What Does Raw Salmon Taste Like? Plus Ways to Eat It

Raw salmon has a delicate, slightly sweet taste and a firm, buttery texture. It is often described as having a “clean” taste and a slight hint of ocean flavor, but …

Raw salmon has a delicate, slightly sweet taste and a firm, buttery texture.

It is often described as having a “clean” taste and a slight hint of ocean flavor, but it also has a slightly oily richness that makes it a really versatile option.

The taste and texture of raw salmon can vary depending on the species and where it was caught.

Some types of salmon, such as sockeye, are considered to have a stronger flavor than others, such as coho.

To learn more about the eating qualities of fresh raw salmon, read the rest of this article.

But first, a brief note on safety. Please be aware that consuming raw fish, including salmon, may have a risk of food poisoning. Make sure that the salmon is fresh, it’s from a trustworthy source, and it’s been handled properly.

Typically, if you look for “sushi grade” or “sashimi grade” salmon, you’ll be fine. It has been frozen to a temp that kills off any parasites and other organisms.

Raw Salmon FAQs

Is Fresh Salmon Tasty? 

Raw salmon as ceviche

You bet! In fact, raw salmon is one of the favorite ways for people to eat salmon. It can be done as sushi or sashimi, a European-style carpaccio, or as ceviche. There are lots of ways to eat raw salmon that are both healthy and delicious.

What Is the Texture of Raw Salmon?

Salmon has a relatively firm texture as far as fish goes, but it is certainly not chewy. Good salmon eaten raw practically melts in your mouth.

How Do You Know When Salmon Is Raw?

It is easy to tell if salmon is raw as it takes on a translucent look. It’s not transparent, but nor is it entirely opaque.

Whereas cooked salmon goes a pinkish-white color and loses its translucency.

What Should Raw Salmon Smell Like?

Raw salmon should have a slightly sweet, salty, and oceanic smell. Salmon is not a fish that smells overtly fish, and if it does, it might be best to question how fresh it is.

What Are the Best Ways to Eat Raw Salmon?

Sashimi Raw Salmon Close Up

Raw salmon can be eaten in the form of sushi (raw fish on rice) or sashimi (slices of raw fish), and it is delicious. This is the Japanese way of eating raw salmon, which has become enormously popular throughout the Western world and the rest of Asia.

In the case of sushi, a strip of raw salmon is placed on a small puck of rice to make a tasty morsel that is usually dipped in a little soy sauce before eating.

Salmon can also be eaten raw in the form of ceviche, in which the fish is marinated in lime or lemon juice, along with herbs and spices.

Raw salmon can be served as carpaccio – thinly sliced raw salmon that is often served with a citrus or olive oil dressing.

And then there’s a salmon tartare, which is comprised of chopped or minced raw salmon mixed with seasonings such as capers, shallots, and lemon juice.

How About Smoked Salmon?

Raw salmon King Salmon Filets

Smoked salmon may look similar to raw salmon, but the salmon taste you get from smoked salmon is richer and oilier with a hint of woodsmoke.

It’s a great way to eat salmon, but please note that smoked salmon is not raw.

Try smoked salmon with a cracker and top it with a bit of dill and cream cheese, and you have a match in heaven. Salmon is also delicious when cooked properly on a grill.

Farmed Salmon vs Wild Salmon?

The first thing to say is you can eat both farm-raised salmon and wild-caught salmon raw. There’s no problem with that.

Wild salmon taste much stronger in terms of flavor and have firmer flesh. If you are lucky enough to be able to eat wild salmon, I am sure you will enjoy the flavor.

This is due to their diet, which includes smaller fish and crustaceans, and the fact that wild salmon swim and exercise more than farm-raised salmon.

On the other hand, farm-raised salmon are often fed a diet of pellets made from fish meal and oil, which can lead to a milder flavor. Additionally, the conditions in which farm-raised salmon are kept can also affect their flavor, such as the use of antibiotics or chemicals in the water.

Overall, wild salmon is considered to be a more flavorful and premium product compared to farm-raised salmon.

Is Raw Salmon Healthy?

Raw salmon as sashimi

Raw salmon can be a healthy option as it is a good source of protein and healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids. These fats have been shown to have numerous health benefits, including reducing inflammation, improving heart health, and potentially reducing the risk of certain types of cancer.

Raw salmon is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, vitamin B12, and selenium.

It is worth noting that pregnant women, young children, elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems should avoid eating raw fish and seafood, including raw salmon, due to the risk of foodborne illness.

Can You Eat Salmon Roe?

Yes, salmon roe, also known as salmon caviar, is a popular delicacy and can be eaten as is or used as a garnish or ingredient in various dishes. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and protein. It’s also considered a healthy food.

In Japan, it is often a feature of sushi and sashimi platters.

Do Different Types of Salmon Taste Different?

There are subtle differences between the different types of salmon, with some diners believing that King Salmon (also known as Chinook Salmon) is the best tasting, with an almost buttery flavor and high-fat content.

Most farm-raised salmon is Atlantic Salmon, as opposed to the salmon species that are native to the Pacific Ocean.

Coho salmon, or Silver Salmon, is also highly rated as one of the better Pacific salmon species to eat. Sockeye salmon are renowned for their intensity of flavor, and pink salmon, and humpback salmon, are known for a slightly more delicate flavor.

But it is easy to get too hung up on the species – most species have a similar salmon taste and amazing flavor.

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Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He's appeared in fishing movies, founded a successful fishing site and spends every spare moment on the water. He's into kayak fishing, ultralight lure fishing and pretty much any other kind of fishing out there.
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