A Picky Tradition: Hand-Selecting Smoked Fish for Zabar’s

VideoBy Liza de Guia on Jul 29, 2011
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“Because our industry is relatively small, we’ve developed a close relationship with a lot of different characters both on the buying side and the selling side, and there’s probably no better example than Saul Zabar. He’s definitely one of the last remaining members of the ‘old guard’. He’s a book of knowledge and kind of a historian of smoked fish.”  -Adam Caslow, Vice President, ACME Smoked Fish

Meet Saul Zabar, the co-owner of Zabar’s, a famous specialty food shop on the Upper West Side of New York City. Over the decades, Zabar’s has developed a reputation for high quality product and service when it comes to smoked fish. Their smoked fish department is one of the busiest fish counters in the city, hand-slicing and selling thousands of pounds of smoked fish to loyal customers every week. It’s a reputation Zabar’s is very, very proud of; and Saul believes a lot of it has to do with his keen taste for smoked fish.

Not long ago, I had the rare opportunity to join Saul during his weekly visit to ACME Smoked Fish in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, to see how he hand-selects fish for his shop’s fish counter. ACME is Zabar’s main smoked fish supplier – sourcing, smoking, packaging and delivering over 90% of the store’s smoked fish. According to ACME, it’s a “family” tradition and a very special relationship that began over 50 years ago, a weekly visit that often comes with a basket of Zabar’s fresh bagels and rugelach. A tradition they are both sure will continue for years to come…

So, enjoy this special behind-the-scenes experience. You can think of it as: a little taste of history.

Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy Eating!


  1. Fran says:

    Ahhh, my favorite food on the planet. If I had to choose my last meal, it would be a good salt bagel, lox or kippered salmon and cream cheese. What a GREAT job Saul has — testing all that fish. Some love wine tastings, this would be my preference — smoked fish tasting!

    Another great Food Curated video!!

  2. Another wonderful piece of film making, the great thing about your films – is the way you capture the essence and personality of the business, in such a relaxed way – I especially love the music.
    I am trying to learn the art of film making in Yorkshire England – and I hope one day to make films as good as yours about our local food here, I love the feel of music which you carefully pick to match mood with personality, I have tried to licence tracks in the uk to use, but they cost me £200 a track, it would be a great help to me if you could let me know where you source your music? thanks in advance if you can help, thanks again for the great films you make regardless.
    kindest regards Russ

    • Liza de Guia says:

      Hey Russell. Great to hear from you! It’s so nice of you to leave me with happy comments to end my day on. Well, I use IB Audio and Stock 20 for music. They are pretty affordable. I’m big on matching music to the personality for sure. It totally makes a difference. Once you do a few films, send them my way – Liza

    • Thanks Liza, so kind of you to take the time to help me – much appreciated! I have made a few short free films for a few chosen businesses for free – they are nowhere near your standard and lack the personality of yours, but I plan to keep learning – thanks again Russ

  3. Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same outcome.|

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