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Beware the "butterfish"! The escolar probably isn't your friend - Input Junkie
April 2nd, 2018
04:13 pm

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Beware the "butterfish"! The escolar probably isn't your friend
Summary: Escolar (frequently sold as butterfish or white tuna) can make you pretty sick.

I bought some smoked butterfish at the Reading Terminal Market-- it was only $5 for about a pound, and I like smoked fish.

I didn't like it all that much-- too salty and an odd flavor. I was trying to figure out whether rinsing it and cooking it with something was worth doing.

Then I got some diarrhea which seemed vaguely different than usual-- some of the details are TMI (Too Much Information) and I started thinking about what I'd been eating lately.

I'd heard about white tuna (a sort of sushi) being hard on the digestive tract, so I was open to the possibility that fish might be a problem.

Well! White tuna isn't related to tuna, it's butterfish. So is escolar. I will say a thing or two to the people at Reading Terminal Market-- they've got a big fish shop with a neon sign over it that says something like EAT FISH BE HEALTHY.

White tuna as sushi isn't a hazard to me-- the quantify in an assorted sushi plate isn't enough to hit me, and it's actually pretty tasty. It being labeled as white tuna is eroding my faith in humanity that little bit more, though.

Substantial article. I got off easy, some people get a lot sicker. If you read the comments, you'll find that people getting sick from escolar happens all over the world, except Italy and Japan where the fish is illegal. Pricey restaurants sometimes sell escolar (mislabeled, often enough) as a main dish.

Teminology! There's an English eel called butterfish.

Mercifully, "black cod" is at least has black scales, but many species of sable aren't black.

I'm reminded of the bit in Stranger in a Strange Land which complains about English words having multiple meanings. The example was that red hair doesn't resemble the color otherwise called red.

Butterfish, the red-tailed hawk and turkey vulture of the sea.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escolar

Which is not the same as butterfish.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_butterfish

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_butterfish

More details. People who love escolar, including chefs. Recommendations to make it safer (less fat, small portions).

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