Tilapia: Love It Or Hate It ? - Swampy's Kitchen Blog at Allrecipes.com - 251083

Swampy's Kitchen

Tilapia: Love it or Hate it ? 
 
Sep. 21, 2011 11:19 am 
Updated: Oct. 16, 2013 2:12 am
A little over a week ago I wrote a blog about football in which I compared one of the teams (San Diego Chargers) to an inferior Fish Taco and as somewhat of a throwaway line, I said that Tilapia does not belong in a Fish Taco. The inference in what I wrote and how I wrote it was that I felt that Tilapia was an inferior fish when in reality I just don’t much care for Tilapia and I honestly don’t think it makes for a good Fish Taco fish. It did however get me thinking about why I don’t seem to like a fish that has been slowly taking over the seafood market as we know it.

My first experience with Tilapia wasn’t eating it. It was actually reading about it in a mystery novel called Mean High Tide by James W. Hall. I had to have read that book more than 15 years ago but what stuck out in my mind was that the hero of the novel, Thorne – a marine biologist, was trying to not only solve a murder but stop a fish farm of Tilapia from being released into the ecosystem. I seemed to remember that he said that the Tilapia would overrun the ecosystem and be bad for the environment. For years after that, I would occasionally see Tilapia on a menu or in a store but I would never buy it or order it. Finally I did breakdown and tried Tilapia and I have to say, I wasn’t all that impressed. It’s a very serviceable whitefish that carries a breading or a sauce well but is relatively non-descript on it’s own. I could never imagine eating it with just some salt, pepper, butter & lemon. It would be too bland. The rest of America however, must not have the same view of Tilapia that I do because Americans last year consumed over 475 million pounds of Tilapia making it the most popular farmed fish gracing the dinner table. So what is it about Tilapia that makes it a target for both disdain & praise ?

On the positive side, it’s a fish that doesn’t have a very fishy taste thus making it just about perfect for places like schools & cafeterias where the fish is typically breaded and served as a fish cake or fish stick. Farm raised Tilapia can be harvested in as little as 9 months so costs to breed it are relatively low. They can also be fed pellets made of corn & soy rather than expensive fish food. This again helps to keep the cost of this fish down. Finally, we have all been told that fish is “Brain Food” so eating more fish has to be good for you and Tilapia is readily available and relatively cheap so how could it not be smart to eat it ? . I couldn’t find anything wrong with any of these statements though until I started to look behind the velvet curtain and what I found began to back up the notions that I had had over the years.

I mentioned as a positive that Tilapia could be harvested in as little as nine months but there is also a negative in that same statement. Farm raised Tilapia have been scientifically engineered to no longer resemble the same fish in the wild. They have small heads & tails and big fillets that have resulted in a new product called “Tilapia Loins”. I’m not sure about you but I didn’t know that fish had loins. In fact, I would put “Tilapia Loins” in the same category as “Chicken Fingers”, “Chicken Lips” and the movie “Caddyshack 2” – they aren’t real and they don’t exist. They also don’t have the naturally occurring Omega-3 fatty acids that we all freely associate with eating fish. Those same corn & soy pellets that allow the Tilapia to grow so large so quickly don’t have the aquatic plants, fish meal or fish oils present that Tilapia need to produce Omega-3 fatty acids. In fact a serving of Farm Raised Tilapia only has 135 milligrams of Omega-3 while the same size piece of Salmon will have more than 2,000 milligrams. More research needs to be done but there are reports now that state that Tilapia also have twice the amount of Omega-6 acids and that actually can result in increasing the risk of heart disease. Tilapia may be an inexpensive protein alternative but it would seem to be that there are better choices out there from a health standpoint.

Environmentally, the verdict is still out on Tilapia. They were originally brought to this country and other parts of the world to help control weed & mosquito populations. In some cases they did this too well. They have been known in the wild to crowd out the native fish and to “clean up” lakes & rivers a little too well.  The book I mentioned earlier talked a lot about this potential problem and in some countries in Latin & South America it has come true. The fish have escaped from their large holding pens and wreaked havoc on the ecosystem. Those large pens can also be a problem as the fish are packed in so tight that all they can do is eat & poop. Even a strong current can’t fight that type of assault off for very long.

Now where does all this Tilapia come from that America seems to be consuming ? The vast majority of it comes from unregulated or loosely regulated fish farms in where the fish are harvested, filleted and flash frozen before being shipped to the . A total of 422 million pounds of frozen Chinese Tilapia fillets were shipped to the United States last year. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program rated frozen Chinese Tilapia as an “AVOID”. They gave Latin American Tilapia (just under 50 million pounds) a rating of “Good Alternative” and United States bred & raised Tilapia (less than 1% of all US Tilapia consumption) as “Best Choice” though from what we have seen from a nutritional standpoint, it’s the not exactly the best of the best no matter where it is from. The industry is trying to tighten up it’s standards & practices worldwide but it is going to take time and it is going to take money and in the growing economic doldrums that seem to be hitting every country around the globe, that money just isn’t there.

So I guess when I look a little deeper into why I took a shot at Tilapia in my football blog, even I get a little better understanding of why I am not a big fan of Tilapia. How do you feel about it ? Is it your fish of choice at the seafood counter ? Do you order it in restaurants ? I am not seeing both sides of the fish farm ? Let me know what you think. Let others know what you think. No opinion on this topic is 100% right or 100% wrong. Now I am going to go get a fish taco for lunch and I am going to be seriously bummed out if they are using Tilapia.

Come back next time when I talk about another food you love and I hate.
 
Comments
Alex 
Sep. 21, 2011 11:30 am
I don't mind tilapia but I'm really not much of a fish person, so am pretty indifferent to it and all fishes really. We've bought it a couple of times to eat at home, but I'm talking maybe twice in the last 5 years or so. The first time was because I printed off a recipe that people were raving about that called for tilapia, and I heard it was a really mild fish - perfect for us non-fish loving eaters. I know there are other mild fish out there but we just don't eat enough of it to really think about what kind we buy the rare time we do buy it. The only fish I ever order in a restaurant is haddock or cod because I only ever order fish & chips and those seem to be the commonly used fish!
 
Sep. 21, 2011 11:36 am
Hi Alex - it is a mild fish and I think that is a good part of the appeal. I much prefer haddock & cod as well. Thanks for stopping in.
 
Sep. 21, 2011 11:39 am
Absolutley love fish tacos.... but tilapia I cannot stand. I tried it once in a restaurant, and I thought it tasted like dirty lake water-yucky! I eat fish in some form almost everytime we go out to eat(mainly salmon) but I will not get tilapia.
 
Sep. 21, 2011 11:44 am
Hi Christie - there are those that say that Tilapia is a better quality catfish but I can't agree with that at all. Thanks for stopping by.
 
Sep. 21, 2011 11:55 am
Thought-provoking post, Doug. Let me preface my opinion with a bit of background. I have a degree in Zoology/Marine Ecology, but have never worked in my field. I do have issues with farm-raised fish in general. Before it became big business, it was mostly small farms with minimal impact on surrounding lakes and streams. As you noted, the impact is much larger today. My biggest beef with farm-raised fish is genetic. Instead of a robust population with a relatively homogenous slow-changing gene pool, like wild fish, you get weaker, less disease-resistant fish subject to more rapid mutation. This happens when the gene pool shrinks and it's not generally a good thing. As a cook, I'm at best indifferent to Tilapia, because I'm not a big fish-lover and I just don't find it very versatile. It's a pretty thin fillet, not suitable for the grill or broiler and although it's widely available frozen, I've found that it doesn't defrost and cook well. I suppose it's fine breaded or smothered under sauce, but because of my gluten issues I don't bother with the breading thing when there are so many other good ways to cook a fish. It's not nearly as good as the Haddock and Cod Alex mentioned, nor is it as good as Snapper, Ono and other tasty mild fish. That's all I've got to say. :)
 
Sep. 21, 2011 11:57 am
I like Tilapia, but it's funny you mention it....I was JUST talking to someone earlier this week about Tilapia around here all being from China...she said she went to a local fish market and said "I would like some Tilapia, but I don't want it from China" and they said "OH NO MA'AM! It's not from China!" And she said "Ok, where is it from?" "Indonesia" ?? lol
 
Sep. 21, 2011 12:01 pm
Hi lucylove and thanks for the great comment. The argument can be made that we would all go hungry hunting for wild beef so why is farming fish any different but it is. Fish farms are generally not found in the US unless they are very well regulated. Most people want "line caught" fish now anyway. Come back again and say more - comments are always welcome.
 
Sep. 21, 2011 12:01 pm
Oh no It's not like catfish at all! To me tilapia has zero flavor and I also don't like the consistancy. It's dense and not flaky at all. I only cooked it once and my husband said don't ever make this kind of fish again! So that was that. We don't like tilapia!!
 
Sep. 21, 2011 12:02 pm
Hi Brooke129 - Indonesia ? Isn't that a suburb of China ? B-)
 
Sep. 21, 2011 12:02 pm
I first heard of Tilapia on the buzz, had to find out what it was. Checked it out and found it to be a bottom feeder fish. First little turn off, but after hearing so much about it, I finally ordered in a restaurant. Came lightly breaded and fried as the whole fish. No big deal for me, taste was not comparable with the normal fish we eat so I would never order nor buy it in the store. I prefer pickeral, northern pike from ice cold water, perch, salmon -cohoe and chinooks-, and red snapper. Even cod is one of the iffy fish for me.
 
Sep. 21, 2011 12:06 pm
Hi missykitty - I love catfish dredged in cornmeal and fried....mmmmm....as for comparing it to Tilapia, they can both clean up a dirty water way.
 
Sep. 21, 2011 12:08 pm
Funny you should mention Halls book, Mean High Tide and his nefarious 'red' Tilapia. I only recently read that. I've been on something of a tear these last couple of years, finding and reading novels that make up the libraries of authors I like. In consuming tilapia, I've been quite pleased with its texture and adaptability in being flavoured. That it has very little taste all on its own means nothing to me in the long run as many white fish on the market have little or no taste. I've been trying to learn more about various fish over the years but as you might imagine, getting a bonefish in south central British Columbia is something of a challenge. Of consequence, the pollock, snapper, sole and catfish that I can find is likely some farm sanitized version of what once was tasty fish so when it comes to that stuff, the only way I can determine its viability in my menu is by its texture and how it can be a part of whatever I'm creating, so in that case, Tilapia wins. Its a good chew. Being close to sources of Salmonand Trout, I can attest to their wonderfulness in person and I expect that if I ever get a chance to consume the fish I previously mentioned when havested directly from their natural habitats, I'll fnd the same epicureal wonder. The one thing that stood out to me when read Halls book, was the breeding and mating of the Tilapia, the very thing that brings the danger to other species. If this fish is that resilient, why the hell are they farming it, and degrading the flesh? Is the Chinese tilapia all farmed? I'm not a huge fan of fish farms but can't deny their inevitability. As we drain the oceans of fish, we'll need other ways to provide them. Another long discussion...
 
Sep. 21, 2011 12:11 pm
Oh, lordy, Doug. Now you've done it. You're right, farming cattle is different. Man has been selectively breeding cattle from almost the moment we stood upright, threw a flint spear at a cow and found out that they're not only easy to kill, but yummy, too. So much so that there are very few breeds of wild cattle left, and their lineage is suspect. Farm-raised fish are different because of the rate at which we're changing the species. That takes care of the genetics. Ecologically, I'm a bit of a fence sitter. Eating all the wild fish is a bad thing, but so is polluting our inland waters.
 
Sep. 21, 2011 12:13 pm
Hi RNG - thanks for checking in - whenever I see tilapia on the menu I skip right over it but there are those folks that like it and I can't blame them for that at all.
 
Sep. 21, 2011 12:14 pm
RNG - bottom feeders! Nasty, disgusting critters. That's one of the drawbacks to my degree, I know how too many sea-dwellers earn a living. I won't touch filter-feeders, either. They're just eating smaller fish poop. Eww!
 
Sep. 21, 2011 12:19 pm
Hey Raedwulf - as you know, it was your comment on my foodball blog that got me chewing on this one. Glad to know there is someone else out there that has actually read Mean High Tide. I have always liked Hall's books. As for the tilapia, they are native to Egypt so any tilapia raised in China isn't going to be wild. I don't have the article in front of me at the moment but I would have to say with more than 400 million lbs exported to the US, that chinese tilapia is definitely farmed. But you also raise a good point and one I mentioned too - tilapia adapts well to coatings, spices & sauces and you really can't find fault with any of that. If you like it, I say great and let me know which sauces you favor to use when you do cook it. Thanks again for inspiring me on this one.
 
Sep. 21, 2011 12:21 pm
we can't seem to win no matter what we do when it comes to fish lucylove - wild or farmed.
 
Sep. 21, 2011 12:32 pm
Any different than pigs and chickens? Well, yeah. They just are. :p
 
Sep. 21, 2011 12:34 pm
(edit just as lucylove answers)and is a catfish/tilapia/bottom feeder really any different than a pig or a chicken ? Both pigs & chickens will eat anything & everything you throw in their direction......and if you are on AR's main page today - look in the upper left corner - there is a video on how to cook tilapia.
 
Sep. 21, 2011 12:43 pm
pigs are one of the cleanest animals you will ever find, they don't eat other pigs poop. While raising them, we found that if given space, they will move their dish to one area, sleep in another corner and only poop in another corner-very organized species. Chickens will eat anything you throw at them as well, but it must resemble food to them. When they are eating anothers poop, it means they have a disease and should be treated
 
Sep. 21, 2011 12:44 pm
sorry for the poop reference on a food site, but bottom feeder pigs and chickens just did not sound proper
 
Sep. 21, 2011 12:57 pm
well RNG & lucylove - you can tell I that I am a "gentleman farmer"
 
Sep. 21, 2011 1:08 pm
Not interested in eating bottom feeders. I'm not a fish person at all but if I had to I wouldn't eat Tilapia or Flounder.
 
Sep. 21, 2011 1:13 pm
hi Maridele - now i like flounder but I know plenty of people who don't - thanks for stopping by
 
Keri 
Sep. 21, 2011 2:03 pm
We occasionally eat tilapia and do enjoy it prepared with a Ritz cracker/Parmesan crust. You're right, though...the flavor of this fish without that flavorful breading would be very bland. Ever since I found out that tilapia is very low in Omega-3 and high in Omega-6, though, we have cut way back on our consumption of it. I WISH I could afford to feed my family salmon and cod every time we want fish, because we much prefer those types over tilapia or basa/swai (another very inexpensive bottom feeder fish I often buy), but when you're talking about $2.99 per pound for the tilapia or basa/swai (sometimes even less than that) versus $8-10 per pound or more for cod and salmon...well, I'm sure you can figure out why tilapia ends up in my grocery cart instead of those other fish. Hopefully someday soon my family's income level will be such that we can kiss tilapia and other "cheap" fish goodbye and say hello to the much better tasting, healthier fish like salmon and cod.
 
Sep. 21, 2011 2:27 pm
Hi Keri - I certainly do understand the economic realities of tilapia vs salmon and I don't fault anyone for buying tilapia. Despite what may seem like somewhat of a hatchet job above, I would rather have tilapia than a Big Mac or Whopper any day. Thanks for checking in. I appreciate the comment.
 
Sep. 21, 2011 2:28 pm
Hiassen and Hall. Split Elmore Leonard in two and dip him in the Everglades and you have...Hiassen and Hall. As far as Tilapia recipes go, one of my faves is from this site, Broiled Tilapia Parmesan. Another recipe that I had to mess with quite dramtically to get tasting like it ought to is also from this site called Carribean Fish with Mango Salsa. If you go to my reviews, I've put the fix in that review. As written the recipe kinda fails.
 
Keri 
Sep. 21, 2011 2:34 pm
Oh, believe me...I'd choose tilapia over almost any burger any day of the week. Ground beef and I have been on very limited speaking terms for about 16 years now...ever since I worked at a Burger King. I got so sick of the sight, smell, and taste of hamburger that I can hardly bring myself to prepare it when my family wants it.
 
Sep. 21, 2011 2:37 pm
I used to like a Big Mac now and then. (sigh)
 
Sep. 21, 2011 2:43 pm
Raedwulf - Hiassen is truly a classic. Great columnist in his day and I LOVED his book on golf. Leonard is a classic - no one writes about the seamier side of life better than he does. I am trying to think of other great florida based writers but I will have to consult my bookshelf first. I also plan on consulting your reviews. Now when do the pucks start dropping ?
 
Sep. 21, 2011 2:45 pm
Keri - I quit eating at BK after my cousin worked there and he told ud what went on behind the counter. Thanks but no thanks.
 
Sep. 21, 2011 2:49 pm
Lucylove - my mom had celiac so I can feel your gluten free pain - I only order the chicken fajitas at mCd's but I know that doesn't help you much either.
 
Sep. 21, 2011 2:55 pm
Being raised in the south - the first fish I ever caught or ate was catfish. And yes - they are bottom feeders - so is shrimp and crab - and how many pounds of them do we consume each year? Want to ponder a guesstimate? As for Tilapia - it becomes a battle for the consumer dollar. Restaurants carry them because they need a fish on the menu and tilapia is the best price per pound. The consumer wants fish as a menu option because they want to feel they are eating "healthy". So the battle for the consumer dollar rages on - and the winner right now is tilapia for the fish farmers - the restaurant - and the uninformed public. But look on the horizon - a new kid is on the block and gaining ground. His name . . . . Pengasius. Look it up - you'll be surprised - - or maybe not.
 
Sep. 21, 2011 3:00 pm
a Florida based writer? Try . . . .Hemmingway.
 
Keri 
Sep. 21, 2011 3:02 pm
Pangasius is the basa fish I was referring to. It's more like catfish than tilapia is, but I actually have success cooking it, whereas I cannot cook catfish to save my life. Again, though, it's one of those fish that only tastes good if you add lots of stuff to it. I use the "Cajun Baked Catfish" recipe from here at AR with the basa fish, but I doctor it up by doubling the dry spices and then mixing half of them with a pint of halved cherry or grape tomatoes. Then I prepare the fish as directed, but I put the tomatoes on top and bake them along with the fish.
 
Sep. 21, 2011 3:04 pm
That is if you count the Keys.
 
Sep. 21, 2011 3:11 pm
Thanks luv2cook - I will check that one out and you are absolutely right about the almighty $ - to it's credit, the tilapia industry is trying to raise farming standards but they have a long way to go.....as for Ernest H, we like to claim him as one of ours out in Sun Valley, Idaho.
 
Sep. 21, 2011 3:12 pm
You're right Keri - Pengasius is Basa or Swai - - or more commonly known as Asian Catfish. They are pink fleshed - mild tasting and basically no smell - but then comes the huge difference - - they are less expensive than Tilapia! Why??? Because they grow to a tremendous size - over 100 pounds. Basically they will grow as big as their environment allows. And they grow at a very fast rate. So - you will be seeing Swai - or Basa or Pengasius very shortly in your favorite super market - and it will be cheaper than Tilapia - - wait - - I take that back - it already is.
 
Sep. 21, 2011 3:16 pm
Hey Doug - Sun Valley? Yeah, you're probably right - - but he sure loved the swamp land.
 
Sep. 21, 2011 3:18 pm
October 5th dude. Mark it on your calender. Oh ps, my name is Randy. I think we can dispense with net nicks.
 
Sep. 21, 2011 3:59 pm
Growing up in Colorado....fish is not fresh (maybe it is now but back in the day it was nasty). So Im suspect of any fish. I don't like it either. The husband says it can "taste like chicken" but....Id rather eat chicken! :)
 
Sep. 21, 2011 4:17 pm
if tilapia, as a bottom feeder, tasted like crab or shrimp, then that would be totally different and I would try it again. Well maybe not with the omega 6 factor
 
Sep. 21, 2011 4:43 pm
Thanks for the reminder, Randy. I gotta get me some Lightning gear now that I'm a local. I loves me some hockey; I think of it as full contact ice dancing. With sticks.
 
Sep. 21, 2011 4:45 pm
So, RNG, you have no problem with how it earns a living, it's a taste issue. Eew. Shellfish, catfish, flounder, no how, no way. Call me picky, I'll own it. Is anyone else having as much fun with this thread as I am? C'mon, show of hands!
 
Sep. 21, 2011 5:34 pm
Yeah Duff, you got Stamkos close by and oh so watchable, lucky you!! Do they sell out? I ask because in Canada, it's virtually impossible to get tickets to an NHL game at regular price. The few seats available after season ticket sales are hastily gobbled up by the re-sellers and I've never seen an NHL game that I paid less than 200$ for a seat to. The worst was 400$ for a regular season game. I've often heard that American teams, especially those in the south are having trouble filling their arenas. You may be able to see crazy butt good games for regular season prices...whenever you bleeding want!! I might be jealous.
 
Sep. 21, 2011 7:40 pm
Randy, this is my first season here and haven't looked into tix yet. Bucs tix are cheap, if you go to the stadium and buy from scalpers. Great seats, below face. I recall the LA Kings 1st owner once remarked that there were almost 200,000 Canadian ex-pats living in SoCal with one thing in common; they all hated hockey. Poor guy couldn't sell any seats. LOL
 
Sep. 21, 2011 7:44 pm
Hey Lucy - my hand is up! Sorry Doug - we hijacked your blog - we are tilapia terrorists in disguise! lol
 
Sep. 22, 2011 4:50 am
Hijack for the sake of hockey all you want Randy, luv2cook & lucy - I was sitting in section 203, row c, seat 2 on that glorious day in 1994. I am still a season ticket holder. LET'S GO RANGERS !!!
 
Sep. 22, 2011 4:52 am
Good morning Jenwee99 - When I lived in the Denver area back in the mid 80's, seafood was not at the top of anyone's list of things to eat. Flown in "fresh" from Seattle was definitely a euphemism. Trout was about the only thing you could trust and I am not a big trout fan. I ound up eating a lot of bbq, mexican and happy hour food back then.
 
Sarah 
Sep. 22, 2011 5:11 am
I prefer basa which is a type of catfish. It has a similar firm texture but a cleaner taste. It's also much cheaper, and the filets are larger which is nice as I prefer to bake until JUST cooked, about 15-20 minutes at 400...so, a smaller filet is tricky unless frying. Thanks for all the info, Doug.
 
Sarah 
Sep. 22, 2011 5:12 am
My all time favorite way to eat fish: http://allrecipes.com/personalrecipe/62503703/dill-and-lemon-crust-for-fish/detail.aspx
 
Sep. 22, 2011 5:38 am
Late to the party I see. I am siding with Doug on this one. Tilapia is not on my menu. I TRY to buy wild and line caught fish, but alas that is getting very hard to find these days. I am a native to western Washington and I grew up on a steady diet of wild salmon, wild halibut, wild trout. We also could dig razor clams, oysters, butter clams & dungeness crab during shellfish season. Sadly, those wild products are now in limited supply and pollution and overfishing (not to mention popularity) have contributed greatly to the problem. I have to admit that I don't know where I can buy American shrimp anymore. The gulf must have lost alot of their wild shrimp. When I was a kid, it was common for someone to stop by and drop off one of the salmons they caught in Puget Sound or on the Washington coast. Consequently, I kind of burned out on salmon. Now halibut, that's another thing. LOVE IT and isn't it a bottom fish too????? Dunno for sure. Sure is expensive and hard to come by these days though.
 
Sep. 22, 2011 6:11 am
Hi Sarah - I am going to have to swing past the seafood counter on my next trip to the grocery story to get an eyeball on this fish that has popped up in more than a few comments. and thanks for the recipe tip - it looks good
 
Sep. 22, 2011 6:14 am
Good morning Julie - you are not late, you are fashionably on time. I grew up with flounder when we were down at the shore and fish sticks any other time we had fish. My all time favorite is either Grouper or Seabass but my wallet screams every time I order it. Have a great day
 
Sep. 22, 2011 6:23 am
Chiming in late, but I have to agree - I've tried tilapia three times and that was enough - and that was before I learned about the low Omega-3, high Omega-6 levels, the downside(s) of fish farming, and the very first thing that turned me off to tilapia, farmed fish from China. There was an article in the paper several years ago about how the common way to farm fish in China was to raise them in pools of water, usually contaminated by livestock and/or human waste, and above the pools of water were suspended cages in which they raised chickens, so in addition to being in polluted water, the fish actually were fed...what was dropped from the cages by the chickens (ugh~)...there were some other things mentioned, but that vision stands out in my mind! But above and beyond all that, I just didn't like the taste or texture of tilapia - oddly to me it tastes "fishy". I don't think salmon or cod or halibut or haddock tastes fishy at all, especially if it's fresh or high quality frozen.
 
Sinn 
Sep. 22, 2011 6:29 am
After living in WA for quite a few years, I moved to WY, so my daughter could know her grandparents. My biggest regret... the lack of fresh seafood. I am not big on Tilapia, as I prefer something with a flavor. Also I helped the kiddo do some research on it for school and saw those horrid #s for omega fats. Ugh. Luckily I am right on the North Platte River, so occasionally my family will drop of a line of fresh caught and cleaned(a must in my book) trout. Not Salmon, but not too bad. Hope the season goes well for you hockey fans, me, I'm waiting for deer season!
 
Sep. 22, 2011 6:43 am
Hi Christine M - I just posted late yesterday so you aren't late to this shindig at all. The Latin American fish farms seem to be heading in the right direction from a regulation standpoint but who knows about China. I can't imagine how extensive their operations are since they are churning out so many frozen tilapia fillets. Thanks for checking in.
 
Sep. 22, 2011 6:44 am
Hi Sinn - while I said earlier that I am not a big fan of trout, I will admit that some of that western mountain trout can almost resemble salmon in their size. As for deer season, there were 8 of them in my yard this morning, they are all yours.
 
Sep. 22, 2011 7:05 am
Never could figure out why this fish is so popular~ have tried it several times and I just don't care for it. I think it has an odd taste and I wondered if I had purchased something spoiled so I tried again and again, with the same results. And its not like I am picky, I like everything! As far as hockey goes... Go WINGS!!
 
Sep. 22, 2011 7:13 am
morning maddysmom - some do find the taste to be a bit offputting but some love it. There don't seem to be a lot of fencesitters on this topic.....and isn't cheering for the Wings kind of like cheering for the Yankees ? B-)
 
ellie 
Sep. 22, 2011 7:28 am
Never before has Tilapia been THIS interesting to me...This site is great for so many thought inspiring ideas be it a recipe or a favourite restaurant or authors from the south. Then there is the good natured ribbing among loyal sports fans...it's a smorgasbord here...something for everyone! While Tilapia itself doesn't inspire me much perhaps its the "side dishes" that take centre stage with this dish...sort of like all the interesting comments the blog topic has spurred. Thanks Doug.
 
Sep. 22, 2011 7:39 am
Love my Red Wings Doug! Detroit needs at least ONE positive thing going for it right??
 
Sep. 22, 2011 8:04 am
Hi ellie & thanks - I like to think of my blogs as starting points but comments can go wherever they like. I think that if someone takes the time to comment, it's only right to answer. In the course of normal conversation topics veer off tangentially so why not comments too ? I'm glad you stopped by.
 
Sep. 22, 2011 8:05 am
If I lived in the Detroit area maddysmom, I would be pretty excited about Matthew Stafford and the Lions right about now too.
 
Sep. 22, 2011 8:15 am
I live outside of Philadelphia now but old habits die hard. (Go Phil's) but my husband commented that the Lion's may actually win when they play on Thanksgiving this year!!
 
Sep. 22, 2011 8:17 am
Lucy, it really is all about the flavour for me, second is texture and finally appearance. In my household if you do not move your hand in time, I think some days I will have it bitten off. My guys do not eat with their eyes, so presentation is not usually important, except for special dinners. I do love Alaskan King crab, I picture them dining on plants down there:) Shrimp, well yes I eat them, but would not go far out of my way to buy them, unless they were on sale.
 
ellie 
Sep. 22, 2011 8:21 am
It's a sign of a good writer...to be thought provoking and entertaining at the same time.... Cheers! p.s. can't wait for hockey to start...drop the puck already!!!!!!!
 
Sep. 22, 2011 8:31 am
I bought a tilapia years ago, because it was cheap...I took it home, cooked it up and it tasted like mud. I don't care how cheap they are, you can't fix gross...and that's what tilapia is to me...gross. I'm lucky here where I live, we have a variety of different salmon, nice trout, seabass, ling cod, rock cod, halibut, steelhead and stugeon...I'm cool with all those, and will pass on tilapia.
 
Sep. 22, 2011 8:45 am
Philly ??? At least we can both hate the flyers maddysmom !
 
Sep. 22, 2011 8:47 am
Hi witchywoman - with that kind of variety available to you, why would you buy tilapia ? Thanks for checking in.
 
Sep. 22, 2011 8:48 am
Thanks ellie - now let's see if I can now get my inflated head through my ofice door and out for lunch....drop the puck !
 
Sep. 22, 2011 9:01 am
I didn't really know what it was when I bought it...thought I would try it out...this was before I had internet to look it up.
 
Sep. 22, 2011 9:08 am
I think my wife brought it home once witchywoman and we never saw it again.
 
Sep. 22, 2011 10:19 am
Great food for thought going on here. I've bought tilapia a few times, but it really needs a heavy dose of seasoning and we only use it grilled for fish tacos. It's not one I search for or buy very often. Halibut is our fave, and I'll pick it up several times when it's in season. Our local natural foods store has a small but great seafood dept that offers fresh fish only from the U.S., so we've tried some others that are pretty good, too (can't think of them to save my life at the moment!). And being Southern, I grew up with catfish and love it. But it's hard to get catfish in Wisconsin that doesn't come from another country, and the farm-raised stock from Alabama and Mississippi really is the best. Not that I'm biased or anything, of course. : )
 
Sep. 22, 2011 10:21 am
The head of the Aquaculture and Fisheries Dept. in the university where I teach told me at a luncheon one time to ALWAYS ask where tilapia comes from and to only eat the S. American stuff, as there is a good chance the Chinese stuff is bad. She also said that when you ask where the tilapia comes from and you are told it is domestic farm-raised to know that they are lying and getting it from China and to avoid it. So, like you, I don't eat tilapia at all, since I never loved it in the first place, but especially now that I realize how hazardous it may be. This woman also told me that, if you do buy it, it shouldn't be cheap - another tip off that it comes from China.
 
Sep. 22, 2011 10:49 am
Good afternoon wisweetp and thanks for checking in - tilapia seems to be a blank canvas which you can play with but isn't much else when it stands alone....and I just had a spicy thai crispy catfish for lunch that was so mushy, there is no way it was southern. I had a lot better in Mississippi last week.
 
Sep. 22, 2011 10:52 am
Hi HaroldsGirl - from what I read & looked up, it sounded like the South/Latin American tilapia while not great was a lot better than the chinese tilapia. They are both farm raised but it sounds like they are trying on the regulatory side. If I were to buy tilapia, frozen is the way I would most definitely avoid it. Come back again.
 
Sep. 22, 2011 10:59 am
LOVE flounder too. Can't get it anymore in the PNW. Pollution pretty much wiped most of it out. Love cod too!
 
Sep. 22, 2011 11:06 am
Once a year I have to go to Atlantic City for an industry conference and as soon as I can bolt out the doors, I go straight to The Lobster House in Cape May and buy a ton of seafood and I usually get about 3lbs of flounder that will still smell & taste fresh after I freeze it at home. My kids destroy it too. They really like it.
 
Sep. 22, 2011 2:01 pm
Living where I do, I get most of my fish from the boats that caught them. I also have the luxury of having a son who loves to trout fish. I will eat tuna from a can before any type of farmed fish, be it salmon, tilapia or shrimp. I understand the corelation with land based farming, but it is still different. I don't have Duffy's credentials, but I have always been aware that farm raised seafood is different (and not in a good way) from wild caught. If you compare wild caught and farmed catfish the difference is immediately obvious in the layer of fat on the farm raised. Yes, the fish I eat are expensive, but I offset it by scrimping on other things.
 
ursula 
Sep. 22, 2011 4:28 pm
...and to think 30 minutes ago I was just looking for a good hot & sour soup recipe! Interesting discussion. I ate tilapia once and it was pretty uneventful. Now I know why. The "tilapia loins" made quite an impression on me. Not all that different from the chicken that the majority of people are eating today...genetically engineered freak food with "large breasts" (there's a lob for the boys). I'll stick to my salmon and if that gets too costly I'll just hope I've found that hot & sour soup recipe :) Go Jets!
 
lovetocook 
Sep. 22, 2011 7:45 pm
Well, Well,Well, its not the fish its the cook. I like good ole crusty corn meal fried in Granola Oil, Tilapia. I used to always get Flounder, but it got so there was no taste,so I tried Tilapia and I like. Cat fish is next, but my very best is Trigger Fish, but I can't afford it often it is too expensive for my budget. Oh well I just love sea food period except squid. Also if you read about what, when and where, every thing came from and how it got here What would consume as food??? As long as I clean it and cook it I know what it is I will eat it if I can pronouce it. EAT UP AND ENJOY,
 
Sep. 22, 2011 7:51 pm
I avoid farmed fish. My husband was a commercial fisherman for years and there is no comparison to wild fish, whatever the variety. I'd rather eat less seafood than support fish farming. It's not good for the environment and it's not at all good for the fish, especially the native ones. My two cents.
 
Sep. 23, 2011 4:33 am
I am not a picky eater; I love all kinds of fish, but NOT tilapia. It is tasteless and the texture is all wrong. I'll spend a little extra and get cod anytime. Thanks for your research and blog. Now when I seem to be a minority tilapia hater, I can point to these facts and enlighten others.
 
Kudu 
Sep. 23, 2011 5:35 am
Most of us that are associated with aquaculture know that tilapia are the trash fish of the industry. They are bottom feeders and although the can be fed corn/soybean based feed they do even better on sewage. Most of us would never knowingly eat this fish
 
Sep. 23, 2011 5:50 am
Good morning BigShotsMom and thanks for comment. There doesn't seem to be a lot of gray area with people on this one. I had some obviously low grade catfish for lunch yesterday but the thai chili sauce it was in almost made up for the mushiness.
 
Sep. 23, 2011 5:55 am
Hi ursula - I hope you found that hot & sour soup recipe. I saw a mention in another blog here about cod loins. I may have to write another blog about non-existent food parts.....Winipeg or New York ?
 
Sep. 23, 2011 5:57 am
Hi lovetocook and thanks for checking in - I used to sell insurance to the food industry so I have seen how just about everything is made and I still eat most of it. I'm just a lot pickier about it.
 
Sep. 23, 2011 5:59 am
Good morning KATSINTHEKITCHEN and hats off to your husband. I have no idea how those commercial fishermen do it (despite the countless reality shows about them) but I am glad they do. Have a great day
 
Sep. 23, 2011 6:01 am
Good morning nursegirl - I appreciate you stopping by. I think you can see from the comments here that you may not be so much in the minority on tilapia. Have a great weekend
 
Sep. 23, 2011 6:03 am
Hi Kudu and thanks for stopping in - I did forget to mention in the article that some cities have actually brought in tilapia to help keep the waterways & inner city canals free & clear of algae and whatnot. Have a great one
 
Sep. 23, 2011 6:21 am
Very interesting Doug. I happen to like Tilapia because of the mild flavor and it is inexpensive when feeding a family of four on a tight budget. I add the flavor. However, when I have the opportunity to 'splurge', I would much rather have bass, salmon, orange roughy or almost any other fish. And I would never order it in a restaurant, it's definitely not that good. THE best fish I have ever eaten was a catfish that I caught myself, bottom feeder be darned! Thanks for your post.
 
Sep. 23, 2011 7:01 am
Good morning Afrika P - I can certainly understand making that food dollar stretch and tilapia and other fish like it can help shrink that gap. That's why we can appreciate a fish that can carry a sauce or coating. I'm glad you stopped by.
 
Elazul2k 
Sep. 23, 2011 2:13 pm
I do not like Tilapia simply because they ARE a farmed fish and will not eat ANY farmed fish. Wild caught is the only way to go IMHO. If I can catch it myself all the better too lol...
 
Sep. 23, 2011 2:52 pm
I believe it was celbrity food writer and chef, Mark Bittman who wrote in his book "Fish" that Tilapia is a dirty disgusting fish. Hmmm. It's the least-fish of all fish in that it has a mild taste, yes, but with the wave of seeking out Omega-3's in food, Tilapia is out as a healthy fish. It's not worth the gouging cost of it either as now everyone eats it. I wish we had more fish options. Somw of the better ones are not easy to find locally. Red Snapper wins over Tilapia with my palate nowadays.
 
Sep. 23, 2011 4:25 pm
We never eat Tilapia because, on the back of the bag, it ALWAYS says, "Product of China." We like its mild flavor, but I do NOT feed my family anything that is labeled as a product of China, ever. Now, last night, amazingly, I found Tilapia on clearance at Walgreens, and it is a product of the US. I bought 3 packages at $1.79/each and would have bought them all if our budget allowed any wiggle room. We steer clear of anything labeled as a product of China when it's for consumption, and I honestly believe everyone should. There are just not enough inspections done on those shipping crates.
 
Sep. 24, 2011 6:14 am
Wow Doug! I don't know how I missed this blog before now! We love fish at our house, in fact I made fish tacos last night for dinner, but I used cod. I don't like tilapia and not for any of the reasons you mention in this blog, I just never thought of tilapia as being "real fish" so never buy it. Now, I really dislike it! Thanks for sharing with us!
 
Sep. 24, 2011 6:21 am
I have never been a fish eater but my wife loves fish. Tilapia is the only fish about which she has said, "Don't fix this again". A few weeks later, the show, Dirty Jobs had an episode on fish farming and Tilapia is what was used to clean the bottom of the holding tanks. ... I wonder why so many people are loving Tilapia yet reject carp which is a much cleaner fish but of a texture the Hollywood chefs find unpleasant. Granted, carp is a bottom feeder but it is omnivorous- not just poo.
 
Sep. 24, 2011 9:51 am
Well, I thought tilapia was one of the reasonably priced fish that I could tolerate if smothered with enough corn meal breading and home made tartar sauce (heavy on the onion juice and dill). Hubby thinks it tastes muddy, even smothered with all the good and unhealthy stuff. I'll never buy it again. We've always thought the farmed salmon was kind of nasty, but I never considered the issue of farming other fish. We live two miles from the Columbia River, and wild-caught steelhead and salmon are probably our best bet in the search for those elusive Omega 3's. Thanks for the great info, Doug.
 
Sep. 24, 2011 10:58 am
Wow lot's of feedback on this one regarding Tilapia. Being a 50 year old avid fisherman, I can tell you that probably the best freshwater fish in the world would be golden trout that only breed above 8,000 feet and then you have to cook them while they are practically still alive. Outstanding flavor but probably a rare person has tasted it. Even Mountain cutthroat trout out of ice cold water are really good. Regarding Tilapia, when I was in Hawaii like four times I found a friend there that raises Tilapia in his little backyard pond, then found out they will invade a large mud puddle in the tropics and thrive so long as it doesn't drie out. Peacock bass from the tropics taste much better but many people have never had an opportunity to even taste it either. They have sooo much muscle on the line it's almost scary for a person who fishes for Large Mouth or Small Mouth bass in the lower 48. As for Tillapia, they can eat almost anything organic,(we were using flowers from the plumeria plants and raw red coffe beans to catch them.} So I guess everyone has to make their own determination about farm raised, I'm thinking that could be kind of nasty but knowing what I know I don't buy Tillapia anywhere as it's source is always a little suspect. That's what I know, thanks for a place to leave my opinion.
 
Sep. 24, 2011 11:46 am
Sorry hope I didn't post four times, I thought I could delete an old one after I corrected it. Chris
 
Sep. 24, 2011 12:13 pm
not a talapia fan, though I do try to serve fish twice a week, I try to avoid farm raised fish. I live less than two hrs from the Gulf of Mexico and am lucky enough to be able to stock my own freezer with speckled trout, redfish, flounder & pompano.
 
Sep. 24, 2011 1:34 pm
Doug, could you scream this from the rooftops?! Once I noted that the market was indeed flooded with this fish I set about researching it and found much of the same info as you presented here. My opinion is this fish (as it's being marketed) is bad for health, period. I tend to think of it as "government fish"... cheap, non-nutritional, and far too widely consumed. I don't eat in restaurants too often so I've never seen it on a menu - the idea is appalling! LOL, that ranks right up there with see "special tonight, leftovers"!! What?! :) (ps, this has to be one of the most well written blog posts I've seen anywhere on the internet!)
 
Sep. 24, 2011 1:37 pm
As a Michigander, I like lake fish...if I know who/where it was caught. It creeps me out to order fish in a restaurant since I don't know where the fish was caught. ...and I personally don't like seafood for the same reason. But TILAPIA = bottom feeder = carp. We don't eat carp...or catfish or any other 'cleaner' fish. BLECH! In fact, the State of Michigan puts out warnings against eating those fish due to the toxins, heavy metals and gee whiz, who knows what else they may have ingested.
 
Sep. 24, 2011 7:36 pm
never liked it myself
 
Sep. 24, 2011 9:25 pm
Think I'd rather eat a guppie. Tilapia has zero flavor. I want to try monkfish again, dripping in melted butter. Mmmmmmm...
 
Sep. 24, 2011 10:09 pm
Mild fish, so it doesn't bother me. I love making tilapia chowder and beer battered fish tacos with it.
 
Sep. 25, 2011 4:42 am
I made tilapia many times but I stopped buying it when I saw that it is farm raised in China. It seems to dissappear if used in chouder or other recipies. A low price fish I have been seeing often is wild caught pollock. Its very mild white fish, our v f w uses it on friday fish frys. Any thoughts on this fish?
 
Adrienne 
Sep. 25, 2011 6:21 am
I HATE tilapia. Yes, hate is a strong word. The last time I had tilapia I literally said to my husband and parents - "this is so disgusting...it's tastes like mildew & dirt" Whether it was just that one time or whether it tastes like that every time, i'm not sure? Every time I have had tilapia, that's the flavor i get..not appealing at all whatsoever! My husband and I usually try to eat fish once a week, whether it be salmon or haddock. He loves mahi mahi, me - not so much. I love fish tacos but the places around here (Maine) mostly use haddock in theirs which i prefer!
 
70w31 
Sep. 25, 2011 8:59 am
Just a note: Someone early in the post stated that flounder are bottom feeding fish. This depends on what you mean by bottom feeders. Flounder are ambush feeders. Yes they lay on the bottom but they do not root around in the muck for food. They blend in with the bottom and wait for unsuspecting fish, shrimp and other goodies to come by. If you are not eating flounder because of this, you don't know what you're missing!
 
Sep. 25, 2011 10:15 am
For me Tilapia is so mild, it has no taste what-so-ever. So if you're on a budget, and you are using it in a spicy stew/gumbo, or say in a sautee with Jerk or Blackened seasoning it works out fine to me. But if I want to taste the fish, forget it. I try not to worry too much about the Chinese, bottom feeding, nasty factor. If we looked too closely at the food chains of most of the meat or fish we cook with, we may all get pretty hungry fast.
 
twistedpairs 
Sep. 25, 2011 4:49 pm
After watching a show that featured disgusting jobs, I found out that Tilapia farms are also raising Sea Bass. No big deal, until you find out that the Sea Bass tanks drain their feces into the Tilapia tanks. The Tilapia then eat the "" off the bottom of the tank. So no thank you, I don't think I want to be eating "" fish!
 
DEEVA1 
Sep. 25, 2011 6:22 pm
Great information! Thanks for sharing. My Mother in Law warned us about the mercury levels in farm raised fish from China, so we don't eat it, but I had no idea that it had such low nutritional value as compared to other fish. I think that as consumers we have to get out of the habit of buying the cheapest product on the market and educate ourselves on healthy nutritious options to feed our families.
 
Sep. 25, 2011 6:33 pm
I cannot stomach Tilapia, regardless of how it's prepared. Tastes the way stale lake water smells...I cannot understand how it has gained such popularity, other than being inexpensive. Horrid, dirt-like flavor!
 
Gitano 
Sep. 26, 2011 3:57 am
Good morning Doug - I seriously need to catch up on my blog reading :) kudu and twisted pairs are spot on, Tilapia are the garbage fish of the Icthyology world...after watching Mike Rowe's Dirty Jobs about raising trout and that the Tilapia were just there to 'filter' the water by removing the waste from the trout - I swore I would NEVER eat Tilapia again..not that I liked it that much the few times I ate it...bland, small filets they were. Give me freshly caught Northern Pickerel (OO-YAH RNG!) and wild Pacific Salmon any day. Great blog Doug, from Tilapia to hockey even! :)
 
Sep. 26, 2011 5:36 am
Good morning Elazul2k and thanks for the comment. A fresh caught fish at the end of your own line always tastes the best.
 
Sep. 26, 2011 5:39 am
good morning Martin Sparks - Mark Bittman has a lot to say about a lot of things - Snapper is one of my favorites too. Thanks for stopping in.
 
Sep. 26, 2011 5:41 am
Good morning I ? allrecipes and thanks for dropping in - after my wife read my blog she went on a rant about "Made in China: - it seems the filter for our pool crapped out 6 years ahead of schedule and you guessed it - "Made in China" - the chinese are also trying to steal all the crawfish business from Looziana too.
 
Sep. 26, 2011 5:43 am
Hi Mother Ann - I'll forgive you for taking a day or two to read if you will forgive me for taking a day or two to answer your comment. I think tilapia could be free and I wouldn't buy it.
 
Sep. 26, 2011 5:45 am
good morning Mike Harvey - I have had a lot of people mention the Dirty Jobs episode to me as soon as I said the word tilapia. The problem with Carp is all perception - no one wants to eat a goldfish unless they are pledging a fraternity or something
 
Sep. 26, 2011 5:51 am
good morning PointerSister - living that close to the Columbia River, I could see how you could get more than spoiled when it comes to fresh seafood. Thanks for checking in.
 
Sep. 26, 2011 5:55 am
Good morning ReddYeti (Chris) - no worries on the multiples - the higher numbers help stroke my ego. Catching tilapia with flowers & coffee beans is funny - I remember catching catching "Dock Rockies" on the St. Lawrence River as a kid and all we had to do was drop in an unbaited hook. Very stupid fish. Stop by again - your opinion & comments are always welcome
 
Sep. 26, 2011 5:58 am
good morning GAHSMOMX3 - I get to travel down in the gulf region for business and I almost always have fresh gulf seafood - even last year after the BP Spill - I figured anything being served had to be inspected & inspected before it hit the table.
 
Sep. 26, 2011 6:02 am
Hi Michelle & thanks - I'll make you a deal - I'll stand on a rooftop screaming this one out if you will get on a rooftop and scream your last line out too. I also like your line about it being "government fish" though "government cheese" may take offense.
 
Sep. 26, 2011 6:04 am
good morning Denise D - I'm actually not surprised about the bottom feeder warnings for the great lakes - there are plenty of other great fish that you can catch & eat in your neck of the woods. Thanks for checking in.
 
Sep. 26, 2011 6:05 am
good morning Bill and thanks for your comment. I like it when someone gets straight to the point.
 
Sep. 26, 2011 6:06 am
Good morning JaynieG - I haven't eaten a guppie but I have eaten monkfish. Got an extra fork for that daydream ?
 
Sep. 26, 2011 6:07 am
Good morning - there are 2 sides to every coin (except for the one my older brother used to flip) and those are 2 great examples of where a fish like tilapia can be effectively used. Thanks for stopping by.
 
Sep. 26, 2011 6:09 am
good morning impellizzeri kitchen - I have to admit that I don't think I have ever had pollock but now I am going to keep an eye out for it. Any other readers have a comment/info on Pollock ?
 
Sep. 26, 2011 6:12 am
hi Adrienne - Hate is obviously a strong word but it sounds like an accurate word to me - I haven't tried haddock in a fish taco but the last time I was in Maine I had scallops instead of lobster too. Thanks for your opinion & comment.
 
Sep. 26, 2011 6:14 am
good morning 70w31 - I love flounder - I like to mix up 2 tbs of mustard with 1 tbs of mayo - salt pepper and parsley - spread over flounder fillets and then broil for a few minutes until topping starts to brown and the fish flakes with a fork - thanks for stopping in
 
Sep. 26, 2011 6:19 am
Hi cookininatl - I can't disagree that tilapia is an adequate filler fish. I really do think it can carry flavors & seasoning well. It sounds like you have found some ways to make it work.
 
Sep. 26, 2011 6:20 am
good morning twistedpairs - I will say no to the tilapia but I will say yes to sea bass though the price makes me say no more often than yes. Thanks for stopping in.
 
Sep. 26, 2011 6:22 am
good morning DEEVA1 - I don't disagree that we need to try and buy healthier but the economic realities of today don't always allow. I just wish there were higher standards for this fish so that it could be beneficial and cost friendly.
 
Sep. 26, 2011 6:23 am
good morning angela - It would seem from other comments above that you aren't the only one with that opinion. Thanks for stopping in.
 
Sep. 26, 2011 6:26 am
good morning Gitano - great to see you no matter when you stop by - I definitely approve of your fish choices even if I don't approve of your hockey choices B-)
 
kpro 
Sep. 26, 2011 9:07 am
US farmed talapia is on the "Seafood Watch" best choices list. Asian farmed is on the avoid list. http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/download.aspx
 
Sep. 26, 2011 10:27 am
I don't know what the big deal is about Tilapia eating . That's great! That they eat garbage and feces, whoa, ya gotta like that. I mean, my favorite fish bar none, hands down, every time, is Crab followed closely by Lobster. Both of them are bottom feeding garbage consuming feces loving fish. I like this blog because I've learne d alot about a fish I rather liked, tilapia. I didn't know about the China connection, nor the Omega6 oil, both of which are bad. Neither did I know that where I live in BC has one of the largest inland Tilapia farms in the world. The reason why all the Tilapia I've had has been so good is because it comes from right here. It's kind of a cool species.
 
Sep. 26, 2011 10:28 am
Good Lord, my first line should read " I don't know what the big deal is about Tilapia eating c r a p. I hate the AR censor, hear me you rat b a s t a r d machine?
 
Sep. 26, 2011 10:29 am
Hi kpro - thanks for checking in - I did see that list and referenced it in the blog. I do tend to get longwinded at times so I am not surprised you missed it.
 
Sep. 26, 2011 10:32 am
The AR censor doesn't make a lot of sense to me either Randy - it takes out every city name I write in every blog so I have to go back and edit them all back in. Kind of stinks when you write s many city related blogs as I do. I will admit that I did not know about the tilapia farm up in BC. If it's local, it's bound to better than than the chinese version.
 
Sep. 26, 2011 11:18 am
Hi, My hubby & I were both born & raised in St. Petersburg Florida. He never liked fish,& I was a picky fish eater (Grouper,red fish) freshwater (bass, pike) BUT, when we moved to Arkansas,We was talked into trying Catfish. Well we both loved it ! As far as talipia we both like it alot.I think that certain people who left lots of comments on this topic are simpley being food snobs AND need to expand their knowledge of animals/fish/ birds/etc.As almost all of them will eat,to put nicely (dirty food) As far as feeders hogs are concerned they are raised off the ground in cages. Feeder beef are fed recycled animal products. Feeder chickens were fed recycled feathers. So, pretty much all meat can be ify as far as clean eatting
 
ajunker 
Sep. 26, 2011 1:00 pm
Tilapia is in fact too fishy & difficult to cook. It seems no matter how I cook it there is the lingering fishy taste that I am just not a fan of. I do enjoy Orange Roughy, Red Snapper (which are unfortunately high in mercury and expensive), and Catfish which was at one time a comparable alternative to the fishy Tilapia as far as price when you want a much better taste and quality of fish to cook with. While my family likes Tilapia, I just can't get past the flavor and even the texture. Knowing now that the health benefits aren't there motivates me to quit buying this cheaper alternative and go back to catfish! Now I just need to cook up the 10+ pounds of Tilapia in my freezer! Thanks for the info!
 
Melissa 
Sep. 26, 2011 3:33 pm
I love to eat fish, all seafood, actually. After moving from the Seattle area, where fresh, "real" seafood is abundant, to the mid-west...where it isn't and the term "seafood" is used for catfish, turtle, alligator, and tilapia--- I decided to give catfish and tilapia a try. YUCK to the both of them. Hopefully the turtle and alligator will be better!
 
Sep. 27, 2011 5:18 am
Good morning Fyre Sprite and thank you for stopping by. We have had a few commenters who have said they liked the flavor of tilapia and I can't find fault with that. I am sure that there are foods & tastes that I like that you & your hubby don't or wouldn't care for. I choose not to eat tilapia not only because of the taste but also for it's lack of nutritional value. I have had to change my diet in the last few months and I don't have room in my life now for foods that aren't 100% there for me. I am glad you checked in and I hope you will come back again.
 
Sep. 27, 2011 5:30 am
good morning ajunker - I love catfish so I am all ears for any recipes or ideas that you may have. As for what to do with the tilapia in your freezer, I suggest you head over to "The Buzz" and post a recipe request. You will be amazed at the wealth of ideas, hints & tips that you will get. Thanks for checking in.
 
Sep. 27, 2011 5:36 am
Good morning Melissa and have you ever come to the right place for an alligator recipe - I never one to not take advantage of self promotion so not only can you have my alligator chili recipe - http://allrecipes.com/recipe/alligator-chili/detail.aspx - but you can also see a video where I make it - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyfwUdD8P4g - let me know if you give it a try and thanks for checking in.
 
LuV2cooK 
Sep. 27, 2011 9:19 am
I live on one of the Great Lakes, in Upper Michigan, so it's easy to get fresh fish. I first tried tilapia a few years ago and I think it's the worst tasting fish I have ever had. Tastes horrible. No amount of seasoning, breading or tartart sauce can help it. I agree with Christie who said it tastes like dirty lake water. I have had friends who said they like it, but I think it's for people who don't want their fish to taste like fish.
 
ursula 
Sep. 27, 2011 9:56 am
...I'm a little slow on the line here Doug but thanks for responding. I thought you had penned "tilapia loins" somewhere along the way - my mistake. I must confess that I do enjoy your writing style and sense of humour (note spelling that indicates Winnipeg, and not NY) and will look forward to a potential commentary on genetically engineered animal parts. Go Jets!
 
raysmom 
Sep. 27, 2011 10:55 am
When I saw a tilapia "farm" it was at an alligator "farm" in Colorado and the filthy conditions turned me off of any farm raised fish. It was really gross! I will eat wild caught anything, but no farm raised for me. Interesting blog.
 
Sep. 27, 2011 3:57 pm
Good evening LuV2cooK - you may be on to something there. people can somewhat tell themselves they are eating fish without really eating fish. I appreciate your stopping by.
 
Sep. 27, 2011 4:01 pm
Welcome back Ursula and I love those new Jets jerseys & logo. How are the folks up there reacting to it ? How does it feel for Canada to "steal" a 2nd team from Atlanta ? And yes, I said "tilapia loins" - anatomically impossible but people will buy it. It seems other fish have "loins" too based on what I read in another blog. I don't think that Darwin ever anticipated that kind of a development. Good luck this season. Let's Go Rangers !
 
Sep. 27, 2011 4:03 pm
Hi raysmom and thanks. A gator farm in Colorado ? I wish I had known that back when I lived there. Of course that was 25 years ago so I doubt it was around. I appreciate your stopping by with a comment. Come back again.
 
Sep. 27, 2011 6:39 pm
I just found your blog and I'm really enjoying reading it...thanks! I agree with you on Tilapia (I guess Tilapia is to seafood as Flank Steak is to beef!?!) Doug, what are your thoughts on Swai...and I totally agree with you regarding seafood from China (my fishmonger will ONLY by bay scallops from China...urgh!!!) Glad I found you!
 
gr8gourmets 
Sep. 27, 2011 11:00 pm
Yes I agree farmed Tilapia should not be imported from anywhere, but most farmed fish would be harmfull to the ecosystem if they got out. Farmed salmon would most likely change the genetic make-up of wild salmon and so on. To be sure I have never met anyone who likes Tilapia. I tried to make it three different ways and all were failures. So Tilapia ranks down there with the California version of Snapper which is otherwise known as a Rockfish. Try the snapper from Florida. It is something like Monkfish in that its taste and texture is akin to lobster or crawfish. However I do dissagree with the comment about Flank Steak. Flank Steak can be pounded out thin and marrinated to make excellent Korean, Chinese, and Fajita dishes.
 
Sep. 28, 2011 5:49 am
If Tilapia has been scientifically engineered to no longer resemble the same fish in the wild, you should also consider what has been done to our chicken, beef, pork and vegetables.
 
dransom 
Sep. 28, 2011 7:45 am
I never cared for Tilapia either, and I am a seafood lover! I also seem to recall an episode of "Dirty Jobs" where Mike Rowe worked at a Tilapia farm, which turned me off this dirty fish even more.
 
Sep. 28, 2011 10:29 am
nope we DO NOT eat/buy tilipia here...if i don't catch it (bass crappie or brim) we buy/eat catfish or salmon.
 
Sep. 28, 2011 12:46 pm
I vote YES for talapia. Maybe it's because I don't know any better. LOL. :) I like the fact that it is mild flavour so it'll take on any sauce I dunk it in. My husband, who is a picky eater but maybe not the most sophisticated taste, likes it as well. So, it's a definite win for this family! I thought someone needs to take a stand for these poor little fishies.
 
MEL ;D 
Sep. 28, 2011 10:17 pm
ok so this makes me worry why talapia is becoming so popular and yet people dont seem to like it much!!!!hhmmmm :/ i know that this fish gets a bad rap,but i know talapia is used over in Greece and there simple but same ingredients are strong but living in a fish state&beach-town (CALIFORNIA),fish is fresh here & salmon is disappearing out of fish stores!! huh?? this oily fish is no taco meat for sure!!! thanks Doug, i never comment on blogs but this is very interesting and now i think i will ask tomorrow at the wharf whats -up !!!! :D mel
 
str8ballin87 
Sep. 29, 2011 2:47 am
my favorite fish! baked with butter and lemon pepper or fried with some andys fish fry mmmmmm :) i have noticed some fish taste like 'mud' or 'dirt' but i dont think its the species of fish, because ive tried the same fish other times and tasted amazing, i think it depends where it is raised/farmed? maybe? not sure tho
 
Sep. 29, 2011 4:56 am
Good morning stj & thanks - I haven't heard of or tried swai - I guess it's time for me to do some more research - I appreciate the tip
 
Sep. 29, 2011 4:59 am
Good morning gr8gourmets - I agree, farm raised in the wild will always change the species. I think that is true for land, sea & air. And I am with you on flank steak - versatile, carries a spice or sauce well, in expensive....hmmm, sounds a little like.....but much tastier
 
Sep. 29, 2011 5:12 am
Good morning ToriAthensGA - I don't deny for a minute that science continues to change the what & the way we eat. But with seafood, unlike chicken, pork & beef, there are just so many better alternatives than tilapia. Thanks for checking in.
 
Sep. 29, 2011 5:15 am
good morning dransom - it seems a lot of people saw that episode of Dirty Jobs and it left quite an impact. Have a great day.
 
Sep. 29, 2011 5:16 am
Good morning gderr - I wish I had the chance to fish a little more often. My boss is a big fisherman and I have had the good fortune in sharing in some of his success. Fresh caught is always the best.
 
Sep. 29, 2011 5:23 am
Good morning LazerWonder - you are in the minority here but it seems that you like it for exactly the reason that a lot of people like. It carries other flavors. Baked chicken is plain too but we dress it up in a lot of different flavors and no one complains. I'm glad you found something that works for your family and those little fishies thank you.
 
Sep. 29, 2011 5:26 am
Hi mel and thank you for commenting on my blog. The popularity of tilapia is somewhat baffling when looked at closer but then again, there are a lot things that society likes that really aren't all that great for us like the New York Yankees or Dallas Cowboys just to name two. Stop back again and let me know what they are saying down at the wharf. I would be interested to know.
 
Sep. 29, 2011 5:30 am
good morning str8ballin87 - it sounds like you know what you like and how you like it. I would agree with you about where the fish is farmed/raised and also how that fish is farmed/raised makes a big difference in the taste. Thanks for stopping in.
 
Oct. 2, 2011 10:52 am
i think the best cat fish is "Iridescent shark" called "swai" fish and that is a species of shark catfish from Thailand, it has a mild flavor that catfish does not have. As far as Tilapia, It is OK, but I still prefer flounder or blow fish.
 
Oct. 3, 2011 5:31 am
Good morning KingSparta and thank you for the update on SWAI. My local grocery store did not have any this weekend when I went to go look for it. Thanks for checking in.
 
Oct. 3, 2011 5:20 pm
By the way I got the SWAI from wal-mart. Never had it before but it was good.
 
Oct. 9, 2011 4:01 pm
Doug ask your grocery stores' fishmonger to get Swai...it's becoming pretty popular near me (Mass.)and not hard to get (according to my fish "guy")...I think you will like it more then Tilapia
 
Kaley 
Oct. 9, 2011 6:48 pm
I actually like Talapia. We dip it in an egg wash then coat it with fish fry flour and heavily season it. Then we'll fry it in a big skillet. My other fave: a big ole slab of salmon with some butter, pepper, and lemon. Yummy! I do have a BIG problem with EVERYTHING thats "made in china" including fish. If all the grocers carry is Chinese fish, I will make chicken instead. Takes up time, money, and patience, but is worth it. They have MUCH looser restrictions on these kind of things compared even to us! Geez, how low can they get! ;) Seriously though, SOMETHING needs to change.
 
MEL ;D 
Oct. 18, 2011 11:15 pm
lol there are a lot things that society likes that really aren't all that great for us like the New York Yankees or Dallas Cowboys just to name two. THATS SOO FUNNY HEY ROMO IS TRYING TO WIN A GAME WITH A BUNCH OF ROOKIEs & "seasoned players" well the word at the warf is Greece MEDITERRANEAN AREA NEEDS MONEY!!! dont get me started :/ but i have looked up& tried some recipes with TILIPIA not to bad,but u need to use a Greek recipe is better!!! stronger spices :)mel
 
Dec. 29, 2011 1:46 pm
Well, I love the Chargers. So Thumbs down there. But, totally agree with the tilapia. I just moved from San Diego and can't fathem someone actually putting tilapia on a fish taco? Never heard of this! The only time i've used tilapia is as a substitute for fried catfish, but was horrified to see that Tilapia as well as so many other fishes now come from China. This is a HUGE problem for me. Now not living near an ocean it is an impossible task. Having to shop at Walmart now that i'm in Walmarts home state (because it is the ONLY option!) Even the "Wild Alaskan Salmon" is processed in China! WTF.
 
Jan. 2, 2013 9:36 am
I HATE it! For years I have been calling it a pretend fish. No substance just plain ,plain! Good blog!
 
Jan. 3, 2013 4:32 am
Thank you Icooknow. I never order it and personally, I think i would rather eat dirt.
 
nowhre22 
Oct. 15, 2013 5:34 pm
I am not a true fish eater, but I have come to like cod as it's used in a lot of fish n chip meals. I also don't like Tilapia. It's like as soon as I eat it, it's gone. I want to chew smething and I want to like the taste I just don't get a good feel when I eat it.
 
nowhre22 
Oct. 16, 2013 2:12 am
Let's be clear I like to bake cod too
 
 
 
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Doug Matthews

Home Town
Princeton, New Jersey, USA
Living In
Mendham, New Jersey, USA

Member Since
Mar. 2000

Cooking Level
Expert

Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Southern, Healthy, Kids, Quick & Easy

Hobbies
Gardening, Reading Books, Music, Charity Work

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About Me
My mother decided early on that her sons would never have to rely on someone to feed them so we all learned to cook at an early age. I really started to branch out when I moved out west to Denver, SF & Dallas. Combine that with extended business travel to Louisiana & my growing love of spices and you get a real mix of flavors.
My favorite things to cook
Love to make cajun food with my favorites being crawfish pie, alligator stew & alligator chili - I go nuts on Super Bowl Sunday
My favorite family cooking traditions
We didn't have a lot of traditions per se but you could count on pancakes or waffles on sundays - dad making scrambled eggs twice a year on christmas morning & mother's day - veal parmagiana on christmas eve, Thanksgiving with Grandma Matthews and any menu of your choice on your birthday. We weren't a spicy family so I learned a lot of good strong basics in the kitchen from Mom that I have carried over into my cooking today.
My cooking triumphs
I love to experiment with variations of dishes I try around the country. My biggest success is here on allrecipes where I had 2 recipes published in the same cookbook - Southwestern Turkey Soup & Curried Carrot Soup. I think my corn muffins are a great starting point and my alligator chili has become a much requested Super Bowl favorite.
My cooking tragedies
There have been a few times in the past where I tossed everything and took everyone to a restaurant instead. I'm not too proud to say my cooking is awful when it really is.
 
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