No I Still Don’t Like Fish or Seafood – What I Wish People Understood

As a frequent traveler, one of the biggest issues I deal with is what I eat. I am a very picky eater; a confirmed carnivore my love of vegetables is weak at best and most notably, I don’t eat any fish or seafood. My fellow Americans may wonder why I phrase it that way, but I’ll get to that in a second. The point of this post is that even after years of writing about this issue I’m still faced with certain difficulties when I travel, and since I’ve heard from many people around the world who are just like me, I thought I’d write yet another post, this one a little more direct, in order to make my life and those like me a little bit easier when we travel the world.

Yes there are people who don’t like fish or seafood

As I have discovered, many people are shocked to the point that their mouth is literally agape when I tell them that I don’t like fish or seafood. I was just on a food tour and when a fellow participant heard me utter those words, her look made me feel like Quasimodo’s little brother. But we are here, we exist and as many emails from readers have shown me, there are a lot of us. The problem is that we are made to feel so bad about ourselves, that few of us come out as anti-pescatarians until we have to. Even then it’s said with an apology and a downward glance. But if I do anything in my life, I hope it’s to make others like me more accepted by the general fish-loving public.

Fish Taiwan

What we mean when we say we don’t like fish or seafood

It means we don’t like it, and this is where I get to that very specific phrasing “fish or seafood.” I was on a trip once and I had sent along my dietary requirement of No Seafood. Now, to an American that usually includes anything that was ever in the water, ever. Possible exceptions would include ducks or if a cow fell into a lake or something. But when translated, seafood in most other languages means fruits de mer, or delicacies like oysters, clams and so on. Fish is actually an entirely different category for them. I discovered this fun fact while on that aforementioned trip when my host proudly came out and said “So I heard you don’t like seafood – that’s fine!” (My heart jumps for joy) “Instead I have a beautiful whitefish for you!” (Heart sinks and I begin Googling the closest McDonald’s.) I learned a lot from that experience, including the importance of very specific language when speaking to people from other cultures but also to always use the phrasing “fish or seafood” when describing my hatred of all things watery.

Fish and Chips London UK

Yes I’ve tried that one dish you love more than life itself

The next part of the conversation that always happens after I first tell them I hate fish or seafood is, “But have you tried [insert amazing food you love here]? It’s important to say that my dislike of seafood isn’t out of disdain for you or a way to be a contrarian. I’m not trying to be a jerk; I just don’t like fish or seafood. Believe me, I want to. I see how you normal people all look when you bite into a lobster with clarified butter or a massive platter of fish and chips. I want to be like you, I want to enjoy shrimp, Mahi Mahi, oysters, all of it. I want to be there, believe me life would be far simpler. And indeed I have tried both fish and seafood in nearly every form, just in case there’s one form that it turns out I do like. But there isn’t and I don’t. Our tastes and likes in regards to food are largely dictated by genetics, not always by upbringing or cultural norms. I come from proud Mainer stock, people who love lobster more than there own children – and this is actually true. I was brought up around seafood lovers and yet here I am, hating fish and seafood as much as I do licorice or artichokes.

It’s ok that we exist

All of you fish and chip eating, shrimp buffet loving people need to give those of us who hate all of that a break. It is a constant struggle when I travel dealing with my fish issues. It’s not necessarily the hassle involved with finding something I can actually consume, I’ve been able to eat everywhere from remote towns in Taiwan to fishing villages along the coasts of Scandinavia. No, it’s not my ability to find something for dinner that bothers me, it’s the incessant nagging by other, seemingly well-intentioned, people who all but strap me down and force a Filet-O-Fish sandwich down my throat. We all have our little quirks, our idiosyncrasies in life so when you encounter someone who, like me, counts among them a fierce dislike of both fish and seafood do me a favor. Don’t say anything. And pass the Carpaccio.

By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer.

122 thoughts on “No I Still Don’t Like Fish or Seafood – What I Wish People Understood”

  1. My husband is the same and we have now started saying he is allergic to fish and seafood so people don’t try to convince him to eat just a little bit…

    1. I’ve never liked seafood even after living in southeast Alaska where everyone eats fish.
      In fact I’ve taken the test and discovered that I’m a super taster so I’m a very picky eater. I’ve lived in many different countries and states was able to find foods I could eat wherever I’d go.

    2. I’m so glad to see that I’m not alone when it comes to my strong dislike of seafood (including any and all kinds of fish). I have had people nag me again and again to try this and that and the I have to explain that I have tried various types of seafood and just don’t like them (in fact, it makes me gag and I don’t think my dinner companions would want to be exposed to my repulsion of seafood). I too, get looks of disbelief when I say that I don’t like seafood. I also don’t like cheese or eggs in addition to a whole list of other types of food that I won’t go into, and this makes people absolutely crazy. I just wish that I wasn’t harassed so much when I’m out eating with friends. Believe me I would LOVE to enjoy all of the foods that everyone else seems to but it’s just not in my DNA to do so.

  2. I hear you, Matt. Although I don’t totally dislike seafood, I’m not a big fan and I’m very picky. My husband, on the other hand, LOVES seafood (and doesn’t eat meat or fowl). Especially when traveling, food preferences really can get tricky. When I was in Puglia where they eat the fish right from the sea, people seemed quite surprised that I refrained from all that fresh seafood, instead sticking with awesome non-fish pastas. Hubby was in heaven. To each, his/her own!

  3. I’m the same way. Grew up in landlocked Colorado, and yes its possible to catch fresh fish, my family didn’t eat it that much. It took me years to even like shrimp, and only when its tempura or fried. When I went to Japan for a summer homestay, they had a Mad Cow scare, so beef wasn’t on the menu. I told my host family I was allergic to fish and seafood just to nip that in the but. And they were very accommodating. I became introduced as “Kore wa RiRi desu. Toriniku ga daisuki desu.” (This is Lili. She loves chicken.) to everyone my host family met. However, this didn’t stop them for feeding me “strange” food, like Uma (Horse) or when I met my host Grandmother who had a live chicken in her hands, proudly displaying it to me before cutting its head off right there.

  4. Oh, Matt, I think I’ll start handing out this post on business cards when I get involved in these conversations!

    I didn’t eat any seafood for decades because my mom is deathly allergic. We just never had it growing up, it didn’t appeal to me, and I wasn’t about to test the hereditary nature of allergies by eating some on vacation. I got grief for YEARS about it. I tried to good-naturedly play along but give me a break — everyone wanted me try seafood but no one wanted to deal with the consequences if it turned out I was allergic too (the worst way to ruin a party is with asphyxiation). Finally, before I went to SEA, I got allergy tested just for peace of mind. Lo and behold, I’m not allergic. So I started trying some seafood. Some of it was good, some of it meh. It’s not been life changing.

    But there are still things I WON’T eat. OCTOPUS. Tentacles gross me out and I just can’t. And I still get pressured to try seafood I’m just not interested in. At this point no one’s going to talk me into trying octopus. I’d like everyone to just chill out and for someone to pass me the chicken.

    Thanks for standing up for all of us, Matt.:)

  5. Growing up I was not a huge fan of sea creatures although now I love them. On the other hand, I used to love pork growing up and now I cannot eat it at all aalthough I thought I could not survive without bacon or a slice of ham at Thanksgiving. My dislike of pork has given me many strangr looks across the world and a lot of ‘you do not know what you’re missing’ comments.

  6. I am not allergic to anything and will eat most everything. But my husband and daughter hate fish, beets and carrots. I have always respected that because everyone has the right to decide what goes in their mouth. Truly compassionate people do not care what you choose to eat or choose to avoid.

  7. I wonder if it is the smell of fish or seafood that totally turns you off. I think of my niece who for 21+years hated garlic and onions. Her mother said the smell of it made her sick so she never cooked with it and taught her kids that it stunk so badly that no one in the household ever had any desire to eat it. Then my niece traveled to a Greek island where she did volunteer work on an olive/goat farm and guess what they ate daily, morning noon and night? Garlic and onions in everything. In a month’s time, she learned to love it and now back in the USA, she cooks with it daily. Cultural influences, learned behavior, whatever it was, it’s over. She now loves the aroma of garlic and onions cooking.

  8. Nobody should be hassled for their culinary likes or dislikes…. but Matt you were on a food tour in the instance you quoted. I’d have reacted exactly the same as the person you wrote about. In fact I’d have asked you why you were on a food tour when, as you say, you’re a ‘very picky eater’.
    If you choose to go on gastronomic trips don’t be surprised when fellow foodies are ‘shocked’ when they find out there are quite a lot of restrictions on what you’ll eat.
    P.S. I stumbled across this whilst researching excuses people gave for not liking fish and seafood :)

    1. It’s a little rude to say that unless I’m willing to eat anything under the sun I’m not allowed on a food tour. I think people have the wrong idea about what a picky eater is. I’m extremely picky but I’m still willing to try quite a bit and I have foods I love from all over the world.

    2. So, basically, no one but Matt (*not a gastronomist, by your own declaration,) who wrote this piece, should be given shit, except him- because while on a gastro tour, he found (lacking research prior to his trip, admittedly,) places and people who were shocked to find someone with a distaste (or actual allergy) to a certain type of food?

      Yeah, Matt: we suck because fish and seafood makes us literally puke, or – if that’s avoided, dry vomiting or gagging happens… and lemme tell you how sexy it makes a meal in public when I’m trying to keep down the vomiting noises.

      I also hate yogurt and mayonnaise. So does my dad. We both enjoy asparagus though… also genetic.

      Highlanders vs lowlanders. If you like seafood, your ancestors lived near an ocean and your genes told you to eat fish and seafood. Just the opposite for mine.

      1. That is not how genes work at all… Genes don’t “pick” from people of generations liking something. It is due to random genetic mutations that propagate and allow one to survive/have no effect and are allowed to continue to find themselves in the genepool .

        But with that being said, people are allowed to like what they like it isn’t inherently genetic.Probably do to aversion from experiences in youth with family disliking the same foods or a bad experience or something similar but this is not genetic.

    3. So you are saying unless you like all food you should be banned from a food tour? That’s like saying unless you like every book you should be banned from the library. And why were you looking for excuses why people don’t like fish, are you the fish gestapo or something? I don’t need an excuse to not like fish, I can however offer valid reasons if you ask me in a respectful way. Perhaps you should instead offer excuses to us why you have a default expectation that all humans should like fish but not your favorite Netflix show/ sport/ alcoholic beverage/ pretty much everything else.

    4. It’s not really a problem whether whatever we liked or doesn’t like to eat, but some people makes bad faces when they say they don’t like to eat whether this is a seafood or not,. Everyone is unique because of our differences and styles, wants and that includes of our likes and dislikes, that we should respect. Making faces and saying yucks! in front of someone eating maybe will offend that person.

  9. I’m with you all the way man. If cooked or grilled well I can eat fish and invertebrates, otherwise… Yuck!
    And I am surrounded by people who venerate all things fishy, let alone the terrible Sushi craze.
    I feel your pain. :)


  10. Here is the reason so many people are in disbelief: because seafood varies in taste as much as land animals do. I love tolapia, I’m not the hugest fan of mahi mahi but it’s okay, and I strongly dislike oysters. You said you’ve tried just about everything and I believe you, but most people who dislike “all” seafood probably have not had it since they were a kid. It’s like me saying I does like anything with wings, when duck and chicken taste completely different.

    1. Someone above commented on ancestry being the cause. Those by the sea like fish and those inland do not. This is false. I and my ancestors for at least eight generations have lived by the ocean. My past three generations on one side were all fishermen and I too worked in the commercial fishing industry for a few years. I’ve fished bluefin tuna, makeral, lobster, crab, oyster, and herring. I cannot eat anything that lives in the water. The smell of fish instantly kills my appetite, and it takes at least a half hour before my appetite will return. The taste of it (even if fat was used to cook fish and then to cook french fries, or if a pan had been used to cook fish and then something I’m about to eat, instantly turns my stomach and kills my appetite if I put the food in my mouth that had contact with the fish). I don’t have an allergy that I know of, as I’ve been up to my eyeballs in fish guts while shaking herring out of nets (many get ripped in half in the process), but I cannot eat any food from oceans, lakes or rivers. Even green tea turned my stomach and gave me heartburn when I tried it as it had a fishy taste (which I found out later is common, so I don’t drink that tea at all).

      The fishy factor, even if it’s something that isn’t fish or isn’t exposed to fish in any way, but has a fishiness about it. Instantly kills my appetite by smell, and if by taste it instantly turns my stomach.

      I know this isn’t merely a dislike either. As I don’t eat any meat at all (find they all just taste like fat after I go without for some time), but I used to eat beef and pork regularly. Now I still enjoy the smell of beef and pork sometimes, but I refuse to eat them by choice after watching Food Inc. And another brutal documentary on the care and preparation of meats that I can’t remember the name of. With fish it’s very different. I’ve tried it a few times through my adult life, different types, but the results are always the same, nausea.

      It’s frustrating seeing people trying to reason out why your wrong about your own likes and dislikes.

      You have absolutely no right to make these ignorant assumptions.

      1. Also I should mention to your last comments “most people who dislike “all” seafood probably have not had it since they were a kid”. Doctors are finding more and more cases of people who develop allergies in their adult life that they didn’t have as children. There are some people who enjoy fish who cannot eat it anymore due to the onset of allergies later in life. Others, like my brother, have developed adult allergies to milk products (cause his eyes to puff up and his nose to run constantly now, but didn’t when he was younger).

      2. This is the way it goes, isn’t it? “But you haven’t tried X, it’s really not that fishy.” I strongly believe that those who enjoy fish and those who are repelled by it have different definitions of “fishy.”

        There’s something in common to all seafood and fish (including seaweed) that tastes what I call “fishy.” It’s the baseline “this is seafood” flavor that is always there, just as all meat has a certain meatiness to it and all vinegar has acidity. I’m not tasting any of the complexities of the actual fish or seafood because that one baseline fishy flavor overpowers it and tells my brain “this is poison! Eject!”

        I’m like you. Just sitting next to someone eating seafood can ruin my meal. It makes me suspect some asshat chef put fish sauce in my pasta or sauce (once had ribs with fish sauce in the BBQ sauce…puked).

        So many recipes call for fish sauce now. The Food Lab adds it to chile verde, meat sauce, mac & cheese. Ew.

      3. I often tell people that I don’t like mushrooms, but they still taste like food to me. Just food I’m not a big fan of. I won’t pick them off pizza, but I won’t specifically order them most of the time. Now and then I actually enjoy them with a steak. But generally I don’t like them.

        Fish doesn’t taste like food. It tastes like food that’s gone off. If I leave out a package of hamburger for a couple of days, it starts to smell fishy. I don’t think this is a coincidence. I’m actually shocked anyone can stand the smell or taste of fish.

        (Also, I’m from Alaska. I’ve had the freshest salmon and halibut anyone’s ever had. It’s all horrifying.)

  11. I loved reading this article knowing that there are others like me – and my wife. Funny…I realized some six months into our dating that she never requested that we eat at a fish or seafood restaurant. That’s when I found out that she, like me, preferred not to eat it.

    I now live on the coast near San Diego, was raised next to the Chesapeake and my father’s family was from (and so I vacationed on) Cape Cod yet I don’t like the look, taste or smell of anything from the water – either salt or fresh.

    My work takes me to Asia a few times a years and I always find something to eat. Well, my first business trip to China found me ‘surviving’ for 48 hours on TsingTao and San Miguel beer because both parties were trying to impress the other with dinners comprised of seafood and fish. Luckily, one bilingual girl noticed that I hadn’t eaten and promptly ordered me some Kung Pao chicken. Crisis averted.

    I can stomach foods with batter – fish n chips, fried shrimp, etc.. because I smother them in malt vinegar, tartar sauce, lemon juice and so on. But once the flavor starts making its way through, I have to push away from the table. In fact, eating a simple rice and egg musubi in Japan requires maintenance as I have to remove the rice that still retains the flavor of seaweed.

    Remember people, stay vigilant and keep coming up with clever and polite ways to say “i don’t live fish and seafood.’

    1. Hi MM, sorry if this is random. I’m a writer for San Diego Magazine and was googling “San Diegans who don’t like seafood” and came across your comment. I’m working on a story about people who go against the grain in some way–don’t like beer, don’t like the beach, etc–and would love to talk to you. Would you email me at claire at clairetrageser dot com? Thanks!

  12. I can’t stand seafood and I thought I would give some reasons. Im not a fan of meat in general, it took me until college before I would touch raw chicken and I basically cried the whole way through the first few times and had trouble eating it. It’s been a struggle in just about every meat department. This is because thinking about this being a dead animal creeps me out and fish make no effort to hide this, they just throw this dead animal right on your plate! I’ve also always had this unwritten rule that I can’t eat animals that are too cute or too ugly and fish are as ugly as it gets. The sea is the grossest most disgusting place on the planet so I don’t get people who say things like “it’s best fresh out of the ocean”, like you don’t sanitize that first?! How is the smell appetizing? I think people are lying. You can talk about good fish not smelling bad and having a mild flavor all day but I’ve never walked into a restaurant or house cooking it without losing my appetite until my nose gets used to it. Ive had people try to trick me into eating it by giving me something they know I can’t taste it and I can immediately smell it and taste it. Whatever you put it in the taste doesn’t blend it sits alone ruining the other flavors. I really want to like it because my bf Filipino and we plan on moving to Japan but when it gets near my mouth my whole body starts uncontrollably shaking because I’m so scared. It doesn’t help that I had a Thai salad that had something fishy in the sauce and I had a bad allergic reaction.

    1. Oh, sweetheart… I hear you! It’s cool though… you’re in the fish-free guild with all of us. Welcome aboard– not into the ocean…_just_above it :-)

  13. If you really want to see people’s heads spin a la “The Exorcist” try living in the South and going to a BBQ and (quietly & apologetically) announcing to your host that you don’t eat meat. And yes that includes fish and seafood. Especially that shrimp your serving that was farmed in Vietnam using only God knows what antibiotics, pesticides and fecal matter. (No I don’t actually say that last part, I’m just thinking it.) Cue the head spinning & hissing. Cheers!

  14. I was at a restaurant recently and I asked the waitress, “how is the steak”? She looked at me with disdain and said, “I don’t know, I don’t eat meat”.
    To me, this is equivalent to a car salesman telling me that he doesn’t drive.

    1. Yes, you’re right. Her employer should’ve made it a requirement that she eat meat in order to expedite and deliver the food (steakhouse? Check yelp for reviews, Duh!) you order from her- who didn’t even have a single part in cooking.

      If you listen to a song that’s got an awesome beat, but, it’s in…IDK…say French… do you say you hate the song because you don’t understand the words?

      Flawed logic. Her vegetarianism has no bearing on your ability to order.

  15. Oh, Matt, finally someone has put this into words for me.

    How many times must I hear, “You have to try this, it doesn’t even taste fishy.” As if I’ve simply been cursed with sampling bad fish my entire life.

    I could say I don’t like liver, coffee, cilantro, red meat, olives, even eggs, and people seem willing to accept it, but fish… nope, they’ll always challenge the statement.

    When I say I don’t like fish, it’s not that I haven’t tried it before (and in so many forms). I’m not one of those stubborn people who insist they don’t like broccoli even though they only tried once… when they were eight years old.

    “But I’ve seen you eat fish.” Sure, I can physically eat fish (although there have been a few times my gag reflex kicked in)… and I genuinely attempt to sample something new when it is put in front of me… with some borderline traumatic results (still regret that day I tried pickled herring). I guess I still want to believe there will be a piece of fish that will please my taste buds.

    All this said, there are some “fishy” foods I tolerate… California rolls… no fish, but I must cope with the not-my-favourite flavor of seaweed. Tuna salad… I can work with it. Sushi… it’s super risky, but I have eaten some sushi that was palatable. Friday Fish Fry… when you batter any mild food and deep fry it, it’s edibility increases.

    And to be honest… when I spot people rolling their eyes with pleasure when they eat fish, I’m a little jealous.

      1. I watch others, enjoying seafood with disbelief and revulsion. I do not feel that I have a disorder which needs to be overcome, or that I am “missing out” on anything. Stand your ground, and don’t give in to pressure from fish-eaters/pushers.

  16. Thank you so much for this article! I have been saying to everyone, “I am allergic to seafood.” For YEARS! Because I have heard so many times before, “well you haven’t tried it this way.”, “you haven’t had it fresh!” “It must have been cooked bad.” NO, NO, and once again, NO! I am Thirty years old, and have had a dislike for seafood since seven. At the age of thirteen was when I finally started lying and saying, “I’m allergic” friends, ex’s, and even family members. I have tried it all, raw, cooked, fresh, fried, or not and it’s all the same, if I taste those anchovies in Caesar dressings I will know it, if you sneak it in, I will know it and immediately start vomiting. That’s th r worst part of it all, and how I know seafood is involved, I start feeling sick to my stomach. It pains me watching television shows with cooking competitions, or travel shows to Asia that always upset me when I look at these beautiful cuisines, always thinking “there’s another country I can’t visit, because where will I go to eat?” I want local, authentic, not McDonalds overseas.

    1. I’m allergic is a copout. The best response is honesty: “I hate fish and seafood. Period. End of discussion. The subject makes me hostile.”

      1. Joe,
        It’s not a copout to say that you’re allergic.
        I found it shuts people up immediately.
        They won’t try to convince, coerce or hassle you about trying seafood.
        Also saying you’re allergic will stop people from trying to sneak seafood into your meals.
        If I say I’m allergic to all forms of seafood then that person preparing meatloaf won’t add Worcestershire sauce to the ground beef, or try to add Vietnamese fish sauce into a meal.
        When I was 16 my Aunt did this to me because she thought it was funny. She knew that I hated seafood and made meatloaf and after we were done eating sitting around the dinner table she asked me in front of everyone, “How did you like my meatloaf?” I said it was good, although I’ve had way better meatloaf before. She then announced loudly with a mischievous grin that she had added Worcestershire sauce to the ground beef and that I had just ingested seafood. I got up from the table, went straight to the powder room and vomited. I was really angry and when I came out of the bathroom I got into a really heated argument with her. The argument was so bad that words were said that couldn’t be taken back. My Aunt and one of my 3 cousins, that didn’t like how I spoke to their mom, never spoke to each other again after that.

  17. No Sea-food or Lake food or Pond Food or Aquarium Food or anything that can live successfully under water for ANY period of time :-)

  18. I find fish and seafood utterly repulsive. Love sea creatures when they are alive but once they’re dead I can’t stand to look ask them or smell them. I understand what you go through when you tell certain people you don’t like fish or seafood. They look at you and do not comprehend. But I no longer repeat myself to try to make them comprehend because it seems that no matter how many times you tell them fail to comprehend. Well that’s not exactly true. I will repeat it a second time, but more loudly and forcefully. That they do understand. They know it means leave me the f**k alone. :-)

  19. I laid down the law when I was 15. “Do not ever attempt to serve me another piece of fish, in any form or method of preparation. Any attempt to serve me aquatic proteins will be interpreted as an act of war. You will lose.” I am now 47 years old, and have never found any curiosity in the food groups I declared an anathema, and I never cooperate with fish-pushers (fish eaters are fish pushers, too).

  20. Mortimer Aeinhardt

    It’s fine if one doesn’t like a certain type of food, but I don’t get the ‘hate’ part. I mean if for example you had either seafood or sleeping on an empty stomach as choices. Still, whatever. Each his own right?

    Personally though I eat anything, so long as the cook doesn’t look filthy. And I sometimes dream of seafood, yum. As a matter of fact, I found this article by googling “I love seafood.”

    1. In the world there is something you don’t enjoy. Maybe snails, maybe broccoli, maybe roasted cat shit, but there is something. What if every few times you go to eat someone is trying to force it down your throat. Repeatedly cooking it so you have to deal with the overpowering stench filling the room. Ruining your appetite and then repeatedly berating you for having your appetite ruined, and telling you it’s all in your imagination. At some point it would get old, you’d become bitter towards that food and frustrated with people that constantly tell you that THEY KNOW what YOU like and don’t like.

  21. I love you. I go through this all the time. “Have you tried this”, “You might like this”. NO. I am 58 and have tried it all. Will never like it. I too say I am allergic now. Cheers to cows in the lake!!!

  22. So true. I have had to leave restaurants when people are eating the bike stinky things as I start to gag. Apart from all things fishy though I am an adventurous eater. The comment that gets me is when people say fresh fish doesn’t smell and the aroma is already making me retch.
    And don’t get me started on the eyes looking up from a neighbour’s plate.

  23. Fish is really nice I’ve been reading this and I cant understand why you all dislike/ have family members dislike fish.
    I still agree about oysters though: they’re disgusting

    1. Let me help you understand. There must be other foods you don’t like besides oysters. For example, since you think oysters are disgusting, you wouldn’t eat them in any form, right? So if you went to a party where the host is serving oysters and you tell them you don’t like them, and the host insists you must try his/her oysters because they’re made a different way. In your head you know for a fact that you don’t like them at all, in any form. That’s what fish haters get ALL the time. It’s frustrating.

  24. I like fish but have never cared for seafood. I can handle clams depending on how they are made(clam chowder) and fried calamari. That’s it. I think it’s more common to meet people who don’t like fish but love seafood. My brother and my son both fall under that category. I have honestly yet to meet someone in person who doesn’t like seafood. I really thought I was the only one out there. That mouth gaping shock is all too common for me. Good to know I’m not alone :)

    1. Laura,
      “I like fish but have never cared for seafood.”
      Fish is seafood!!!
      What is fish? It’s a food.
      It’s food that comes from the sea. And all food that comes from the sea is, SEA-FOOD.
      And yes, SEAWEED is seafood also.

  25. Try being the girl who dislikes seafood, fish, steak and grits in the south! People give me hell about it everytime I mention I don’t like one of these.

    1. Be strong in the knowledge that the majority of diseases come from the domestication and ingestion of animals. Most meat eaters will die with debilitating mental, heart, and/or bowel diseases brought on from ingesting meat. Most animals are kept in their own filth and studies are now showing that when animals die in extreme fear it causes their brains to release chemicals into the meat as their butchered that cause the increased production of estrogen in humans. They figure this, rather than growth hormones as previously thought, is causing increased numbers of obesity and effeminate nature in young men, and rapid early development in young girls. “To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

  26. I too avoid fish & most seafood like the plaque. I did try calamari on a cruise & it was good provided it was covered in cocktail sauce. The reason I don’t eat fin fish is because I have a phobia of fish. Yes, I am terrified of them & there is no way I am putting anything fish related into my body. Try explaining that to someone. As a result, I often use the “I’m allergic” excuse; however, it’s only half a lie because I am allergic to shell fish. Too makes matters worse, I don’t eat tomatoes & everything comes with tomatoes on it. If I unknowingly eat something with raw tomatoes in it my jaw will lock up once I taste it.

  27. I find this article so odd, because in my life…in my area…almost NO ONE like fish (or shellfish). “I hate fish” is very common thing to hear, far more common than “I love fish”, anyway. Quite a few people will just shrug and say ‘it’s okay’ but it’s very rare to hear anyone claim to LOOOOVE fish/seafood. If you went to Japan, now, I think you might starve to death if you couldn’t eat anything fishy as they tend to add things like seaweed flakes (so fishy!) to even their rice…but where I live? You don’t get weird looks or anyone trying to convince you otherwise if you say you don’t like fish. Frequently the response will actually be, “Yeah, me neither.” I live really far from any possible place to buy fresh fish…it’s just not something anyone grew up eating. I can see where if you’re on a mainland somewhere, it’d be less common to dislike fish, but…isn’t an awful lot of North America non-fish-eaters because they don’t have access to anything fresh and frozen fish is just not equivalent?

  28. This is a great article to find and makes me feel far less alone in my hatred of all things seafood. The one question I have for anyone reading this comment – what’s your strategy for telling people that you don’t like seafood, without them getting all weird about it?

    I think it’s the most bizarre thing whenever I tell this to someone, they must insist on getting me to try it anyway. I don’t like it… why can’t that be enough. Why must you attempt to make me succumb to your tastes?

  29. Great to read and see that others are in this group
    I’m always awed by fish and seafood lovers responses when I say I don’t like seafood….they act so surprised ! I mean seriously…I don’t FREAK out when someone tells me they don’t like beef , and then proceed to tell em they must not like it because they’ve not tried it fresh from the field or prepared in some special way. ….If I told em I was a vegetarian then that would be ok and accepted. But to flat out just not like fish or seafood is somehow a sin !!
    Some one needs to write a vacation restaurant guide on restaurants not focused on seafood.
    And yes at age 56 I’ve tried many different seafoods and fish. Even fresh lobster that I caught myself in the Florida keys. I just don’t get that oooh aaawe drooling for it sensation that my relatives and son do. We just need our own category for it like vegetarians, then maybe some seafood lovers wouldn’t look at us like we’re aliens.

    1. Oh, they do freak out, get all offended, and act like you are infringing on their world if you say you are vegetarian. I’ve been vegetarian for 8 years and just shrug it off now, but I couldn’t believe how many people react. It’s like they think you are telling them that they are wrong and that you want them to stop eating it too (happens not just with vegetarianism but when I used to say I don’t like steak/ fish/mushrooms (though I like those now-yay)/alcohol/beets/artichokes. I have never tried to convince someone to become vegetarian or told them what they eat is wrong. That’s their business as long as they don’t chop it up in front of me. A woman ahead of me at the grocery store checkout became enraged when she saw me buying vegetarian dinners and lectured me as she slowly put things on her cart, pointing at me, how I’m living wrong, ancestors ate meat, we are MEANT to eat meat, I should go on a farm and get over it, I’m not getting nutrients, I shouldn’t tell people not to eat it (lol so hypocritical), blah blah… it was like I was an alien species posing her and her entire family dire harm. Just bizzare. This behavior needs to be studied. Why do people feel so confronted when someone tells personal information about themselves that does not impact another person whatsoever?

  30. Ok…. how about referring to ourselves as “pescanilatarians” ? Piscis in Latin means fish and “nil” to me means Zero, zilch, notta gonna eat it so stop asking. Lol.
    Or maybe aquanilatarian ?

  31. This is how I feel about beer.

    When posting about my hatred of beer in online forums people often say that I “sound like I’m younger” and when they were in their early twenties they said the same things before trying more varieties— what they fail to realize is at 51, I’ve likely tried more types of beer than they have LOL.

  32. Fellow Seafood "Hater"

    I don’t like seafood either. There’s just this weird taste whenever I eat any seafood(with some exceptions). When I was younger, I could still eat crabs but there’re the same for me now. I gave eating seafood a lot of chance and I even tried out some oysters this afternoon, but it’s still the same. Honestly, the only seafood that I still chose to eat is octopi and squid since they have no flavor at all.

  33. Bacharuddin Adieb P

    I do not like fish or seafood either, I think I’m the only one in this world who has such an oddity

  34. the seafood hater

    I have hated fish since i was a kid. Every friday we would eat fish and i wasnt allowed to leave the table till i finished my plate. On holidays my father wouls often catch fresh fish and make me eat it aswell. The horror still haunts me every day. My wife is a huge lover of fish and for her even now i still try it out sometimes. Im actually cooking a meal with fish right now. I looked up the article cause of the horrible smell. I love close to the coast and people dont understand how you can dislike seafood or fish. All these reactions make me feel very good. Im not alone!! My honeymoon was to Japan. Again a horrorstory. Everything was either with fish, seafood or seaweed. Often even pork was cooked with seaweed. I survived on macdonalds and chicken there. I honestly dont understand why people make such a big deal out of it. I know people who barely eat vegetables or fruit cause they dont like it and noone cares but if i dont like fish i must be crazy or something.

  35. I grew up in Alaska, catching the freshest most awesomest salmon and many other fish, but have never been able to stomach it. My parents used to try to get me to eat fried Halibut, “It doesn’t even taste like fish!”, they’d say. Yeah, it does. All fish tastes like fish.

    The thing is, I don’t consider myself a picky eater. I just don’t eat food that tastes like it’s gone off. And that’s what fish tastes like to me. I like basically everything in the fruits/vegetables category (except cilantro which tastes like detergent), so apart from the one whole category Fish/Seafood, I have a fairly adventuresome palate. But I get called picky because the very smell of fish turns my stomach.

    I was eating at a Thai place recently with an Indian colleague of mine, a strict vegetarian. I asked him if he thought it tasted fishy. He couldn’t determine that it did. But it did. I asked the waiter if our Penang Curry was fish-free, and he asked if I was asking because of an allergy. In other words, there’s none unless it’s a life-threatening emergency, but if so, then yes there’s fish in it. Because it’s Thai food.

    The thing that gets me these days is all these superstar cooks and chefs who add fish sauce for umami. On ribs. In chile verde. In mac ‘n’ cheese. Seriously. Nasty.

  36. Marshall Lentini

    Also hate hipster foodie jive about “needing” seafood. The Swiss would’ve perished centuries ago if that were true. Man doesn’t need your smelly overpriced dried seaweed from Whole Foods. A block of cheese or an egg will do.

  37. So glad to finally people like me! And I am Asian so I think it’s a capital sin not to like fish or seafood.

    I just don’t like the “fishy” smell. I gag.

  38. ..Sea food is gross. ….Prawns and shrimps look like maggots and cockles, mussels etc taste of rubber. ..even with regular fish I didn’t eat until I was in my teens. …even now prefer tinned fish. ..

  39. This speaks volumes to me. Every single word, it was almost like reading something I had written myself. Especially about trying different seafood, I’ve been open minded and tried so many different things but the very best I’ve ever managed is “it’s not terrible”

  40. I am not the only one who does not like fish, esp salmon. Mind you I don’t like eggs, milk, butter and absolutely loath cheese. You should see the looks I get when I say I hate cheese!

  41. I cannot explain to anyone WHY I have a STRONG aversion to ANYTHING seafood. If it came from the ocean, it’s not passing through my lips. Period. I can’t even stand sitting next to a person eating seafood. My fiance knows I won’t kiss him after he eats seafood, until the next day. LOL I joke that for a high enough sum of money — you could probably get me to do something illegal or immoral, but NOT to ingest any seafood! Someone once said that perhaps in a former life, I drowned in the ocean, hence this illogical aversion to seafood. Maybe. But, I’d sell a body part to own a home by the ocean! Go figure.

  42. Denise Pepe Walker

    This post is exactly how I feel about my disliking fish & seafood. Thank you! I’m so glad that I’m not alone. I also have other foods that I simply don’t like and have tried, especially condiments like mayo, mustard some dressings, dips, cheeses. Not so much fun eating at picnics. Lol…

  43. I too don’t like seafood. I remember as a child eating shrimp, trout etc. I have tried many times as an adult to eat seafood. No. I don’t like it. The smell is off putting. The texture of shellfish really makes me gag! People look at me like I’m crazy or something! They really do act like pushers! Like I say to my kids, try it at least once before you say you don’t like it. After that I won’t make them eat it if they have tried it and not liked it. It’s a matter of respect. Glad to hear that I am not alone!

  44. Sooo glad to read this article and know there are so many others out there who don’t like fish and seafood. I’ve been a picky eater all my life. After I got tired of hearing my husband’s favorite cocktail party conversation describing all the things I don’t eat, I did some research and came across an article on super tasters. I bought a tasting kit online and found out that I am a super taster. My sisters both tested as super tasters (neither like seafood or fish). Not surprisingly, my husband and his 4 siblings all tested as normal tasters. It would be interesting to hear if others in the “don’t like seafood or fish” category are super tasters as well. P.S., my husband no longer discusses my picky eating.

  45. Honestly tho, a fish fillet with a sauce or something is fine. But wtf is the deal with serving me a whole fish, with the fins and head and shit. HOW IS THIS APPETISING?? I just want to trow up in my mouth, I ain’t touching that shit. Even if somebody sees that I’m starving and cleans it for me, the meat still tasted like some lake chicken wonder. No matter how much lemon you put on it.

  46. Thank you so much for this article! What I don’t understand is why it’s perfectly okay to be a vegetarian but it’s seemingly against the laws of nature to be a pescatarian. I’ve tried it all, even shark, and would rather be a vegetarian than eat seafood, although I love meat. I’m sharing this article with all my friends and family. And I love the idea of printing it on business cards!

  47. Likewise. I dislike fish and seafood, except for one type in particular: Tuna Salad. No, not Tuna by itself. Just Tuna Salad. I also used to like fried Cod only with tartar sauce and/or ketchup, but I hardly eat it anymore. If I have to and there is nothing else to eat, then sure, I’ll be okay with it. Otherwise, no thanks. Some even regard me as half vegetarian, as I only eat beef, chicken, pork, and turkey. None other exotic meats.

  48. I am also from maine and my entire family does not eat seafood do I wonder if there is a genetic line for this or sthing

  49. This could have been written by me – 100%!!! I grew up with a dad that smoked his own salmon, lived in Japan where I tried all sorts of unusual seafood, and finally did try lobster this year and actually had an allergic reaction to it. I despise all seafood and fish and can even taste if there’s anchovy paste in a Caesar salad dressing! People don’t understand and they care WAY too much! I don’t care if someone is a vegetarian or something. They need to just accept that we are all individual and move on! Thank you for this great article!

  50. I can definitely sympathize with the author.

    That being said, I’m perhaps not so extreme, as there are SOME categories of seafood I do more or less like:

    – Fish and chips – however it MUST be made from West Atlantic whitefish with very fat, buttery, meaty flesh; that stringy skinny stuff they use in Britain makes me yack and I always ask, “How the **** did you people conquer two-thirds of the globe on this diet?!”
    – Shrimp or even crawfish – hot or cold, breaded/fried or natural is usually fine. The real problem is that I live in France, where shrimp are rarely “de-veined” (meaning they don’t bother to take the doody-filled digestive track [that dreaded black line down the back of the shrimp] out) before serving. Whenever I explain to a Frenchman what it is, he either shrugs and says “Rich in minerals!” or makes fun of my American hygienic hang-ups.
    – Crab – if it’s cooked properly and dipped in a lovely garlic butter it is very, very palatable indeed.

    There are some other seafood stuffs I can handle if I have to to save face, or if others are enjoying it and I just don’t want to miss out:

    – Raw oysters – with a glass of chilled white wine and I admit, mostly for show, though. Won’t touch them cooked (and actually prefer to stay away from most mollusks cooked: it’s like eating a warm juicy booger).
    – Salmon – yes, it’s “oily fish” and rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and very flavorful. I just don’t like the flavor. (See above for fried (white)fish and chips: it’s so light a flavor that it tastes more of the butter, salt and batter than anything else. I don’t like the flavor of fish.)
    – Lobster – really, you could do worse. Again, though, it’s just like crab with a bit more of a rancid flavor, to me.

    Do you see a pattern? I dislike the texture of the mollusks and dislike the flavor of fish and crustaceans. Where the flavor is light and can be drowned out by butter, salt, garlic and dairy, I’m totally cool with it. Where it’s something “elegant” where the edge can at least be offset by an equally elegant wine, I can tolerate it.

    But seafood just for the sake of seafood? NO, never! And here’s the really funny thing: I love boating! In fact, I sleep better on a boat than on land. But I hate fishing. And it’s even funnier, because I *love* hunting. And have no problem chopping up avian or mammalian guts. Heck, I love most bird and mammal organ meat: liver, brains, marrow, you name it! But I can’t gut a fish. Seriously, fish guts make me gag *every* *time*.

    Anyway, pass the ribeye, please.

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