How to tell if a fish is fresh

Many people often struggle with touching fishes for fear of the smell that may linger on their hands. However, do you know that the real experts can choose all their fish hands-free? With a simple glance, one can identify many important characteristics of a fresh fish. (applicable for 1 to 3)

Here are 6 ways to check:

1. Eyes

The quickest and easiest way to tell if a fish is fresh or not is through its eyes. They should be bright and clear, as if the fish is still alive. If the eyes look cloudy and red when the eyes are supposed to be clear, it is a tell-tale sign that the quality fell.
*Do note that certain fish naturally have red eyes, like red snappers! 

2. Scales

A shiny, metallic scale is a good sign that the fish is a good catch. But to really test its freshness, you must run off your hands through its scales and observe if they easily come off. If the scales are not as firm as it should be, you might want to look for another fish.

3. Fins, Tails & Temperature

This is a way to tell if the fish is not fresh. Dried, brittle and torn out fins & tails are a red flag that the fish has been left exposed to room temperature for an extended period of time. A professional fishmonger would spend extra money to keep their fish chilled and fresh at all times, so that the quality is not in the least affected.

To really know for sure, we rely on our sense of smell and touch

4. Gills

Something that almost anyone would know is to open up and check their gills. A fresh fish has clean and bright red gills. When the gills have turned brown; be it light or dark brown, it is no longer fresh! *Certain fish have better methods of checking freshness; e.g. batang, pomfrets 




5. Smell

This is not an advisable thing to do in front of your fishmonger, as it is a way to tell if the fish is NOT fresh, which means that it can be seen as a disrespectful act. If the fish gives off a foul odor, 

Does the fish smell clean and fresh, or does it give off a foul odor? A good fish must smell briny like it is fresh off the sea. Otherwise, if you’ve detected any unusual scent, then the fish has probably started to rot.


5. Flesh

My personal favourite way of choosing fishes for my customers, tested and proven to be very accurate based on feedback from them, you simply hold and feel it. It works for basically any fish, and the firmness of the flesh provides you all the info you need on their freshness and quality. 



Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.