fine flake
  • white flesh
  • delicate texture