The Most Beloved And Most Controversial Fish Dishes In The World

There are as many kinds of fish dishes in the world as there are types of fish, and given that there is a wider diversity of fish in our diets compared to the types of meat we often consume, you will often find a rich and interesting debate as to the merits of certain fish dishes.

Whilst there are some dishes, such as the nation’s favourite fish and chips that are universally adored, even by people who would not otherwise eat fish, there are other, more experimental dishes that are far more controversial.

From enduring favourites to dishes so extreme they are illegal in certain countries, here are the most beloved and most controversial dishes in the world.


Beloved: Seafood Linguine

A beloved dish on the coasts of Italy, the mix of seasonal fish, prawns and mussels combined with garlic and chilli is simple to make but is so filled with different flavour notes that it has become a huge favourite, even amongst non-seafood eaters.


Controversial: Surströmming

Based loosely on the way Baltic herring was stored in the 16th century, Surströmming is a Swedish delicacy that is a beloved tradition of some locals and utterly despised by others.

 In a similar tradition to the Chinese Thousand-Year Egg, surströmming is salted herring that has been allowed to ferment without rotting, which creates a strong and very sour taste.

The legendary smell and pressurised nature of the brine that the herring soaks in has a very visceral smell, to the point that when a German landlord evicted a tenant without notice after spilling some of the brine and was taken to court, he simply opened a tin inside the courtroom and the case quickly concluded.


Beloved: Fish And Chips

Initially a dish made for Passover as a way to eat fish cold, fried battered fish and chips quickly became a national dish through the second half of the 19th century, and one of the most popular fish delivery items for very good reason.

Deceptively simple, yet open to many different permutations, different types of fish and different ways to cook the chips, a fish supper was so vital that it was one of the few provisions that was not rationed during the Second World War.


Controversial: Fugu

To those that have tried it, fugu, sashimi made from blowfish is a delicious, distinctive dish with a texture that has made it appealing to its many connoisseurs.

What makes it controversial, however, is its danger; blowfish have incredible amounts of poison in them, which is said to be 200 times more poisonous than cyanide. A single mistake in its preparation, therefore, would be fatal to the diner.

As a result, fugu chefs must undergo years of training, and the dish is often a goal of extreme eaters due to the thrill that it could be delicious but deadly.


Beloved: Smoked Salmon

Whether enjoyed as a canapé, as one of many sushi dishes or as a shallow-fried fillet, smoked salmon is one of the most attainable delicacies in the fish world.

Since the invention and development of smoking techniques to cure and preserve salmon, the fish has become popular in a variety of dishes, with certain regions such as Scotland and Alaska specialising in the fish.


Controversial: Lutefisk

 Another Scandinavian delicacy, lutefisk is in some respects the antithesis of surströmming, as instead of tasting exceptionally acidic, lutefisk is instead incredibly alkaline in taste, having been soaked in lye as part of the preparation process.

The fish is dried, salted, soaked in ice-cold water for six days, soaked in a lye solution for another two until it reaches a pH level higher than bleach and turns into a jelly-like consistency. After another four days of cold water soaking, it is ready to eat.

With a fairly mild taste that can be enhanced with a range of salts and spices, the main controversy is that texture, as well as the lye-based treatment.