What Does Raw Fish Taste Like?

Raw fish has many health benefits, making it popular among seafood eaters. Dishes made with raw fish are traditional in many cultures. So, what does raw fish taste like?

Raw fish is silky, juicy, and full of flavor. It is usually served with condiments like wasabi or soy sauce to improve the flavor further.

Below is a taste description of different types of raw fish. We also share our favorite ways to eat raw fish. Let’s get started.

Can You Eat Raw Fish?

There are many reasons people cook fish before eating it, rather than serving it raw. Most importantly, raw cooking fish kills bacteria and parasites that can cause disease.

Nevertheless, some people prefer the taste and texture of raw fish. It is very popular in Japan as part of raw fish dishes like sushi and sashimi.

But how safe is eating raw fish? This next section reviews the risks and benefits.

Is it safe to eat raw fish?

Wating raw fish increases the risk of several infections. Many parasites can live in fish, though most of them are rare. Another risk associated with consuming raw fish is food poisoning. People with weaker immune systems shouldn’t eat raw meat and fish. Cooking fish can help reduce contaminants, including PCBs, PBDEs, and mercury.

Tasty Raw Fish Dishes

Raw fish dishes are growing in popularity. Here are some examples:


Sushi is a popular Japanese dish characterized by cooked, vinegar- rice, and other ingredients, including raw fish.


This is another Japanese dish that consists of finely sliced raw fish.


Poke is a Hawaiian salad made with chunks of raw fish seasoned and mixed with vegetables.


This is a seafood dish popular in Latin America. It contains raw fish cured in lemon or lime juice.


This lightly-marinated dish is common in Italy. It contains finely sliced or pounded raw fish.

Koi pla             

Koi pla is a Southeast-Asian dish consisting of finely chopped raw fish mixed with various ingredients, including fish sauce, chillis, garlic, herbs, and vegetables.

Soused herring

This type of marinated raw fish dish is common in the Netherlands.


This is a Nordic dish made of raw salmon cured in sugar, salt, and dill. It is usually eaten with mustard sauce.

What Fish Can You Eat Raw?

Here’s a list of fish you can safely eat raw:

  • Tuna
  • Flounder
  • Salmon
  • Sea Bass
  • Snapper

What Does Raw Tuna Fish Taste Like?

Tuna is a fatty fish that melts on your tongue like butter when eaten raw. Tuna has a subtle fishy flavor and is the most popular choice for raw fish recipes. It has a firm and meaty texture and mild flavor. Also, raw tuna pairs well with many different sauces, seasonings, and marinades.

What Does Raw Salmon Taste Like?

Salmon has a mild and neutral flavor. Salmon is mild and buttery, slightly fishy, and pairs well with a sour dish. As a result, salmon sushi is often served with a pickled Japanese radish to balance out the subtle fishy flavor.

What Does Raw Flounder Taste Like?

Raw flounder is delicate and tender and has a very mild taste.

What does Sea Bass Taste Like?

Sea Bass is an unsung hero of the seafood world. It has a mild, fishy taste and is lean and tender.

What Does Snapper Taste Like?

Another addition to our whitefish family is the humble snapper. Snapper has more to offer in terms of ‘firmness’ than flounder and sea bass, which makes it a great choice for ceviche.

Taste Test: Trying Out Raw Fish At Home

How to Minimize the Risks of Eating Raw Fish

If you enjoy the taste of raw fish, there are many ways you can reduce the risk of infections.

Always eat frozen raw fish.

Freezing raw fish for a week at -4°F (-20°C), or for 12 hours at -31°F (-35°C), can help kill parasites. But keep in mind that some freezers may not be cold enough. While freezing doesn’t kill all parasites, it stops their growth and can reduce their numbers.

Inspect raw fish.

Checking the raw fish visually before you eat it is also helpful but may not be the safest strategy because many parasites are hard to spot.

Buy from reputable suppliers.

Make sure to get your fish from trusted fish suppliers that have stored and handled it properly.

Always buy refrigerated fish.

Only buy raw fish that is refrigerated or displayed under a cover on a thick bed of ice.

Make sure it smells fresh.

Don’t eat raw fish that smells sour or rotten.

Don’t keep fresh fish for too long.

If you don’t freeze your raw fish, keep it on ice in your fridge and eat it within a few days of buying it.

Don’t leave raw fish out for too long.

Never leave raw fish out of the refrigerator for more than two hours. Bacteria spread quickly at room temperature.

Wash your hands.

Clean your hands after handling fish to avoid contaminating the food you handle afterward.

Clean your kitchen and utensils.

Kitchen utensils and food preparation counters should also be cleaned to avoid cross-contamination.

Also, check out our guide on what raw chicken tastes like.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is raw fish fishy?

Raw fish only tastes fishy when it hasn’t been handled or stored properly.

Do raw fish taste good?

Yes, raw fish has a unique taste and is a major ingredient in various dishes worldwide, including sushi, sashimi, and ceviche.

How would you describe the taste of sushi?

Sushi is usually associated with raw fish, so you may think it’s a bit fishy. In reality, no strong fishy tastes will be present. Sushi is a delicacy with a mild and neutral flavor.

Can You Taste Raw Fish In Sushi?

You can tell by the kind of sushi you eat whether it’s a good or bad choice. You may assume that sushi is fishy because most of it is made up of raw fish. More often than not, raw fish will not have strong fishy flavors. There is no strong flavor in sushi, which is a very mild and neutral food.

Can marinating fish reduce parasites?

Although marinating or brining fish may reduce the number of parasites they contain, these methods are not completely reliable for preventing disease.

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