Healthnotes Index:

Sea Bass

Sea Bass: Main Image

Buying Tips

Quality sea bass is easy to recognize. Fresh sea bass never smells fishy; it smells fresh like the ocean. The eyes should appear bright and clear, almost alive. The gills should be clean, and the skin moist and with tightly adhering, shiny scales. Fresh sea bass flesh will give slightly when you press it with a finger, then spring back into shape. When choosing sea bass steaks or fillets, whether they’re fresh or previously frozen, look for moist, translucent (never dried out) flesh.


Many different fish, not all related, are sold under the name of bass. Black sea bass, with its lean, firm flesh, is popular in Chinese cooking, steamed or deep-fried. Red and black groupers, the two most common kinds, are caught in temperate waters and appear in the cuisine of many Spanish-speaking countries. Most white sea bass on the market comes from Mexico. Although it is classified as in the drum family, white sea bass has firm white flesh like most members of the sea bass family. Hawaiian sea bass, called Hapu’upu’u, has dense meaty flesh. Chilean sea bass, not actually a member of the sea bass family, has large, pointed teeth and richer, softer flesh than sea bass. The Gulf coney grouper, or baquetta, lives along the West Coast of Central America and has dense, meaty flesh.

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The information presented in the Food Guide is for informational purposes only and was created by a team of US–registered dietitians and food experts. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements, making dietary changes, or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2016.

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