Can You Eat Koi Fish? (Must Read)

If you are familiar with goldfish and common carp then you are likely to know Koi fish as well. This fish is the ornamental version of common carp and its history is believed to date back to the early 19th century in Japan where the wide colorful ones were caught and bred by the rice farmers.

However, there are records of people feeding on koi fish in the past, but they are not exactly safe for consumption.

Koi fish are also believed to have originated from East Asia and with over 100 varieties out there, it’s pretty hard not to want this fish in your pond. This fish is cherished in Japan as it is believed to bring good luck. It is also associated with strength and perseverance.

Yes, you can eat koi fish, but you probably should not. It has recently been discovered that quite a lot of people over the world enjoy it and since it’s a type of carp fish, it is going to taste just like fish and carry some nutrient value. Koi fish are not exactly poisonous but certain varieties might contain a lot of mercury, and they can carry parasites that can make one sick as well.

Koi fish is a really expensive type of carp, although they are very easy to care for. People from the various regions have two or more koi in their ponds, and it might look similar to a goldfish, but it is an entirely different species.

The unique coloration of koi fish is enough reason to have it in your pond. They have a reputation as being a table fare. But there has been a bit of a dilemma on whether they can be eaten or not. Are you curious about how koi fish taste? Or suddenly wondering if it’s possible to eat it? Let’s help you learn more about this popular carp fish.

The Purpose Of Koi Fish Explained

Understanding how koi fish came to be and the initial reason why it’s bred can help decide if it should be eaten or not.

Koi fish is highly loved in Japan and its purpose initially was to be bred and eaten however it was believed to help bring good luck, so they begin to appreciate it more as a pet rather than as food. Koi fishes were associated with perseverance, fortune, and strength of purpose.

The Nishikigoi variety specifically was kept for decorative purposes. The Japanese rice farmers had koi fish in the pond as a source of food, and it can still be found on the menu in some Bengali kitchens but has gone ahead to have more value attributed to it.

It does have more significant use to the Japanese people than food.

what to feed Koi fishes
Image: Envato Elements

Is It Safe to Eat Koi Fish?

You can eat koi fish and quite a lot of people have been discovered to enjoy eating koi fish.

Koi is edible for anyone who can eat carp, and it does taste really good, although it’s also very expensive and has to be considered a luxury fish. Some varieties of koi fish meat have been discovered to contain lots of mercury which is not exactly safe for humans.

There are over 100 varieties of koi fish in the world and since they were all historically bred to be used as food then this means they can be eaten but due to how expensive and rare they are, humans find them to be more suitable as pets than food.

Koi can be found on the menu in some Bengali cuisine or Thai kitchen, but they are not exactly palatable compared to other eatable fishes.

If you are looking to try out something new or learn more about the history of Koi through your taste bud then you can as well try it. However, there is no reason to consider koi fish as a delightful fish to add to the menu. It tastes just like any average freshwater fish and its nutrient quality is low. Koi fish is an ornamental fish with cultural value hence they are best off as pets.

Is Rain Water Good For Koi Fish?
Image: Envato Elements

Does Koi Fish Taste Good?

The preparation method is going to determine what koi fish tastes like. It can make a good treat depending on how you cook it and what kind of flavor is infused into it however note that it does taste similar to carp fish.

It is quite an expensive delicacy, so you might want to experiment with different kinds of flavors and find one that gives you what you want.

Wrapping Up

Koi fish is a certain type of carp fish, so it is safe and okay to eat it, but some varieties do contain lots of mercury which is not safe for humans.

If you do happen to travel to a foreign country where koi fish is on the menu, you might want to try this in appreciation of the fish, but you do have to ensure it is safe before you eat one.

The risk of mercury is not the only thing to worry about, but it is also bred in heavily polluted waters and can carry parasites that can make one sick.