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Can You Eat Wahoo and How Does it Taste?

Wahoo fish are close relatives of the king mackerel, otherwise known as kingfish. Kingfish are popular in dishes both hot and cold, so it begs the question, can you eat wahoo, too? Well, wahoo are speedy fish, so they can be hard to catch, but if you do get one on your hook or you see it on a restaurant menu, you’re definitely in for a culinary treat!

Fresh Ono, or Wahoo, sauteed in a macadamia nut crust with capers and lemon sauce

Is Wahoo Good to Eat?

There is a reason why wahoo fish are called ono in Hawaiian. “Ono” means “good to eat,” which described wahoo perfectly. These fish are very lean, so they lend themselves to a variety of preparations, including grilled, baked, broiled, poached, sauteed, and blackened. Wahoo are naturally low in saturated fat and offer a variety of nutrients including niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and others. You’ll also get a high dose of omega-3s as well.

Taste of Wahoo

Unlike other fast fish and those of the mackerel family, wahoo fish doesn’t taste gamey and isn’t oily. Instead, the meat has a mild flavor and is delicate and flaky. When grilled, this fish’s flavor has been compared to veal or chicken. Smoked wahoo has often been likened to smoked turkey, and even people who say they don’t care for fish find themselves enjoying wahoo, no matter how it’s prepared. You might also find it in tacos, stews, or soups as well.

Eating Wahoo Raw

In Hawaii and the Pacific regions, raw wahoo is extremely common in both sushi and sashimi dishes. It has a nice texture, which lends itself to being chunked. Some parts of the fish are better cooked because they can be chewy when raw. However, most of the fish can be used in raw dishes. Additionally, if you’re going to eat it raw, do so soon after catching it, because it does not taste as good after being frozen and won’t last long otherwise.

raw wahoo sashimi

If you’ve never eaten sushi or sashimi, raw wahoo is a great introduction. Due to its mild flavor, you won’t be turned off by a strong fishy taste that might come from other types of raw fish.

About Wahoo

This fun sport fish is common in the waters around Hawaii, but they’re also known to swim in other ocean waters around North and South America. Sport anglers enjoy fishing for wahoo because they can be caught with light tackle, something that’s rare among other game fish. They can grow to be as long as eight feet and can weigh as much as 100 pounds, although the world record weighed 158 pounds. However, they average between eight and 30 pounds.

wahoo fish

Other Information

Since wahoo grow quickly, they are considered a sustainable fish that will quickly be replenished if caught and kept. For this reason, wahoo fish are a better option for food than some other game fish, including kingfish, bluefin, and yellowfin. However, like many ocean fish, wahoo fish do contain a high level of mercury, so eat sparingly. Pregnant women should not eat wahoo fish at all during their pregnancy.

If you’re looking to eat a sportfish that doesn’t taste fishy and is sustainable, wahoo fish are the ideal option. They’re plentiful and grow quickly, so you don’t have to feel bad if you pull a large wahoo from the water and decide to keep and eat it. You’ll be in good company, as this is a popular fish for food. If you decide to eat it raw, you may just discover your new favorite fish for sashimi.

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Written by Ryan F.

Ryan is a Philadelphia local who enjoys checking out Philly's restaurant scene every chance he can. He grew up in South Jersey and now lives in Philadelphia's Point Breeze neighborhood. Ryan also enjoys traveling and checking out local eateries in every city he visits.