Pangasius Hypophthalmus – commonly known as Swai or Tra – has lean and bright white flesh and offers a delicate texture and mild flavour. Swai flesh is considered to have a slightly stronger flavour and softer texture than its close cousin – Pangasius Boucorti.
Swai is a river Catfish and one of 28 species in the Pangasiidae family. In comparison to its cousin – Pangasius Bocourti – Swai is easier to farm, less costly to raise and quicker to grow. Consequently - Swai does not command as high a price. Both Basa and Swai are scale-less fish and have stout and heavy bodies. They have round, broad heads with blunt snouts that have a white band on the muzzle. Both species are usually harvested when they are about 2 to 3 pounds.
Pangasius are native to the tropical waters of the Mekong River Delta in Vietnam and the Chao Phraya River basin in Thailand. Both Pangasius Hypophthalmus (Swai) and Pangasius Bocourti (Basa) are thriving in the aquaculture industry in Asia.
Commercial farming of river Pangasius in Southeast Asia has a strong potential to be sustainable - however, current use of open cage aquaculture systems along with little or no management creates conservation concerns. Catfish farmed in the US are considered more environmentally responsible.