Last night I stopped by Sun Fat Seafood on Mission at 23rd and found, in addition to their usual selection of snappers (labeled New Zealand, Pacific, some others), what was labeled "Wild Ocean True Red Snapper (Huachinango)." They were about 1.5lbs each before cleaning, at a cost of $4.99 a pound. I went ahead and bought one and baked it whole with S&P, lemon, and olive oil.
The fish was a tiny, tiny bit unfresh and fishy-fragrant, though that might have been the result of waiting for the Muni ride home. Otherwise it was extremely delicious, with a chewy, meaty texture.
I'm not sure that I've ever had true red snapper before, and I've certainly never bought any at a fishmonger. Any way I can determine if it was, in fact, a true red? I grew up eating the common pseudo Pacific Red Snapper that is sold at just about every supermarket in California, and I know for certain that it was not that fish. I couldn't find a good photo online via Google, and I haven't yet bought a digital camera so I can't show you a picture.
Also, if it was a true red, is their population sustainable? In other words, am I doing good to the environment if I buy more?
On another note, I was dismayed to learn that the striped bass that I have been buying at Sun Fat is farmed. At least now I understand what Patricia Unterman is talking about when she describes farmed seafood as having a "muddy" flavor, as I have always noticed a bit of that with the bass from there.