Saturday, June 23, 2012

Word of the Week - Salmon


What makes salmon orange? What is the difference between farmed salmon and wild salmon, in terms of nutrients and price? Where can you buy wild salmon? How do you know if what you've paid for is wild or farmed? 

These questions have been twirling in my head for quite some time now, and this post is an aggregate of my desktop research findings plus conversations with chefs and fishmongers.

First question - how to pronounce salmon? Sell-mon? Sull-mon? Actually, the L is silent, so it's Sau-mon. Like "palm" and "psalm" where you don't sound the L. (Did you know Thailand is pronounced Tai-land, not Thigh-lern?)

The actual colour of salmon flesh ranges from white to pink to orange, depending on the level of asthaxanthin, something that the wild salmon fish get from feeding on crustaceans (shrimps, lobsters, etc..). Those that are farmed are fed with an orange dye (how horrid is that?!) so they look like wild salmon!

More than 80% of salmon in the market are farmed, some sites say up to 90%. If it's an Atlantic salmon, it is highly likely a farmed one. Any nutritional differences? Loads. Farmed salmon are far inferior, providing less beneficial Omega 3 fats than their wild kin. Pumped with antibiotics and dyed orange, they are also more exposed to pesticides. The wild salmon boast 20% higher protein content and 20% lower fat content than farm-raised ones. The US Department of Agriculture confirmed these unfortunate statistics. 

Canned salmon are likely wild salmon as the farm-raised ones are not suitable to be canned. 


Where does this leave us? Well, I don't even know where to buy wild salmon. Do you?





7 comments:

  1. interesting post... no wonder I don't like salmon as much now as long before. Not that my taste buds are that discerning of course but simply "lost the interest" to buy or eat salmon nowadays.

    I wonder if smoked salmon is wild or farm bred. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that its the former...

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    1. Your palate may be more discerning than you think, Alan! Bad news on the smoked salmon, most of them are Atlantic salmon which means farmed. Yes, even the Norwegian ones.

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  2. There was a time when I was crazy about salmon. I used to order a whole frozen salmon and would have it steamed or grilled. After a while, I lost the taste for it except for smoked salmon (Yum!) and the occasional sashimi. I doubt if wild salmon is available in this region. It would be too expensive to import.

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    1. I'm still very much a salmon lover despite everything I've read about today's quality of salmon. And yes, especially smoked salmon! Maybe it's better not to research too much and just enjoy the food!

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  3. OMG your photos are so gorgeous. Would you mind to share with me the tips, what is brand use, setting, lighting, lense, any editing done etc

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    1. Hello Azie, I use a Canon 50D. No special lighting. And I just edit them using the iPhoto basic editing software on my Mac. Your photos are not too bad either. By the way, I wish I could try some of your recipes but I don't understand Melayu.

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  4. Definitely Wild Alaskan Salmon – healthier and tastier. Even for the supplements, choose those that are derived from wild salmon.

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