American Oceans

Can You Eat Triggerfish and How Does It Taste?

Triggerfish are species of brightly colored tropical fish found in the indo-pacific oceans. But can you eat triggerfish?

Picasso triggerfish

Well, it depends on the specific fish. Most triggerfish are edible and popular in Asian and Caribbean cuisines. However, some species and larger triggerfish have ciguatera which is toxic to humans.

The gray triggerfish, found in the Gulf of Mexico, is commonly eaten.

While a triggerfish is challenging to catch, it makes for high-quality white meat with a pleasant flavor. Read on to learn more about eating triggerfish.

Do People Eat Triggerfish and Is It Safe?

Triggerfish is a popular edible fish. You’ll find it mostly in Japanese cuisine, where it’s eaten cooked or raw. It is also popular in Mexico, Hawaii, and Florida.

Grilled triggerfish

There are 40 species, but the gray triggerfish is the most commonly eaten. Some other well-liked triggerfish include the red-toothed triggerfish, the black triggerfish, the reef triggerfish, the lagoon triggerfish, and the queen triggerfish.

Although most triggerfish are edible, you should steer clear of the clown triggerfish as it’s always toxic. The titan triggerfish is sometimes toxic. For all triggerfish varieties, you should avoid larger catches weighing over five pounds as they are often parasite-ridden.

What Does Triggerfish Taste Like?

Triggerfish is a mildly sweet fish that tastes like crab or amberjack. Some people compare its flavor to shellfish. You can taste its sweet flavor whether you’re eating it raw or cooked.

Unlike most fish, triggerfish do not have the characteristic fishy smell. Therefore, you do not need a lot of herbs or seasoning to make it taste good. Using as little seasoning as possible is advisable to enjoy the fish’s sweet flavor.

Can You Eat Triggerfish Raw?

Triggerfish is delicious when eaten raw. Raw triggerfish is considered among Japan’s tastiest raw fish varieties, where raw fish dishes are popular.

Raw gray triggerfish, or Porquinho in Portuguese

When eating raw triggerfish, choose smaller triggerfish as it is less likely to carry ciguatera which can cause nausea, diarrhea, neurological symptoms, and heart problems. The fish is also soft and firm. This texture makes it easy to slice for use in sushi.

How To Cook Triggerfish

Before cooking triggerfish, you’ll need to prepare it by removing the tough outer skin and fileting the inner flesh. Once filleted, you can proceed to cook it in your preferred method.

You can cook triggerfish in various ways. You can bake, grill, fry, or roast the fish. Roasting, grilling over charcoal, roasting, pan searing (seasoned with salt and pepper), and deep frying are the best cooking methods that bring out triggerfish flavor.

Due to its sweet flavor and absence of a strong fishy smell, you should use minimal herbs and spices not to overpower its taste. The fish also cooks fast, with most recipes taking about 10 minutes to cook. Overcooking triggerfish makes it lose flavor and become rubbery. 

Triggerfish Recipes

spicy deep fried Triggerfish

You can start with a simple baked triggerfish recipe if you haven’t tried triggerfish before. Pan-seared triggerfish is also a great way to experiment with this flavorful fish. Other recipes to try are:

So, Can You Eat Triggerfish and Is It Safe?

It is safe to eat most species of triggerfish except the clown triggerfish, which is toxic. Also, avoid consuming triggerfish weighing over five pounds.

Giant triggerfish are more likely to carry parasites, bacteria, and ciguatera, a seafood-borne illness with digestive, cardiovascular, and neurological symptoms.

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