Not all Catfish is Catfish

I chose to eat at Homeside restaurant, on Old Huntsville Rd, last Friday when they had all you can eat Catfish, or that's what was stated.  I did ask where the catfish was from and what was revealed was that the whole catfish was from a Mississippi Catfish farm but it was the boneless filets that I was interested in and was sorry to hear that it was an Asian fish from Vietnam or Thailand.  It was truly boneless and was said to be "like catfish" and for someone that didn't know they might very well believe it was catfish if they didn't ask.

As for me maybe I shouldn't have ask because, maybe it was set in my mind, it just didn't taste right to me and certainly didn't taste like the catfish filets I get at Swamp John's and at Newburns.  It wasn't near as good.  Homeside usually has a lot of business but at least know that if you go and order boneless that you are getting something other than USA Catfish.

Now regarding catfish, specifically filets, I have found that not only does Swamp Johns give you the best value for your money (barring any all you can eat places or offers) and also is some of the best tasting.  Newburns is very good catfish and you can get filets and whole catfish, which you cannot do at Swamp Johns, but Newburns will cost you quite a bit more for what you get also.

There are lots of places around the Shoals where you can get catfish but only one can I say was completely inedible and horrible and that came from Cracker Barrel.   I like Cracker Barrel's Cod Fish that is a Friday Special but I can honestly say, for my part and opinion, Cracker Barrel served me the worst catfish, by far, of any  place I've ever ordered catfish at. 

Be as the Bereans ( Acts 17:11 )
Original Post

I wouldn't touch them even if I ate catfish. You may be eating the ones fed p o o p.

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Question: “How do you tell farmed and wild fish apart?”

Answer: “The farmed fish is cross-eyed from staring up at the outhouse.”

Though they are today raised like most farmed fish, Pangasius’s domestication did start under the privy. After they were introduced by peasants into their “latrine ponds,” Pangasius rooted around in, well, let’s call it “decaying organic matter,” to obtain their fodder. When large enough, the fish were sold domestically on the Mekong’s floating markets.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10...ine/12catfish-t.html

Several years ago , there was a law suit filed by Mississippi Catfish Farmers pertaining to the labeling of fish, namely Catfish. 
As I remember it, the Asians were selling something they called "catfish" that was actually a different species , but had similar texture and flavor. One such fish is Pagliana (could be misspelled) , and I see it served around town , like in Chinese restaurants. At least where I have seen it served it is labeled as such.
But, back to the law suit,  As I remember it , it is illegal to label any fish as "catfish" unless it is , in fact, catfish. Also, there is a sign in most if not all restaurants that sell fish , stating that the country of origin has to be disclosed on all fish products  if they are asked.
So, I guess that means , it is up to us, the consumer , to ask.

Still , IMHO, the closer you get to Pickwick Dam, the better the catfish .
And Bill Bellos's Botel is up for auction .

 

unclegus posted:

Catfish is not my favorite but when I eat it I at least expect it to be homegrown. I refuse to eat anything farmed in China or from Asia.

 

Who knows what they feed those fish on their Asian farms.. I read the label for Origin of fish if buying frozen in grocery store.  seafood is OK, if its caught in the wild & hope for the best, in their processing & handling procedures.

From Local waters, Blue & Mud Catfish are my favorite.. Believe it or not, Mud Catfish are very clean tasting fish, more so than the Blues, but its been a long time since I caught one. Don't care for Yellow, Channel, or Bullhead Catfish..

I probably have eaten farmed channel catfish at restaurants and never noticed a big taste difference. 

I can remember, back from the 1980's, when I worked for TVA, at the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant, driving home by a boat ramp where a fisherman who caught fish and sold them would bring in a huge load of Shovel Bill catfish, which I understand is now illegal to catch and/or sell due to their numbers.  At that time the fisherman did give me a couple of his fish to try and encouraged me, no warned me to cut the red line of meat out of the fish and that it would be the best catfish I had ate.  The red meat he referred to was, I suppose, like fat in beef but regardless I obeyed and cut it out when we dressed them and prepared them to cook.  These shovel bill catfish were boneless and only had a cart ledge that ran their length so there was no bones to contend with.

I can honestly say that those fish were the best tasting catfish that I had ever eaten and I only wish they were available today as they were then.  As for river caught catfish I have always been told that the river is so polluted not to trust any river caught fish regardless of the variety but I believe they mostly mean fish that live and generally eat from the bottom of the rivers and catfish are one of those variety. 

I have eaten and still do, when given a chance, eat Crappie and Stripe and love the taste of those fish when I get a chance to eat them.  I'm surprised that some of the people that run the catfish farms don't farm Crappie as well but then I don't know too much about the river variety of fish.  I've also heard that bass is a good tasting river fish but It's been a long time since I have tried those.  Mostly the only river fish I eat is catfish and I usually try to obtain the kind from Catfish farms in Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, or Georgia.  Locally I usually eat at Swamp Johns due mainly to their quality of fish and their prices.   Another river/lake/stream fish that I really like is Trout when I can find it.

As for "seafood" I very much enjoy Tilapia, Cod, Flounder, Haddock, Pollock and Whitefish but my favorite is Red Snapper when I can find it and around here Georges is the only place I know of that sells the gulf Red Snapper, on their seafood platter.  I also love gulf Shrimp, Crab, Clams and Lobster depending on where it's served and who serves it.  

As for seafood I believe that Red Lobster has greatly improved since they were bought out, not too long ago, and have greatly improved their quality and portion size that they give you.  Years ago, along with Captain D's, I would chose Long John Silvers to patronize but so many of those have closed down that although the closest one is in Lawrenceburg, TN I don't ever eat there because they changed their fish supplier and, in my opinion, not for the better.  If I'm choosing a fast food type seafood restaurant it's going to be Captain D's.   As for Catfish, back to the title of my original post, I like Swamp John's best followed closely by Champy's for great tasting filets and for whole catfish, whenever I chose that form of catfish I choose Newburns but Newburns is, in my personal opinion too expensive.   I used to eat at Outpost 72 when they were open and thought they had good Catfish and I've heard, but never tried, that the State Park's restaurant at Joe Wheeler had a very good Friday and Weekend Fish Buffet but with all the budget cutbacks I don't know if they are still I business or serving their buffets like they did years ago. 

I have heard Crappie is not a game fish, but I don't know if that's true or not. If it is, that might explain why they don't deal with Crappie. Red Snapper is sold in a lot of places but I don't know if it is Gulf Red Snapper. Hibachi Japanese Steakhouse sells Red Snapper and Red Lobster has sold Red Snapper in the past but only at certain times of year. Legend's Steakhouse menu list the Red Snapper they sell as Gulf Red Snapper: http://www.legendssteakhouse.com/menu0812b.php. You can find the Red Snapper under Fish Market.

riverzurinsky posted:

I have heard Crappie is not a game fish, but I don't know if that's true or not. If it is, that might explain why they don't deal with Crappie. Red Snapper is sold in a lot of places but I don't know if it is Gulf Red Snapper. Hibachi Japanese Steakhouse sells Red Snapper and Red Lobster has sold Red Snapper in the past but only at certain times of year. Legend's Steakhouse menu list the Red Snapper they sell as Gulf Red Snapper: http://www.legendssteakhouse.com/menu0812b.php. You can find the Red Snapper under Fish Market.

I have always been under the assumption that Crappie, along with Brem, and Bass are all game fish and cannot be legally sole., unless the law has changed in recent years . 
There is , however, one place where it is legal to sell Crappie, and I can remember when I was a kid , quite a few restaurants had crappie as their special, and that is Realfoot Lake . 
However, it seems to me that that lake is shrinking , and I don't know if that is still true.

 

The shovel bill or spoon bill catfish is a type of sturgeon. Its now farmed for its roe, which is similar to caviar, but much cheaper. Love the red snapper at George's.  The menu claims its from the gulf.  As to crappie, its wild caught and sold at a number of fish fries, especially to support a number of activities like volunteer fire departments and veteran's organizations.  I've eaten my share of crappie.

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