Famous Fish Meals from Around the World

Fish Meals

The culinary landscape of fish dishes spans the globe, each culture crafting iconic meals that celebrate the natural flavours and textures of sea life. From the classic British fish and chips to the delicate Japanese sashimi, fish cuisine offers a vast array of tastes for any palette. Here’s a tour of some of the world’s most renowned fish meals and what makes them distinctive.

Fish and Chips – United Kingdom

One cannot simply talk about fish dishes without paying homage to Britain’s beloved fish and chips. This classic consists of battered and deep-fried white fish—commonly cod or haddock—accompanied by chunky fried potatoes. Paired with mushy peas, tartare sauce or a simple squeeze of lemon, this dish is a comfort food staple across the UK. For those seeking a different seafood experience, mackerel fillet offers a flavorful alternative with its rich, oily texture and distinctive taste.

Sushi and Sashimi – Japan

Sashimi and sushi are quintessential Japanese delicacies that have taken the world by storm. Sashimi is fresh, raw fish or seafood expertly sliced and served without rice. Sushi, on the other hand, comes in various forms but is essentially vinegared rice paired with raw fish, vegetables, and sometimes seaweed. Both rely on the high-quality and freshness of the fish.

Bouillabaisse – France

Originating from the port city of Marseille, bouillabaisse is a seafood stew that embodies the essence of Provençal cooking. This aromatic dish includes a variety of fish, shellfish, and vegetables, steeped in a rich broth flavoured with saffron, fennel, and orange peel. Traditionally it’s served with a side of rouille, a mayonnaise made with olive oil, garlic, saffron, and cayenne pepper, spread over slices of crusty bread.

Ceviche – Peru

Ceviche is a flavour-packed South American dish, with its roots deeply meshed in Peruvian cuisine. Fresh, raw fish is cured in citrus juices, usually lime or lemon, with chopped onions, coriander (cilantro), and various seasonings. The acidity of the citrus ‘cooks’ the fish, resulting in a refreshing appetiser or main dish that wakes up the taste buds.

Gravlax – Scandinavia

Gravlax or gravad lax is a Nordic delight typically made from salmon that has been cured with a mixture of salt, sugar, and dill. After curing, the salmon features a soft texture and is thinly sliced, often served with a sweet mustard sauce (hovmästarsås) on bread or with boiled potatoes. This dish exemplifies Scandinavia’s long-standing tradition of preserving fish.

Paella – Spain

The Spanish classic paella has various regional variations, but seafood paella is particularly renowned. It’s a saffron-infused rice dish combined with a medley of seafood such as shrimp, mussels, clams, and cuttlefish. It is usually impressively served in the same wide, shallow pan it is cooked in, showcasing the bounty of the sea.

Bacalhau – Portugal

Bacalhau, or dried and salted cod, is Portugal’s national dish with the saying that there are 365 different ways to cook bacalhau, one for each day of the year. One popular preparation is Bacalhau à Brás which includes shredded cod mixed with onions, straw fries, and bound together with scrambled eggs.

New England Clam Chowder – USA

While not solely a fish meal, no food article would be complete without including New England’s signature clam chowder. This creamy soup features clams and diced potatoes, often thickened with milk or cream. Onions, celery, and bacon can also be added for extra depth of flavour. It’s a hearty bowl that encapsulates comfort, seafood style.


From Asian delicacies to European comfort food, fish meals showcase the versatility of seafood through methods that both preserve the fish’s integrity and amplify their flavours. Each dish isn’t just a meal but is imbued with a history and tradition that reflects the region’s culture. Whether it’s from a street-side vendor, seaside shack, or in a fine dining restaurant, the unifying feature of these dishes is fresh, quality ingredients. The global love affair with fish cuisine advocates that sometimes, the treasures of the ocean are best served on a plate.