Types of Fish with Their Name, Picture, and Flavor (Comprehensive Guide)

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Types of Fish
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All types of edible fish are high in nutrients and protein and can be the highlight of a tasty meal. Common types of fish are cod, hake, and haddock. These are generally white kinds of fish with a delicate taste and mild flavor. Also, darker colored fish such as pink salmon or red tuna are very popular due to their rich taste and omega-3 fatty acids. Most supermarkets and restaurants stock a wide range of fish varieties from all over the world.

Fish is a type of aquatic animal that inhabits most of our seas, lakes, rivers, and oceans. All fish are vertebrates, and types of fish are divided into groups such as bony fish, cartilaginous fish, and jawless fish. Most of the fish we consume are bony types of fish. Some cheap types of fish include mackerel, sardines, and tilapia. Expensive types of fish in a restaurant can include bluefin tuna, swordfish, and wild salmon.

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In this article, you will learn about the most popular types of fish that we consume. You will also find out about which kinds of fish to choose if you want a mild-flavored fish or strong-flavored one.

Types of Fish

Before looking at some of the best edible fish to eat, it is important to know about the groups of fish.

Red, pink, or orange fish are some of the tastiest fish and can be some of the most expensive. Tuna is a deep-sea fish with meat ranging in color from pink to dark red. Salmon, rainbow trout and monkfish are popular species of bony pink fish with a good fishy flavor.

White, flaky, mild fish are the most commonly consumed fish as they tend to be less expensive than pink or red fish. Whitefish such as cod, sea bass, or flounder usually have delicate mild fishy flavor and flaky flesh.

White, lean, and firm fish such as black sea bass, sword fish and pearlfish.

Dark and oily fish is usually strong-flavored fish and some delicious kinds are mackerel, sardines, tuna, and salmon. These meaty fish types are also important type of food because of their omega 3 fatty acids.

Different Types of Fish

Let’s look in more detail at all the various types of popular fish you can find in restaurants, supermarkets, and fish markets.

Tuna

tuna

Tuna is a popular type of edible fish in many restaurants

Tuna is a deep-sea fish and one of the most expensive fish you will find on a restaurant menu. There are 15 species of tuna that belong to the tribe Thunnini. Some species of tuna are also some of the largest edible fish in the sea. The Atlantic bluefin tuna can grow up to 15 ft. (4.6 m) long and weigh over 1,508 lb. (684 kg).

Fresh tuna is a dark-colored meaty fish that can range in color from pink to dark red. Tuna steaks have a meaty texture with a sweet mild flavor and they taste nothing like the canned variety. As tuna cooks, it turns from red to a light tan color.

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Salmon

salmon

Salmon is a pink deep sea fish favored by many people

Salmon is a healthy oily fish that is well-known for its pink-colored meaty flesh. This large species of fish in the family Salmonidae and is related to trout. Depending on if salmon is caught in the wild or farmed, the flesh may be a darker color. For example, wild salmon is usually a dark pink to red or orange color whereas farmed salmon is usually light pink.

Apart from being an excellent source of healthy omega-3s, salmon is popular due to its non-fishy taste. Most people describe the taste of salmon as more meaty than fishy. The taste, however, may depend on its species. Atlantic salmon is a full-flavored meaty fish whereas Chinook salmon has a milder flavor.

Salmon is eaten pan-fried, baked, cured, smoked, and grilled.

Trout

trout

Rainbow trout has a mild flavor with flaky white, pink, or orange flesh

Trout is a species of freshwater fish in the same family as salmon and is found in lakes and rivers. Species of trout are divided into genera such as Salmo, Oncorhynchus, and Salvelinus. Compared to salmon, trout has a similar taste but a more delicate flakier flesh. Different species of trout can range in color from light pink to white.

There are a number of popular types of trout that are popular around the world.

Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) has light pink flesh and a mildly fishy flavor that is very delicate. This fish species is often identified by a light red stripe along the sides of its spotted body.

Brown trout (Salmo trutta) is a subgroup of the family Salmonidae that live in both freshwater and saltwater. Generally, brown trout has a stronger fish taste than rainbow trout and it also has light-colored flesh.

Sea trout is a common name for types of trout that are caught at sea. Similar to salmon, trout start their lives in lakes and rivers before heading out to sea. They then return to rivers to spawn.

Pollock

pollok

Pollock is a mild white fish and is common in fast food chains and restaurants

Pollock (Gadus pollachius) is a marine fish that is found in the Atlantic Ocean around North America and the British Isles. Atlantic or Alaskan pollock (pollack) has white flaky skin and a mildly fishy taste. Sometimes, the flesh can have a beige/gray tinge to it.

One of the reasons why this mild whitefish is popular is that it is a cheaper alternative to cod. If you are looking for a delicious piece of fresh white fish, then pan-frying or baking a pollock fillet is a great idea.

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Sea Bream

sea bream

Sea bream is a type of white fish with mild taste

Fish in the family Sparidae are collectively called sea bream and they generally inhabit the Mediterranean and Eastern Atlantic coasts. There are over 150 species of sea bream and most have a silver-colored body and a large dorsal fin.

Sea bream is a popular fish dish in restaurants in Mediterranean countries. It has a mild delicate flavor and succulent whitish-gray flesh. Many fish lovers rate sea bream as one of the tastiest of all the whitefish available. This type of fish also popular for people who enjoy the Mediterranean cuisine.

Sea Bass

sea bass

Sea bass includes several fish species with white firm flesh and a delicate flavor

Sea bass is the name for a number of fish species in the families Serranidae, Moronidae, or Latidae. Some popular species of sea bass include European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax), Japanese sea bass (Lateolabrax japonicus), and Asian sea bass (Lates calcarifer).

A popular type of sea bass in North America is the black sea bass (Centropristis striata). This Atlantic species of fish has somewhat firm white flesh and a delightful delicate flavor. When cooked property, sea bass flesh becomes flaky.

Sea basses are an extremely tasty fish that are also referred to as grouper fish.

Cod

cod

Smoked cod has a delicate flavor and can be incorporated in many recipes like soups, fishcakes, and pies

Cod (Gadus morhua) is one of the most popular types of whitefish, and Atlantic cod and Pacific cod the two most common species. Cod is a mild-tasting fish with flaky white flesh. When pan-fried or deep-fried, the dense flaky flesh becomes almost translucent.

Another type of fish in the same family as cod called whiting (Merlangius merlangus) is sometimes marketed as cod.

Similar to cod and just as tasty is hake which belongs to the same taxonomic order as cod and haddock. This is a deep-water marine fish with pure white flesh and a pleasant taste.

Haddock

haddock

Haddock is one of the most common fish types used for fish and chips

Another species of saltwater white fish is haddock (Merlangius aeglefinus) belonging to the family Gadidae. Haddock is a fish found in the North Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, and in the seas off Iceland. Compared to cod, haddock doesn’t have such flaky flesh and it isn’t as white.

Some people prefer eating haddock to cod because it has a slightly sweeter taste. In some parts of the British Isles, smoked haddock is a popular dish.

John Dory

John Dori

John Dory is a type of white fish with medium flakes with somewhat firm texture

If there was a list for unsightly edible fish, then John Dory (Zeus faber) would probably win it. However, what the fish lacks in looks, it makes up for in taste. The John Dory is a species of fish in the family Zeidae. Its English name comes French ‘jaune doré’ which means ‘golden yellow.’

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John Dory is often one of the more expensive fish on a restaurant menu. Its large head means that much of the fish is discarded when filleting. However, the white flaky flesh and the dense texture of the fish has a delicious buttery taste.

Dover sole is another expensive type of fish similar in texture and flavor to John Dory.

Turbot

turbot

Turbot is an expensive flatfish with a strong taste

Turbot (Scophthalmus maximus) is one of the largest and most expensive edible flatfish. The disc-shaped sandy-colored fish can measure up to 39” (100 cm) long and weigh 55 lb. (25 kg). However, most species of this flatfish weigh between 17 oz. and 22 lb. (500 g – 10 kg).

This delicious white-fleshed fish is prized in many countries in Europe and North America. The great flavor of turbot makes it a popular restaurant fish. The white meaty flesh has a distinct fishy flavor to it which flakes well if cooked right.

Turbot is similar in taste and texture to halibut, which is another expensive flatfish that is extremely tasty.

If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to turbot and halibut, choose brill fish. This deliciously-tasting flatfish has a sweet flavor that some rate as better than turbot.

Plaice

plaice

Plaice is a popular type of flatfish which includes several species

Plaice is a common name for 4 species of flatfish in the family Pleuronectidae. European plaice and American plaice are the most popular species of flatfish.

Like many flatfish species, plaice has good flavor and is as tasty as some more expensive fish. Plaice usually grows to a length of 20” (50 cm) and tastes great when baked, fried, grilled, or steamed.

Sometimes plaice are called flounder because the name flounder refers to fish in the suborder Pleuroncetoidei, Bothidae, and Paralichthyidae. Halibut are also called flounders.

Flounders have scales which means that they are on the list of halal and kosher fish acceptable to Jews and Muslims.

Basa

basa

Basa is a type of catfish with mild taste that grows in freshwater

The Latin name for basa fish is Pangasius bocourti and they are a catfish species in the family Pangasiidae. Other names for basa include ‘River cobbler,’ ‘pangasius,’ ‘striped pangasius,’ or ‘panga.’

Basa or cobbler is popular fish because it is cheaper than many other types of white fish. This whitefish has a mild taste and its flesh has small flakes. This is a good fish to use in recipes as its delicate flavor doesn’t overpower food and it readily takes on other flavors.

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Mackerel

mackerel

Mackerel is a type of oily fish with a strong taste and is relatively cheap

Mackerel is a strong flavored fish that has a dark meaty flesh and is a good source of healthy fatty acids. In fact, apart from salmon, mackerel is one of the best marine sources of omega-3.

There are 7 species of mackerel in the tribe Scombrini and more in the related group called Scomberomorini. Most types of mackerel are identified by their grayish oily flesh and rich flavor. Because mackerel has strong fish flavor, it is best served with acidic sauces. Many people fillet mackerel and grill it before serving with a lemon or mustard sauce.

Mackerel is also a cheaper alternative to other dark fish such as tuna or kingfish.

Sardines

sardine

Sardines are cold-water oily fish with a strong flavor

Sardines (Sardina pilchardus) are another species of oily fish and are in the same family as herring. There are a number of genera of sardines with the European pilchard being the only true sardine.

Sardines have a rich taste similar to other fatty fish such as mackerel. The flesh is dense and meaty and flakes when cooked properly. The taste of sardines is quite strong and unique; however, they don’t have an overpowering taste of fish.

For some people, eating sardines is an acquired taste.

Red Mullet

red-mullet

Red mullet has a pale pink flesh which is commonly pan-fried, grilled or steamed

Red mullet (Mullus barbatus) is a species of goatfish that is popular in Mediterranean cuisine. This is one of the more unusual-looking fish you will see at the fish counter due to its scaly red and pink skin.

Compared to other edible fish, red mullet is quite small in size. Although this is classed as a white fish, it sometimes has pale pink flesh. This is a delicate fish and it needs to be handled with care before baking or grilling.

When it comes to tasty fish, red mullet is one of the best. It has a deep flavor that will stand up well to strong ingredients such as garlic, herbs, and chili.

Tilapia

tilapia

Tilapia is a popular farmed fish with mild taste

Tilapia is a fish native to the Nile river from the family Oreochromis and is now a popular farmed fish all over the world. These large fish can have a black, red, orange, or silvery scales.

All species of tilapia are classed as whitefish and they have a mild delicate taste. This means that you usually need to prepare tilapia with a tasty sauce or marinate before baking or frying.

Tilapia are identified by their long dorsal fins extending nearly for the length of their backbone.

Gurnard

gunard

Gurnard has a firm white flesh that doesn’t break apart easily when cooking

Gurnard is the common name for fish in the family Triglidae in the order Scorpaeniformes. Also called sea robins, these fish are bottom-feeding aquatic animals.

Although they were once a cheap type of fish, gurnards have become more expensive. This whitefish species have a dense flesh that holds well during cooking and doesn’t flake off too much. This bony fish has a mild taste that seems to divide opinion. Some fish connoisseurs praise its flavor and texture while others dismiss this as a flavorless fish.

In the kitchen, gurnard is mostly used in soups and stocks because it doesn’t break apart easily.

Ling Fish

ling

Ling is a firm-fleshed and versatile fish that can be cooked in many ways

Ling fish are a group of cod-like fish that belong to the family Lotidae. These long fish can reach lengths of up to 6 ft. (2 m) and are found around the coastlines of Northern Europe.

The common ling has a good texture to it and nice flavor. Ling fillets are usually sold fresh; however, dried and salted ling is also a popular snack in some countries.

Swordfish

swordfish

Swordfish is an expensive oily fish with a meaty texture and mild taste

One of the most majestic edible fish could be the swordfish. The long pointed bill, black back, and silver underbelly look magnificent in the water.

Like tuna and mackerel, swordfish is classed as an oily fish. It has dense white flesh with a meaty texture and a mild taste. Because of its meat-like texture, swordfish is a good fish to cook on the grill or put on skewers. This is also one of the least fishy fish, so people who generally don’t like fish may eat swordfish.

Because it is caught on lines, swordfish is an expensive whitefish. Some swordfish caught at sea may have a pink tinge to their flesh due to feeding on shrimp. This is marketed as ‘pumpkin swordfish’ and is more expensive than ‘regular’ swordfish.

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