Escolar vs Tuna – Which Fish is Healthier?

Escolar and tuna both offer health benefits, but tuna is likely healthier overall, with fewer risks and packed with nutrients.

escolar vs tuna

If you adore the taste and health benefits of fish and love trying new species, consider checking out escolar. But how does this fish stack up to other healthy options, like tuna?

If you’re health conscious, escolar may be a brilliant fish to add to your diet.

This sweet, succulent fish can help manage cholesterol and give your body the protein it needs, among other benefits. Keep reading to learn all about escolar vs tuna!

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Which Fish Is Healthier?

When it comes to escolar vs tuna, which is healthier? It’s likely tuna. Both have health benefits and some risks, but tuna rarely causes stomach discomfort and is packed with nutrients!

Health Benefits

Both fish have some health benefits. Escolar can lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease, prevent strokes, and even increase endurance. It’s high in protein and nutrients, making it a healthy addition to your diet.

Tuna contains vitamins, fatty acids, iron, potassium, and protein, so it’s a well-rounded fish with plenty of nutrients. It may also lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, vision problems, and obesity.

Health Risks

Escolar can cause keriorrhea, which causes mild diarrhea and stomach cramps. It can cause this discomfort in pregnant people and those with bowel or gut issues. So, some people are just naturally unsuited to eating escolar.

On the other hand, tuna comes with the occasional risk of mercury poisoning when consumed in large quantities.

Culinary Uses

Fresh tuna fish fillet on a fish market shelf

Tuna is one of the most widely used fish in the culinary world because it’s more affordable than luxury fish but still flavorful. People use tuna in canning, sushi, sashimi, steaks, filets, and more, making it one of the most versatile fish. From tuna melts to ahi tuna, it can be simple or high-end.

Fried escolar fish with lemon and cucumber

Escolar is mostly used for sushi and sashimi in Japanese restaurants. It’s most commonly served raw, but can also be pan-fried, braised, baked, or grilled, but it doesn’t hold its flavor as well when cooked.


Escolar has a sensationally buttery and indulgent flavor with a silky smooth texture. It has a rich oily flavor with a slight sweetness that makes it fresh but decadent. Many compare it to lobster but with a more satiny texture.

Tuna has a surprisingly meaty flavor for fish, offering an oily and rich flavor comparable to beef steak! Both are flavorful and tender, but escolar has a lighter taste.


Escolar is dark brown or black with small fins and a long sleek body. Tuna is usually light gray or metallic with larger fins and the same slender body.

Is escolar a good fish?

From a culinary perspective, many people consider escolar a superb fish. It has a fatty, succulent flavor and silky texture, making it excellent for many cooking styles and dishes.

Is escolar cheaper than tuna?

Yes, escolar is generally more affordable than tuna. Escolar costs around $12.50 per pound, while most tuna varieties cost about $17 per pound.

What does escolar taste like in sushi?

Escolar is one of the richest flavors for sushi, delivering a satiny texture and lavish fish flavor. Many describe it as buttery and mild with a fresh but rich flavor. The taste is unctuous and creamy, with just a hint of sweetness.

Does escolar taste fishy?

No, most people do not describe escolar as fishy-tasting. A fishy flavor typically means a pungent and slightly sharp, salty taste and escolar is the opposite of that. The luscious flavor is like lobster or scallops, so it’s far from fishy.

More FAQs

Is escolar fish safe to eat?

Escolar fish is safe to eat, but it should be consumed in moderation due to the potential risk of cramping diarrhea if consumed in excess. Despite its delicious taste and high nutritional value, it is important to be cautious as escolar is often mislabeled as a different type of fish, which can lead to complications.

Is escolar safe in sushi?

Escolar is not safe in sushi due to its ban in Japan for valid reasons. This fish, known for its fatty and waxy nature, can lead to digestive issues and diarrhea, and its high mercury content is another concern. It is advisable to restrict the consumption of sashimi and sushi made with large, predatory fish to ensure overall safety.

What are the side effects of Escolar fish?

The side effects of Escolar fish can include the rectal passage of an oily yellow or orange substance (known as keriorrhoea), diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and headache, among others.

Is escolar sold as tuna?

Escolar is sometimes sold as tuna, but it is also known by other names such as snake mackerel, walu walu, and butterfish. However, due to potential health concerns associated with consuming escolar, it has earned the nickname Ex-Lax fish.

Is escolar sold in the US?

Escolar is indeed sold in the US, as well as in Asian and European countries. This fish, also known as Walu in Hawaii and Fiji, is found in tropical waters worldwide and is named after the rings around its eyes, resembling a school.

Is escolar sashimi good?

Escolar sashimi has an exceptionally rich and buttery flavor, containing more than twice the fat content of even fatty tuna. It is advisable to consume 6 ounces or less of escolar per day. These sashimi blocks (saku) are prepared and suitable for use in various raw or cooked dishes like sashimi, sushi, or poke bowls.

What does Escolar fish taste like?

Escolar fish has a brilliant white flesh with a satiny texture and a rich, succulent flavor that has been compared to halibut but with a more luxurious, satiny texture.

What is the difference between escolar and white tuna?

The difference between escolar and white tuna is that anything labeled as “super white tuna” is typically escolar. Additionally, albacore tuna has a pinkish hue, whereas escolar is white. If you come across something that appears super white, has a buttery texture, and a rich, fatty taste, it is likely not albacore tuna.

Is escolar a good fish?

Escolar is a good fish due to its fabulous flavor and sultry texture, often considered by some as the most enjoyable fish they have ever eaten. Its high fat content gives it a silky texture similar to the fattiest Tuna.

Is escolar sashimi safe?

Escolar sashimi is considered safe to consume, as the FDA lifted the ban on this fish in 1992 due to its non-toxic nature. However, it is important to note that consuming large quantities of escolar can lead to diarrhea. Unlike puffer fish (fugu), escolar does not pose a lethal threat. Therefore, it is recommended to enjoy escolar sashimi in moderation.

What kind of tuna is sushi-grade?

Sushi-grade tuna includes various types such as albacore, bigeye, bluefin, bonito, skipjack, and yellowfin tuna. These species are considered safe to consume raw with minimal processing due to their resistance to parasites.

What is the highest quality tuna?

The highest quality tuna is typically found in top-notch sushi restaurants, where Bluefin is often served. This particular type of tuna is renowned for its exceptional taste, being widely regarded as the most delicious tuna in the world. Its pieces have a melt-in-your-mouth texture, and the balance between fat and protein is flawless.

How do you know if tuna is sushi grade?

Tuna can be identified as sushi grade by considering its color, as it plays a crucial role in determining its quality. It is advisable to steer clear of tuna that exhibits a glowing, plastic-like, and nearly see-through red hue. Tuna that appears excessively vibrant has likely undergone chemical treatment to create a false impression of freshness.

Does escolar have a lot of mercury?

Escolar has higher mercury levels, therefore it is recommended that most people should not consume more than 150 g (5 oz) per week of this fish. Other fish with elevated mercury levels to be cautious of include fresh or frozen tuna (excluding canned “light” tuna), shark, swordfish, marlin, and orange roughy.

Why can’t you eat too much escolar?

The reason why eating too much escolar is not recommended is because it contains high levels of wax-esters, which are inedible oils that cannot be absorbed by the human stomach. Instead, the body tries to eliminate these oils, leading to a potential occurrence of steatorrhea, ranging from mild to severe, in individuals consuming this fish.

Why is escolar banned in Japan?

Escolar is banned in Japan due to its toxicity, as the Japanese government has prohibited its consumption since 1977. This is done to minimize the risk of gastrointestinal symptoms, known as “keriorrhoea”. To ensure safety, strict control of portion size is recommended, with portions not exceeding 6 ounces.

Is it safe to eat escolar sushi?

It is not safe to eat escolar sushi due to the potential health risks associated with consuming the flesh of escolar and oilfish. It is recommended to avoid consuming these species of fish.

Is canned tuna really escolar?

Canned tuna is not actually escolar. In fact, only 16 percent of samples labeled as “white tuna” were found to be genuine escolar, a fish known to potentially cause prolonged, uncontrollable oily anal leakage.

What are the side effects of escolar fish?

The side effects of escolar fish can include the passage of an oily yellow or orange substance (known as keriorrhoea) through the rectum, as well as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and headache, among those who experience them.

What are the worst fish for mercury?

The worst fish for mercury are shark, ray, swordfish, barramundi, gemfish, orange roughy, ling, and southern bluefin tuna. These fish contain high levels of mercury, which is a naturally occurring element found in air, water, and food.

What fish should you avoid with mercury?

You should avoid fish with mercury, such as king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, tilefish, ahi tuna, and bigeye tuna. It is recommended that women who are pregnant or nursing, or planning to become pregnant within a year, should refrain from consuming these types of fish.

Which sushi fish has the most mercury?

The fish with the highest mercury content in sushi is Ahi (yellowfin tuna), Aji (horse mackerel), Buri (adult yellowtail), Hamachi (young yellowtail), Inada (very young yellowtail), Kanpachi (very young yellowtail), Katsuo (bonito), and Kajiki (swordfish).

What tunas are high in mercury?

Canned white tuna, specifically albacore, has mercury levels almost three times higher than smaller skipjack tuna commonly used in canned light tuna products.

Do they serve escolar in Japan?

Escolar is not served in Japan since 1977, as it has been banned for consumption by the Japanese government due to its toxicity.

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