What Does Dolphin Taste Like?

Dolphins aren’t exactly a popular meat choice here in the US. In fact, while it is technically legal to capture them in US waters, there have been no recorded cases since 1993. However, out of plain curiosity or anything else, you may wonder just what eating one would taste like out of plain curiosity or anything else.

When cooked, Dolphin meat has a similar metallic flavor and taste to the beef liver. It can also have a chewy or beefy taste depending on where it was caught. However, dolphin meat generally contains very high mercury levels and may pose health risks to humans when frequently consumed.

Dolphin meat can have quite a surprising taste, especially if you’re trying it for the first time. However, the taste experience is generally similar whatever the species, with only subtle differences between them. This post will show you exactly what to expect when trying out a new dolphin dish.

What Does Dolphin Meat Taste Like?

Many people erroneously consider dolphins as another type of fish and expect them to taste similarly. But dolphins are mammals and will taste closer to meat than anything else. The meat texture is often dense and chewy when eaten, and it comes in a familiar darker shade of red. 

While it won’t taste like ham or bison, you’d probably love it if you’ve always enjoyed eating beef liver. The metallic taste of beef liver is very similar to what you’ll experience with a bite of dolphin meat. However, if that doesn’t sound like you, chances are that this one won’t make your favorite food list.

How Is Dolphin Meat Cooked And Eaten?

Interestingly, dolphin meat is a popular delicacy in Japan. The Japanese often eat it raw in little thin strips called sashimi. The meat is usually cut into small strips, garnished with white radish, and then served with dippings like soy sauce.

The meat is cut into bite-sized chunks in other countries and then garnished with various vegetables before being fried and simmered. 

What is dolphin meat called?

Dolphin meat gets called different names depending on where you’re buying them. In Peru, for example, the meat is called Chancho Marino, loosely translated as “sea pork.” 

Some people also call the meat mahi-mahi, but this is technically incorrect because that name doesn’t refer to dolphins at all. The name Instead aptly applies to a surface-dwelling species of ray-finned fish.

Should You Eat Dolphin Meat?

Whether or not consuming dolphin meat is good practice can sometimes be controversial. For example, the practice holds cultural and historical meaning in some regions while completely abhorred in other climes.

However, from a health point of view, it is best to avoid eating dolphin meat if you can. However, should you crave trying it out for the experience, we recommend eating it in only small quantities. There are a couple of reasons why this is the popular consensus:

Your Health Comes First

The established fact remains that mercury levels in dolphins are simply too high and medically unhealthy for human consumption. Two major reasons for this are their food sources and the highly polluted waters they live in.

Being top of the marine food chain, these mammals accumulate high levels of mercury and other toxic chemicals. In fact, the United States FDA does not recommend its consumption for children and pregnant women.

Dolphins Feel Emotions Too

According to research, another more controversial reason is that these marine animals are generally considered intelligent and self-aware. As a result, many organizations and movements have been pushing for an outright ban on dolphin capture and consumption.

Most people fully support this notion, and there are existing regulations favoring dolphin protection. Unfortunately, this makes it more likely that dolphin consumption rates will continue to experience a decline. 

Is it legal to capture or eat dolphins?

While dolphin capture and consumption are generally illegal globally, different rules apply in many countries.

In Taiwan, for example, the capture, consumption, and trade of dolphins have been banned since 1989. However, there is still evidence to suggest that the practice continues, albeit on a much lower scale. 

In other parts of the world, like the US and Canada, there are existing laws to protect against indiscriminate killing and consumption of dolphins. 

These existing laws guide the capture and consumption of dolphins for their meat towards protecting their population. Some species of these mammals, such as the Amazon river dolphin, are already designated as endangered and require urgent conservation.

What You Should Know About Dolphins and Their Taste

Wondering what the potential flavor and taste experience of exotic meats, like dolphins, is a perfectly normal thing to do. However, whatever your reasons are, you’ll likely find the following useful information about these interesting animals useful to know. 

Here are some quick facts about dolphins and their meat tastes:

  • Dolphin meat is not a popular choice in Europe and the United States. However, even though the practice is strictly limited, it is still more commonly consumed in Asia. 
  • The mahi-mahi, more commonly called dolphin fish, is not a dolphin, even though it is often widely believed to be. The fish is commonly found in Hawaii and other coastal regions globally. 
  • Dolphins have their own unique language through which they communicate and are considered intelligent and self-aware animals. They commonly socialize with non-verbal and verbal gestures like clicks and whistles. 
  • There are presently 5 species and six subspecies of endangered dolphins globally, according to the IUCN.

Final Thoughts

Dolphins qualify as one of the rarest exotic meat you’ll likely come across if you’re someone who loves to explore. They are, however, probably not one of the best-tasting options around.

The closest you’ll get to its actual taste is with beef liver, as they both have the same signature metallic flavor. Unfortunately, you’ll need a bit of caution if you’ve got this as one taste to tick off your bucket list. 

Dolphins can be potentially unhealthy to eat and are generally best appreciated for many of their other qualities instead.