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My son (a professional chef) says tilapia is "garbage fish." He said, "Any fish that costs ten cents a pound can't be good," but I had broiled tilapia at an IHOP that was just delicious.

This got me thinking. I've eaten tilapia on occasion. Even though DW and I are vegan 99% of the time, on special occasions, we will go for some organic, kosher, grassfed, wildcaught etc... meat. For example, I'm going to prepare some wildcaught salmon this Sunday for superbowl for my reward of eating nothing but raw fruits and veggies since New Years day.

So your son's belief that tilapia being a 'garbage' fish made me wonder if it was kosher.

Most web sites said yes. But this said 'it depends'.

According to
there are over 30 different species of fish that could be refered to as Tilapia. Of these the FDA reports only 7 are marketed in the USA…
but of course there may be more that the FDA is not aware of. Generally tilapia is thought to be kosher, but with 30 species available, some may not be.

If you are able to purchase the whole fish, then you can visually verify that it has both scales and fins. If the fish has already been filleted, then you are on your own. Then there is also the question of whether the store had just filleted a catfish (unkosher) with the same knife and cutting board.

There is a helpful general list of which fish are kosher and unkosher that you can check here:…

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