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Is there ever a reason NOT to buy fish still living?

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Is there ever a reason NOT to buy fish still living?

adam | Jan 8, 2003 08:31 PM

So the other day I entered a supermarket (in New York's Chinatown, but it could have been anywhere) that sold a number of fish still swimming more or less happily in tanks.

Tilapia was on sale, $2.99/lb, so I bought a two-pounder, requesting it killed, gutted, and scaled. The resulting corpse had beautiful uncloudy eyes, superfirm flesh, and no smell.

At home, after a 20-minute light salting, I panfried the thing to get a crispy skin and juicy flesh, then gobbled it w/o sauce or garnish. Perfect.

Now, living or dead, this is a REALLY low price to pay for amazing whole fish in NYC (the tanks also contained stripped bass, shrimp, sea slugs, and many other watery denizens).

I want to know, is there ever a reason to buy dead fish when you can get the same variety live? For example, could some upscale market carry a better quality of dead fish than you'd see swimming in Chinatown (i.e., a wild fish instead of a farm-raised one, or something)?

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