Bad name…

I do remember eating ikan patin in my growing up years but I cannot recall how my mum used to cook it. Perhaps that was the fish that she used to cook with ginger in soy sauce, the one with the black wobbly skin that I liked a lot.

However, eventually, people started farming the fish and it had that horrible mud smell – they said that it was because the fish ponds did not have running water – so we stopped buying and eating it altogether. Another fish that shared the same fate was the ikan sultan

I am very wary about buying it these days as I would not know how to tell the difference – whether it is the farmed variety or not and whether it has that mud smell or not.

In the meantime, those (cheap) frozen fish fillet made their appearance at the supermarkets here. Some call it dory, some call it white fish but whatever it is, it is what they will cook for you when you go to a Chinese restaurant or chu-char (cook & fry) place or when you go for your favourite chao chai hung ngang (with fish)…

…at a coffee shop or when you go for a plate of fish and chips…

…at some classy café or restaurant.

It is quite tasteless so whether it is nice or not will depend on how and what it is cooked with. Unfortunately, I had had the displeasure of eating what they call dory with a jelly-like texture and an unpleasant smell – probably, this is some kind of imitation and one really can’t tell when it is not sold as a whole fish.

Anyway, this…

…has taken the town by storm lately – pangasius from Vietnam.

The lady at one of the neighbourhood shops in the next lane did ask me to buy…twice but both times, I said no. As far as I know, this is also called dory (not to be mistaken with the John Dory in New Zealand) and for want of a more unique name, catfish in the US! Eventually, my sister told me that she had been buying and cooking it and she said it was very nice.

I still was not convinced and it was my missus who went and bought a pack…

I told her to cook chao chai (fermented preserved vegetables) soup…

…with it with lots of our traditional Foochow red wine…

…and yes, it was very very nice and yes, I did enjoy it to the max as well with its fish texture, no smell whatsoever and very delightful taste.

Some of you may have heard of the bad press this fish has been receiving from the catfish people in the USA – well, what’s new? Haven’t they been saying all kinds of things about all kinds of things to support/protect their own industries? Well, if you’re one of them and have your doubts about this ikan patin from Vietnam, you can watch this Channel News Asia documentary– I am sure you will find everything you want to know about the fish.

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

5 thoughts on “Bad name…”

  1. As what I heard of, another fish that has the mud smell is tilapia fish. Must buy those from Batang Ai which is good and doesn’t have mud smell. I am not a fan of those frozen fish fillet sold at the supermarket. The fish cook with chao chai looks so meaty, so good and tempting.

    I never buy those frozen fish fillet but will eat those they use to cook their dishes in the Chinese restaurants. They usually deep fry first plus I think they know which to buy or their supplier gives them the good ones – no jelly-like texture, no smell.

    Yes, thank goodness for Batang Ai – now we can buy fresh farmed fish, no mud smell -see my reply to Tekkaus below.

  2. Very difficult to get freshwater fish minus the mud smell…perhaps it all boils down to how you prepare and cook your fish. 🙂

    Here, we are blessed with the huge lakes at the Batang Ai Dam – they have used them to farm fish, the most popular being the tilapia. With the running water there, no mud smell…and we can even get the fish at the market here ALIVE! So fresh!

  3. Ohh I had this several weeks ago then I read somewhere that its a highly toxic fish specially if it comes from Mekong River as they are exposed to dangerous levels of mercury.

    Watch the documentary! They are very careful about this and it is true what they said – it’s their livelihood and their lives depend on it so surely they would not want to destroy it all just for a few measly bucks.

    Well, much has been said about the farmed salmon from Chile and Norway too – so much that I am quite wary about eating it, maybe once in a while only, dunno about the ones from New Zealand – we do not get those here.

  4. I used to eat a lot of dory because it was so cheap but I stopped after reading about how they are farmed. So I don’t eat them anymore. I am quite hopeless in identifying fish LOL!

    If it is this patin from Vietnam, it is quite safe – you can watch the Singapore documentary, don’t just listen to rumours. Everybody is such an expert – they all think they know best but ignorance is bliss!!!

    We may have our own farmed ones – I would think twice about those as we can never be sure. Freshly caught wild ones should be o.k. but generally I am not a great fan of patin. It’s a fatty fish, Omega 3 but too fatty for my liking.

  5. I spy crinkle cut fries! Hubby loves those!

    Yes, I do love those too but most importantly. the potatoes they use much be the rich and creamy type. Some are not so nice.

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: