Goldfish as Food: A Culinary Adventure Across Different Cultures

what do goldfish taste like

Fish has been on the menu for many people since the beginning of time. There are a number of types of fish that people eat, from catfish to salmon, and many other types of fish.

However, some people eat other types of fish that aren’t typically eaten, like Fugu and Tuna Eyes, two Japanese fish.

One type of fish that is sometimes consumed is usually a pet, which is goldfish. Here is an overview of eating goldfish, what goldfish taste like, and more.

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What Do Goldfish Taste Like?

When most people think of eating fish, they think of a plate of fried Tilapia or similar type of fish that you might find at a seafood restaurant.

While a plate of fried Tilapia is usually quite tasty, goldfish typically are not tasty if eaten. In fact, goldfish live in muddy and murky ponds, and if you can imagine how muddy and murky water would taste, then that’s likely how goldfish taste (similar to koi).

Goldfish come from the Carp family, and other fish in this family taste the same, as their bodies absorb the flavor of the water, and they’re just plain bad-tasting.

Goldfish that live in fish tanks will also likely taste like the fish flakes or pellets that they’re fed. For many people, just the smell of these pellets is enough to make them barf, let alone eat them.

Also, the smell of the water that the fish swim around in is pretty gross, so most people refrain from eating goldfish for this reason and because they’re considering pets.

So, if you don’t like the smell or taste of fish food pellets or fish tank water, then you should probably choose another type of fish to eat and keep your goldfish as pets.

Can Humans Eat Goldfish?

Yes, if they choose to, humans can eat goldfish, although they’re typically so small and full of bones that there are many other types of fish that would be better on your dinner plate.

Due to their small size, it would take several goldfish fillets to make a normal portion of fish for a meal. Even though humans can eat goldfish, not many of them do, for a number of reasons. First of all, goldfish are typically kept as pets and live in aquariums.

Goldfish also aren’t very tasty, although they do contain a lot of nutrition. Goldfish are high in calcium, B-12, protein and other necessary nutrients.

So, for the people that do eat goldfish, at least they’re obtaining adequate nutrition from them, even if they don’t taste very appetizing. 

If Cooked and Seasoned a Certain Way, Can Goldfish Be Tasty?

It is very possible that if goldfish is marinated and heavily seasoned and breaded before cooking, that it could actually taste good. However, for some people, the bad taste of this fish is too overpowering and can’t be masked with seasonings, marinade, and oil.

If a person is forced to eat goldfish because they have limited access to food and the only thing that is available is goldfish, it’s likely that the fish will taste good, especially if a person hasn’t eaten in a while (similar to, say, snake meat).

Here is an easy marinate to make that you can soak your goldfish in before preparing it: one half cup of water, one tablespoon of salt, one tablespoon of sugar and one teaspoon of lemon juice. The idea is that the fish will absorb the marinate to help improve the taste of its flesh.

You can marinate the fish for a couple hours or even overnight. Of course, the longer you marinate it, the better the taste will be.

You can also make other marinades, including those made with vinegar, soy sauce, and more. Or add in some rich sides like you would with catfish.

What Happens If You Eat Goldfish?

In most cases, nothing will happen if you eat a goldfish and you will simply consume a meal like any other time. You are likely to feel guilty if you just ate your pet goldfish.

For most people who decide to fry up a pan of goldfish, again, it would take a number of goldfish just to make up a meal because of their small size. However, if you fail to remove the bones or cook them thoroughly, then you might regret it. 

Can You Get Sick From Eating Goldfish?

Since goldfish contain many bones, it is highly likely that you could swallow one, which could become lodged in your throat. While this won’t make you sick, it could be painful and also difficult to remove the bone once it’s become lodged.

One thing that could make you sick from eating goldfish is the fact that many of them are infested with potentially harmful parasites. So, if you eat goldfish that are infested with parasites, then you could become very ill.

Are There Any Goldfish Recipes?

If you search the internet for goldfish recipes, you will likely receive results of recipes containing the popular crackers called Goldfish instead of actual pond water goldfish recipes.

However, if you’re interested in cooking goldfish and you can’t find any recipes, then you can use a recipe for another type of fish.

For instance, if you want to make fish stew using goldfish, simply find another fish stew recipe and use goldfish instead of the fish that the recipe calls for. If you end up creating a recipe for goldfish, then you might want to publish it on the internet so others can use it, if they like. 

Why Would People Eat Goldfish?

There aren’t many reasons why the average person would eat goldfish. Goldfish are a very popular and attractive fish that people make pets out of and keep in their aquariums.

Not many people would even think of eating goldfish. People that have thought of eating goldfish, or who have actually eaten them, probably did so out of curiosity because they wanted to know how a goldfish would taste.

Another reason why a person might eat a goldfish is due to a food shortage and there aren’t any other types of fish or foods to eat. 

Do Goldfish Eat Other Goldfish?

Yes, goldfish do sometimes eat other goldfish, but if they have enough room to swim around in their tank and they receive adequate amounts of food, then they will be less likely to eat other goldfish.

Goldfish are very territorial, and if they feel as if other fish, whether they’re goldfish or not, some goldfish will eat them in order to stop them from invading their space. Goldfish may also eat smaller goldfish inadvertently, as they move their mouths in search of food.

Do People in Other Countries Eat Goldfish Regularly?

Yes, people in other countries do eat goldfish regularly. In Korea, China, and Vietnam, they look at it as a delicacy to eat live fish while dining with friends and family.

In the past, it was traditional for people in Japan to give others gifts of lemon and orange wedges topped with goldfish for New Years Day.  

FAQ about What Do Goldfish Taste Like

Here are the answers to some frequent questions that people might have about eating goldfish, and more. 

Can a person be considered weird for eating goldfish?

Since goldfish are typically pets and they’re so small and contain a lot of bones, most people would consider a person to be weird if they opted to eat goldfish. Besides, people who have been adventurous enough to try goldfish say that they don’t make a very tasty dish.

Has anyone ever died from eating goldfish?

Although a person can die from eating goldfish due to the parasites that they sometimes harbor, not many people consume goldfish, so it’s hard to determine if anyone has ever died from eating one.

What are some good alternatives to eating goldfish?

The sky is the limit when it comes to choosing a fish to eat besides goldfish. Again, goldfish are often kept as pets and not used for food. Some common types of fish that a person can eat instead of goldfish are: Tilapia, tuna, salmon, cod, whiting, perch, and many more.

Can I eat raw goldfish?

It could be dangerous to eat cooked goldfish since these fish sometimes contain parasites that heat can’t kill, so eating goldfish raw is taking an even greater risk. It’s best not to chance it and refrain from eating goldfish at all, but if you absolutely must eat goldfish, then you need to cook them until the internal temperature is 145 degrees F. Again, even cooking goldfish to the appropriate temperature doesn’t necessarily kill any parasites that may be present, so you must proceed with caution.

Do people eat other types of fish that are typically pets?

While some people may possibly eat fish that are meant for aquariums, it is not a good idea to consume these fish. Since these fish aren’t regulated by the government for food, eating pet fish could be dangerous. Like goldfish, other fish that typically live in aquariums could be infested with parasites that could make a person very sick or even kill them. Luckily, for most people, eating fish from an aquarium is not appealing, which keeps people from eating potentially harmful fish.

More FAQs

Are goldfish good eating?

Goldfish are as edible as any other freshwater fish, but they are unlikely to be very flavorful. The taste of goldfish would be influenced by the food they consume, so a pet goldfish would likely have a flavor reminiscent of fish flakes and pellets.

Do goldfish taste fishy?

Goldfish do not taste fishy, as they tend to absorb the flavor of the water they live in. If you were to consume a goldfish, it would not have the same delicious taste as trout or tuna. Even if it is caught in the wild, a goldfish will typically have a distinct flavor of mud and debris, even after being cooked thoroughly.

Can fish taste what they eat?

Fish can taste what they eat because they have taste buds, similar to humans. These taste buds are located on their tongue as well as on the outside of their body. They are capable of differentiating between sweet, salty, sour, and bitter flavors.

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