What is Swai Fish and Is It Good and Healthy For You

by Tanmay Joshi

Swai fish is one of the most favorite and popular types of fish in Vietnam, and they can be found throughout Asian stores worldwide. They are also incredibly cheap to buy, making them an excellent choice if you’re on a budget but still want to enjoy a high-quality meal with your family or friends.

If you’re new to eating swai fish, you may be wondering what it is exactly and where it comes from, as well as what type of recipes you can prepare with this delicious and affordable fish meat. Read on to learn more about swai fish!

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What is Swai Fish?

Swai fishes, which you may also hear called basa fish, are actually catfish that are native to Southeast Asia. They tend to be fairly inexpensive and make for some fantastic catfish recipes.

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Is Swai Fish Good and Healthy For You?

Is Swai Fish Good For You

The most important thing to know about fish—for both nutrition and sustainability reasons—is whether it’s farmed or wild-caught. Unfortunately, sometimes even stores with high-quality standards can be confused by seafood labels.

However, if we look at its nutritional value, then it is not the best option for Omega-3 fat but has a good amount of protein. Additionally, it contains vital minerals and vitamins such as vitamin B12, niacin, and selenium.

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Swai Fish Nutrition

The following table has information on uncooked Sawai fish nutrition facts. Here we have taken 4 ounces (113 g) to display its nutrition facts.

Protein15 grams
Fat1.5 g
Omega-3 Fat11 mg
Cholesterol45 g
Carbs0 g
Sodium350 mg
Niacin14% of the RDI
Vitamin B1219% of the RDI
Selenium26% of the RDI

Swai Fish Calories

As mentioned in the above table, if you intake the same serving of this fish in the uncooked form, you will be more likely to consume 70 calories.

Where does Swai Fishes Come From

The swai fishes comes from Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam. They were originally introduced to Europe and North America as an alternative for people looking for new fish to eat. However, swai fishes farming have become an expanding industry in many parts of Asia; it is now being farmed extensively in China, Taiwan, and Vietnam for both commercial sale and domestic consumption.

In addition to these three countries, a significant number of farms specialize in raising swai fish located in Russia and Thailand.

Swai Fishes Recipes

There is no doubt that a foodie or a food lover is competent enough to prepare infinite dishes from swai fishes. But in the following table, we have named three popular recipes.

Recipe NameIngredientsCooking Time
Lemon Butter Swai FishSwai Fishes, oil, white wine, lemon juice, black pepper20 minutes
Seasoned Swai Fish FilletBlack pepper, white wine, swai, lemon juice25 minutes
Lemon Garlic Butter Swai FishLemon, Swai, ginger root, capers, red pepper flakes25 minutes

How to Cook Swai Fishes

The white fish, called Swai in many parts of Southeast Asia and in some regions of India, has firm-textured flesh that turns flaky when cooked. It is recommended to prepare the fish on medium flame. Then add a small amount of vegetable oil and spices as per your taste.

The texture and flavor are somewhat comparable to cod or haddock but without as much fat. Use caution when cooking it because it can dry out quickly if overcooked. A properly cooked swai fillet will be firm to slightly resilient with a temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

Swai Fishes Picture

Swai Fish Picture
Swai Fishes Picture

The following section will present the picture of Swai fishes which help you to identify the same whenever you see a new fish coming up in front of you.

Is Swai Fish Kosher

Though swai fishes are not kosher, they’re still safe to eat if they’re adequately prepared. The key is to remove any blood vessels that may be present, as these may contain blood. This can be done easily with a clean pair of tweezers.

Since swai fish are generally farmed for consumption, it’s not common to have any blood in their bodies. They should also be well-gutted before cooking and cleaned thoroughly before being stored or cooked.

Does Swai Fishes Have Scales

The swai fishes do not have scales all over their body, unlike other popular types of fishes. Neither of these fishes has bones or fins at all. In most cases, people feel like they’re eating a piece of soft, tender chicken when they enjoy Swai from home-cooked meals.


Q.1. Is swai fish the same as tilapia?

Ans. Answering that question depends on where you live. Outside of Vietnam, tilapia and Swai are both often referred to as aquatic chicken or freshwater prawns because they tend to taste similar. They’re usually lightly salted and packed in ice, so they’re commonly sold as frozen fillets at supermarkets. Moreover, Swai is less fatty than tilapia. But if you live in Vietnam or other Southeast Asian countries, Swai can be found fresh in your local market, whereas in North America, Swai is sold as frozen, and tilapia can be found fresh there.

Q.2. Is Swai a clean fish?

Ans. The Vietnamese imported fish are often inconsistent in quality, and Swai is no exception. This is why it is widely called as “Unclean Fish,” which may be responsible for many health risks.

Q.3. Is swai fish the same as catfish?

Ans. Yes, both are considered the same because Swai is often called South Asian Catfish, usually found in Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand. It has many different names.

Q.4. Is swai fish a bottom feeder?

Ans. Yes, Swai fishes are bottom feeders, and they are often termed iridescent sharks. Vietnam is very popular for Swai fishes. Generally, these fishes live in the Mekong river.

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