The new hot fish in the UK: basa. Yes, last year Britons ate 555 tons of a fish you’ve never heard of. (Unless you’ve been reading Chowhound, that is.) According to the Daily Telegraph, sales this year of the catfish, which is farmed in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, were 42 times higher than the previous year. It’s still well behind threatened species like cod—54,000 tons consumed last year, although that’s a drop of 12 percent—but the meteoric rise suggests shops and customers are finally turning away from traditional but endangered species. The Telegraph says that “sales of the fish—which is known as basa, tra or panga—are increasing at a far faster rate than any other species.”
For the English, who often just want mild, tender-fleshed fish for frying, basa seems like a godsend. Or possibly, it might be just the same old story: The Monterey Bay Aquarium, which labels basa a “good alternative,” has some significant questions about how the fish is farmed in the Mekong.