Does the idea of sharks fear you? The media may showcase their resilience, but they have a unique culinary significance.
Yes, you can eat shark meat because why limit yourself to only tuna or salmon?
They’re one of the most inexpensive and delicious fishes and a delicacy in many cuisines, predominantly Asian.
But what does shark meat taste like, and should you try it? The answer is a little in-between, but you can decide after learning about the meat.
What is Shark Meat?
As the name suggests, shark meat refers to the meat obtained from sharks.
It is sold in the form of fillets or even as processed foods.
Since they’re from the waters, shark meat is a common item in the cuisines of coastal regions.
Like most fishes, sharks have a pinkish hue in their meat and smell fishy.
But when cooked, they turn white.
And you can remove the fishy smell by marinating the meat before cooking.
The shortfin mako, thresher, and porbeagles are some of the most fished sharks for consumption.
And they’re sold fresh or frozen in the markets.
And they’re so easy to eat because they have no bones, well, technically.
They have cartilage for bones, and they don’t have bony meat as you’d find in many fishes.
In Asia, people eat them smoked and dried in addition to fresh meat, whereas, in Iceland, they ferment the meat to preserve them for a year-round supply.
What Does Shark Meat Taste Like?
If you were to eat your dinner without looking at the menu, you wouldn’t know you’re eating shark meat.
Why? Because they taste no different than regular fish.
Shark meat is white, flaky, sweet, and mild.
Regardless of their texture, the closest they taste is that of chicken meat and an alligator (if you’ve tasted one).
When you eat it, the meat feels more like chicken; it feels tender but has texture.
However, the taste leans towards a mix of fish and chicken.
It has a similar smell as chicken but is sweet like most whitefish.
The flavor of shark meat can slightly differ depending on their species.
For instance, a Mako has a more robust taste and is earthy, oily, and fishy.
Thresher can come as too dry and briny but not too fishy.
You can make it work perfectly without even adding any strong seasonings.
Meanwhile, Porbeagle tastes similar to swordfish, meaty, mild, and sweet.
Shark meat can be a good substitute for many whitefish.
It is packed with so much protein and will keep you satiated for a long time when you eat it.
In fact, they are considered lean meat because of their low-fat and high-protein content.
When fermented, like the Icelandic dish Hakarl, the meat will smell and taste like blue cheese.
And the aftertaste will be that of very pungent ammonia.
So, not many people may appreciate its taste, but it is one way to preserve them.
How to Cook Shark Meat?
Before cooking shark meat, prep it well so you don’t have to experience a pungent meal.
You only have to marinate your meat in lemon juice, vinegar, or milk for at least 30 minutes.
You can deep-fry, bake, and grill shark meat, but do you wish to make your meals more special? Here are our top picks for dishes that you should try:
- Fish balls: This one’s easy; they’re just cooked and minced fish formed into balls and deep-fried with or without breading. Just remember to season the shark meat well, so you have all the flavors you want in your meal. Also, air-frying is a healthier option, so cook them in the appliance if you have one.
- Surimi: Ever felt duped by imitation crab? That’s because they are made using surimi, a fish paste, and it’s easy. You just have to mince the meat and press them into shapes like crab feet. .
- Teriyaki: Teriyaki sauce is your go-to sauce when you need a quick upgrade to regular food, especially meats. So, season and pan-fried shark meat and soak them in the sauce.
When planning to cook shark meat, always look for tidal updates about mercury poisoning before you buy them.
Sometimes, the meat can contain a high amount of toxic metals, making it unsafe for consumption.
How to Buy Shark Meat?
You can buy shark meat from supermarkets or at a fish monger’s, but these tips will make your purchases worthy:
- Always check the species: As you’ve read, different species of shark meat can taste different, and some, like the Sandbar and Hammerhead, are unsafe to eat.
- Keep updated about tidal news: There are times when red tides affect the inhabitants of deep-sea creatures. And this can highly increase the levels of mercury in sharks as well. So, keep track of the news.
- Check the color of the meat: Shark meat can have many colors, but whatever you go for, get the vibrant-looking ones. These are fresh ones and have more flavor.
- Perform a smell test: Shark meat is smelly by nature, but if it smells too fishy, don’t buy it. This pungent smell is probably because of a high ammonia concentration in their bodies, which isn’t safe for you.
- Look for natural fillets: When buying filleted shark meat, try to get a natural piece. These are the meat of a small shark and are more tender to eat. Meat from a larger shark will most likely not have the skin attached to them and won’t be so tender when you cook it.
Now that you’ve read about the good and bad and how you can balance the not-so-good qualities of shark meat, will you try it?
Although they may not taste impressively unique, there’s a thrill in boasting to friends about having eaten the meat of some of the most feared sea creatures.
And what’s even better is that they’re relatively inexpensive yet healthy with a lot of protein.
But keep an eye out for those with a very pungent smell of ammonia.
Regardless of their downsides, shark meat can make quite exciting dishes, so try them out as you explore all the flavors of the world underwater.