Survey finds many UK diners don’t understand seafood dishes

Published on
August 12, 2022
A chef holding a seafood plate with lobster and mussels.

Nearly half of United Kingdom diners are confused about seafood dish terminology, such as sashimi and gravadlax, according to a new survey.

Forty-one percent of restaurant-goers said they don’t understand what the Japanese dish "sashimi" is, according to booking platform TheFork. In addition, 45 percent are baffled by the term “Gravadlax” (cured salmon with dill), and 49 percent don’t know what “Frito Misto” (an Italian dish of deep-fried fish) is.

Many are also confused about ceviche (46 percent), gambas (44 percent), Moule mariniere (33 percent) and caviar (15 percent), the company said in a press release.

Sixty-one percent said ordering fish and seafood can be as confusing as ordering wine at a restaurant, and 62 percent said they wish they were more knowledgeable about seafood.

To that end, TheFork and participating restaurants – Burger & Lobster, Seasons Mayfair, and Baccala – are offering the first “Shellmelier” steward program.

“For the first time ever, patrons will be offered a completely unique and one-on-one dining experience, enabling them to call on trained in-restaurant experts who specialize in all aspects of seafood and fish to help diners with their fishy dilemmas,” TheFork said.

Just like a Sommelier offers specialized knowledge and recommendations on wine, the Shellmelier service will provide dedicated fish experts brought in to share their knowledge with restaurant patrons – “from where to locate the tastiest, most tender meat in a crab leg to the simple hacks they’ll need up their sleeves to shuck an oyster perfectly, every time,” according to TheFork. 

“As our research has uncovered, we’re a nation of fish lovers but surprisingly don’t know much about it - from how to pronounce it to how to unlock maximum meat and flavor,” TheFork Managing Director Patrick Hooykaas said.

The Shellmelier service offers seafood stewards “who are ready and waiting to show diners how to really maximize their fish dishes or do the dirty work in the fish preparation so diners can sit back, relax and enjoy their meal without any of the prep pain,” Hooykass added.

Meanwhile, TheFork found that Britons’ lack of seafood knowledge extends beyond restaurants. Forty-seven percent said the only fish they have ever cooked has come from a supermarket – either battered or breaded.

In addition, 49 percent of those polled admitted they would have no idea what to do with a whole crab, 49 percent have never filleted a fish, and the same amount have never descaled a fish. In addition, 35 percent have never attempted to grill a whole fish in their oven at home.

“And despite living on an island," TheFork said, "nearly four in ten Brits, (36 percent) have never peeled a prawn, 43 percent have not prepared mussels, and nearly half have never shucked an oyster."   

Photo courtesy of TheFork

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