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Can You Eat Anglerfish and How do They Taste?

Anglerfish are famous for luring other fish in with the bright, luminescent bulb on top of their heads.

a frogfish in the dark depths of the ocean

They live in the depths of the ocean and eat smaller fish, whom they beckon toward the light and then trap in their massive jaws. Anglerfish are excellent predators, but can they be the prey?

Anglerfish are rather horrifying to look at, with sharp teeth, translucent skin, and sharp teeth that line a huge mouth.

Although one certainly wouldn’t want to run into an anglerfish in a dark alley of the sea, is it possible to cook and eat anglerfish? Does anyone hunt this deep-sea predator?

Do People Eat Anglerfish?

Anglerfish is not only available to hunt and eat, it is also a delicacy in certain places. Japanese cuisine often features every part of the anglerfish except the bone in a stew or a stir fry.

anglerfish sitting in the kelp

The seven different parts of the fish are traditionally called the “Seven Tools” and are used in multiple recipes. 

Although it’s hard to come by, if you go to a traditional Japanese restaurant you’ll be able to order anglerfish. It’s usually part of a “hot pot,” a stew of various fish types and parts. The liver of the anglerfish is exceptionally rich. 

Is It Edible?

So, are anglerfish edible? This species is indeed edible when it’s cooked and is often called “the poor man’s lobster.”

anglerfish next to coral

Every part of the anglerfish is edible, including the skin, flesh, intestines, gills, and even the eyes. They are all mixed to create a stew or separate in different recipes. 

Because anglerfish live in the deep trenches of the sea, they are rarely grown on a farm.

They are rare to find and usually caught by specific fishing techniques or finding dead anglerfish in the water. However, anglerfish aren’t so uncommon that they’re hard to find in Japan. You should be able to find them when they’re in season. 

What Does It Taste Like?

Anglerfish is famous for its soft and buttery taste. Anglerfish has a flavor more like a lobster than a fish, making it a popular choice in the Eastern part of Japan.

deep sea anglerfish

It is soft and tears apart in your mouth. Once it’s cooked well, the anglerfish is a favorite among fish lovers and many others. 

Multiple dishes use anglerfish. The most common one is the anglerfish hot pot, Anko nabe. It is a stew that uses every part of the anglerfish in a buttery, tender mix.

It is considered a national delicacy and is sold throughout Japan, especially on the eastern side. The miso broth adds to the flavor. 

a monkfish on the seafloor

Anglerfish liver is sometimes called the ocean’s “foie de gras.” It’s rich and fatty and tastes delicious in any meal.

Often, anglerfish liver is served as a main course at a high-end restaurant. Fried anglerfish is the least common way to eat the fish but tastes a little like fried lobster. 

Is Anglerfish Safe to Eat?

Anglerfish meat is perfectly safe to eat. It’s considered high-grade meat and is healthy for you.

delicious cooked monkfish

Because the fish is high in B vitamins and D vitamins, it increases your overall health. Almost the entire fish is low in fat and calories. The only exception is the liver, which is high in fat but has more vitamin D. 

Anglerfish is both good for you and delicious. It is a delicacy in Japan and especially popular during the cold winter months.

Anglerfish is a safe-to-eat and actively healthy dietary choice for anyone looking for a new type of fish to try. 

Can You Eat Anglerfish Raw?

Although anglerfish is delicious in stews, stir-fries, and on its own, it’s not usually eaten raw. It doesn’t have the same nutritional value as salmon or other sashimi foods.

monkfish fillets for cooking

Because anglerfish are bottom feeders and deep-sea creatures, they are more likely to be exposed to the kind of bacteria you don’t want in raw fish. 

Fish that is eaten raw is specially prepared by chefs and bought from reputable suppliers. While it’s possible to eat anglerfish raw, it’s discouraged by health experts. Raw anglerfish is also quite rare, as it tastes much better cooked. 

Final Thoughts

The anglerfish is not only edible but delicious, especially if you’re dining on a monkfish. If you can make it to Japan or an authentic Japanese restaurant near the sea, you must try the anglerfish.

When prepared correctly, it’s tender and delicious. You won’t be able to recognize the terrifying predator fish in this soft, juicy fish dish.

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