Have you ever eaten a piece of chicken and found that it tastes exactly like eating fish? If so, you might be wondering what’s going on and how chicken can possibly taste like fish. It isn’t a very pleasant experience!
Why does my chicken taste like fish? There are a few possible explanations for chicken that tastes like fish. One may be that the chicken has gone bad, in which case you should not eat any more of it. Another explanation is that the chickens were fed on fishmeal before being slaughtered, and this taste has transferred to the flesh. A third possibility is that there was residue in your cooking dish.
Why Does My Chicken Taste Like Fish?
The Chicken Has Gone Bad
Your chicken may taste like fish for a few different reasons, but one of the commonest is that the chicken has gone bad and is no longer safe to eat. Bad meat can take on all kinds of funny tastes, and a fishy flavor is often a sign that it is no longer fresh enough to consume.
The very first thing you should do, before you take another bite, is check the expiry date of the chicken. How fresh is it? If the chicken has passed or is close to its expiry date, it may have gone off, and you should not eat it.
You should also think about how you stored the chicken. If you failed to refrigerate it within two hours of getting it home, it may have gone off even if it is still within its date. If you refrigerated it near another meat, especially fish, smells and tastes may have been transferred from the other meat.
The Pan Had Been Used For Fish
Check whatever you cooked your chicken in and think about whether you cooked fish in it previously. If the last meal made in the skillet/tray/pan was fish-related, it is possible that a lingering scent or smell has transferred to the chicken.
In this case, you may decide that the chicken is not appealing any more. While there may be no problem with it, an unclean pan could have transferred bacteria to the flesh.
You should always use a clean pan, clean knives, and clean utensils when preparing chicken. If you have used a chopping board, knives, etc., for any other kind of meat, wash them thoroughly before using them to prepare chicken.
This will reduce the risk of bacterial transfers and strange tastes in your chicken.
The Chicken Was Fed On Fishmeal
Some farmers feed chickens fishmeal. Chickens are omnivores, so fish is a perfectly reasonable food for them, but unfortunately, it can result in flesh that tastes rather fishy. This is not appealing to many consumers.
If you notice it consistently with a particular brand of chicken and you are sure that you are following the storage instructions correctly, it’s possible that that chicken is being fed on fish prior to being slaughtered.
If this is the case, you may wish to swap to another brand. Many farmers no longer feed their chickens on fishmeal because of this issue, but it is a good source of protein, so some farmers still use it.
Occasionally, low-quality chicken will also have a fishy taste, even if it was not fed on fishmeal. Again, changing brands will solve the issue.
You Are Stir-Frying Your Chicken
You might be surprised to learn that stir-frying chicken could lead to an unpleasantly fishy flavor. Although this is a common cooking method, it can cause this problem because the frying process sometimes produces chemicals that taste fish-like.
This is particularly true if the pan has not been washed, even if you haven’t cooked fish in it. If you have a well-seasoned pan with many layers of oil, you may find that the proteins in the pan are causing a reaction with the chicken that creates the fishy flavor.
This is caused when the lipids oxidize, and it usually occurs when chicken is fried at a fairly low temperature in very little oil. It can produce a surprisingly strong fish flavor.
You can try roasting, baking, or deep frying your chicken instead, and this may solve the issue for you.
What Should You Do If Your Chicken Tastes Like Fish?
It is best to discard meat that you are unsure about for any reason. A strange taste, smell, or texture can mean that the meat is no longer safe to consume, and it’s not a good idea to risk it if you are uncertain.
If your chicken tastes like fish, take some time to review whether it is in date and it has been stored correctly. Has it been put too close to other meat products and been contaminated by them? Is it close to its expiry date?
You can also inspect the chicken for visible signs of mold, or for a strange texture. The absence of these things does not guarantee that it is safe to eat, however.
It is better to throw away chicken that tastes odd to you than to risk getting food poisoning from eating moldy meat. Meat can harbor some very dangerous bacteria, and it is important to be cautious and trust your senses when assessing its viability as food.
If you believe you have stored the chicken correctly, check other aspects of your preparation routine, such as whether you used clean knives, pans, etc. Avoid stir-frying your chicken in the future, and try other preparation methods.
If you are still having problems, change the brand of chicken that you buy. This may solve the issue, especially if that brand is being fed fishmeal as part of its standard diet.
Chicken that tastes like fish is far from appetizing, and if you are worried about it, do not eat it. Many people have this issue and it isn’t always easy to pinpoint the cause, so err on the side of caution and dispose of the meat. If you find the issue recurs, look into your preparation habits and consider changing the chicken you buy.