It’s no secret that catfish is a food staple for much of Mississippi.
As of 2021, Mississippi farmers raised 58% of U.S.-grown catfish with most of that number coming from within a 65-mile radius of Belzoni, commonly referred to as “The Catfish Capital of the World.”
That being said, restaurateur and food columnist Robert St. John is encouraging people to make sure what they’re eating is actually U.S.-grown catfish.
“You need to know that a lot of places these days aren’t using farm-raised catfish,” St. John said during a recent appearance on The Gallo Show. “Of course, we prefer Mississippi farm-raised catfish…but a lot of places these days are using Vietnamese [fish] called basa.”
According to St. John, who formerly owned the 589 Family Fish House, a surprising number of restaurants are now using basa, an imported Vietnamese knockoff species, and calling it catfish.
“If you’re in your catfish house, find out what they are serving, because there’s a huge difference — not only do we need it for the economy but it just tastes better,” St. John said.
The full interview with St. John can be watched below.