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How to Differentiate Quality Seafood from Poor Seafood

May 19, 2014 | Food

Everyone has had seafood once or twice in their life, at least. Some restaurant fans consider themselves experts in the area of seafood. What reality differentiates quality seafood from poor seafood though? The quality of the seafood you consume boils down to two things, who supplied it, and was it prepared fresh? Those are the two key questions to think about and look into when visiting any seafood restaurant.
Who Supplies the Seafood?
The supplier of the seafood matters because they usually dictate just how fresh the seafood is. If you are visiting a seafood restaurant in Florida, and they are receiving some of their seafood from Alaska, how fresh do you think that is? Granted, that is an extreme example, but you get the point.

The locality of the supplier of the seafood makes a big difference in just how fresh your fish is when it makes it to your plate. A restaurant could have the best supplier of seafood in the world, but if they are located thousands of miles away, it is going to have to be frozen before it is prepared.

It really all boils down to the time it takes from when the fish is caught to when it ultimately makes it to your plate. Local seafood suppliers could, theoretically, catch a fish that day and you could be eating it that night. The best way to gauge this is to inquire at the restaurant about whether or not their seafood is supplied locally or abroad.
Is the Seafood Prepared Fresh?
The amount of time a restaurant takes to turn around seafood and get it to your plate also impacts the quality of it. Even if a restaurant were to use a local supplier, if it takes them two weeks to use the fish, it is going to be frozen. So what is the problem with frozen seafood? Frozen seafood, especially fish, begins to lose a lot of its taste and some of its nutrients in the freezing and thawing process. What this leaves you with as a consumer is a piece of fish that has to be heavily spiced in order to bring some of that taste back.

You may not think you would notice the difference between frozen and fresh, but if you had the chance, you would. If you ever want to experiment with this, you could even try it yourself with a piece of frozen fish and a piece of fresh fish. Prepare them both the same way, and see which one tastes better. The higher quality fish, the fresh fish, is going to have a more fulfilling taste.

So what is the end game with quality seafood? It all comes down to how fresh it is. Talk to those at your favorite restaurant and get a sense of who supplies their seafood. If they are using a local supplier, chances are that you are eating a piece of high quality fish. If not, you should seek out a restaurant that serves his level of freshness.