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Basa, bocourti, bocourti fish; swai (Pangasius bocourti; P. hypophthalmus)

Basa, bocourti, bocourti fish; swai
Basa, bocourti, bocourti fish; swai

Scientific name for Basa, bocourti, bocourti fish; swai

Pangasius bocourti; P. hypophthalmus

Common name(s) for Basa, bocourti, bocourti fish; swai

Basa, basa catfish; swai, tra, Vietnamese catfish

Market name

Basa, bocourti, bocourti fish; swai

Other language names for Basa, bocourti, bocourti fish; swai

  • French: Poisson-chat du Mékong
  • German: Haiwels
  • Italian: N/A
  • Japanese: N/A
  • Spanish: N/A

Introduction to Basa, bocourti, bocourti fish; swai

When commerce with Vietnam restarted in 1994, US seafood merchants began exporting fillets of basa, or bocourti, a Vietnamese catfish. However, the majority of what is marketed on the market as basa nowadays is not basa. P. bocourti, the real basa, is one of 21 species of catfish in the Pagasiidae family found across Southeast Asia. For decades, Cambodian and Vietnamese fish farmers have caged basa along the Mekong River. However, P. hypophthalmus, or swai, locally referred to as tra, has developed into the favored farmed species. Swai, which is inferior to basa but easier to grow, has been sold as China sole, river cobbler, and even basa, further confusing naïve consumers. Also known as catfish, it was quickly adopted as a low-cost substitute for farmed animals in the United States. However, such labeling is no longer permitted, since the Food and Drug Administration has determined that only species of the genus Ictaluridae may be marketed as genuine catfish.

Product Profile for Basa, bocourti, bocourti fish; swai

Basa is a delicious fish with a delicate texture and pleasant white flesh. The Mekong’s fast-flowing rivers impart a clean, fresh taste to the meat. Tra has a rougher, grainier texture than genuine basa. True basa may be distinguished from tra based on look. Basa fillets are lighter in color than tra fillets, which are typically beige in hue. Tra fillets are narrower than basa fillets as well.

Nutrition for Basa, bocourti, bocourti fish; swai


Calories: 90
Fat Calories: 36
Total Fat: 4 g
Saturated Fat: 1.5 g
Cholesterol: 45 mg
Sodium: 50 mg
Protein: 13 g
Omega 3: N/A

Cooking tips for Basa, bocourti, bocourti fish; swai

Basa is a versatile fish with mild flesh that can take on various flavors while yet being tasty enough to stand on its own in basic recipes. It stays moist during the cooking process. The application determines whether real basa or less expensive tra fillets should be used. Choose the less costly option if you want a fish that you can bake and fry for a buffet line, for example. Try the real basa if you want to show off an exotic but still inexpensive fish.

Cooking methods for Basa, bocourti, bocourti fish; swai

Bake, Broil, Fry

Primary Product Forms for Basa, bocourti, bocourti fish; swai

Fresh: Fillets (skinless/boneless)

Frozen: Fillets (skinless/boneless)

Value-added: Portions, Strips, Breaded

Global Supply for Basa, bocourti, bocourti fish; swai

Vietnam, Iran