Has anybody here ever tasted seal or whale?

I’ve always wanted to serve some of the foods that would have been served at (the Fall 1621 historical event commonly and inaccurately referred to as) the First Thanksgiving. Some accounts (written long after the fact) say that seal was very possibly one of the meats.

I’ve read that seal tastes like whale (which was eaten to some extent in New England after the whaling industry took off) but having tried neither I was curious as to the taste. Various accounts say it tastes similar to liver, though salty, and that it tastes like a “fishy steak” (the beef taste being the flesh and the “fishiness” from the flavoring of the aquatic fat). Obviously I’m sure it depends on what part you eat, but… in general, those who’ve eaten it how would you describe it?

Years ago I had canned whale meat. It was vaguely like beef, but very very dark and oily.

a few months ago I had Whale Sashimi (raw whale, japanese style) and it was pretty good. It tastes very meat-like for a fish, kind of like a subtle red-meat. The meat itself was actually a darkish red like one would associate with raw steak or something. It wasn’t particularly delicious or anything, I did it for the experience (I’m actually against whaling) as I wasn’t the one who ordered it. I can definitely say it tastes NOTHING like liver, which is a food I don’t particularly like at all. That said, I feel no need to ever eat it again as it wasn’t overwhelmingly delicious (my date, a native Japanese girl, didn’t like it at all) like say Buri or Hamachi are :smiley:

edited for typos (why MS hasn’t incorporated a spell-checker in IE yet, a la Firefox, is beyond me. Why I have to use crappy IE at work is even more bewildering)

Makes me think of someone describing dining with Hannibal Lecter. :slight_smile:

But I digress and steal the thread.


I was in Japan in July. I ate a remarkable number of new raw fishes- and lost the darned list !!! Anyway, whale was one of them. Small slices of raw whale. With bits of blubber along the edge. Dark and oily is accurate, but not in a rancid or bad way. To be guiltily honest, it tasted amazing.

They said it was research whales, harvested once they die. I believe they were lying to my face.

ETA: I concur. It tasted a lot more like rich beef / pork than fish flesh. Which makes sense, since whales are not fish. :wink:

Apparently so.

I have also had whale sashimi, so I for one know exactly what you mean. IMO, raw whale tastes like a delicious combination of tuna and beef. It tastes fatty and smooth, a little earthy, but also a little umm… tuna-ish? Note I mean raw tuna, not cooked tuna.

I thought it was delicious fwiw. I’ve had it in Shizuoka and in Tokyo. It was better in Shizuoka (I hear a lot of seafood is better there). I’m not a huge fan of current Japanese whaling practices, but my stomach beats out my head every time :smiley:

I live in Toyama, which many people say has the best fish in all of Japan (I’ve tasted Sashimi in expensive restaurants in Tokyo and cheap restaurants in Toyama and there is absolutely no comparison, so to that amount I agree. It’s sort of like paying $20 for a McD’s hamburger or getting a real pub burger for $5. That said, I’ve not been ALL OVER Japan so who really knows?)

blondebear: As for the taste, as I said before it’s meatier-tasting than raw fish, almost like a beef steak. Kinda hard to describe, but remember it’s a mammal not a fish and that kinda puts you in the right mindset. It’s decent, but I definitely like Buri, Hamachi, even Maguro much better

I’ve had seal. It’s gross. It looks a lot like liver when it’s raw. Tastes like very rich fishy red meat. I’ve also had polar bear (also gross, also fishy. I ate it boiled) and blubber (it’s like eating a huge hunk of toenails). I’ve seen people eat fermented walrus…I could barely stand to be in the same room. I’m a bit of a fussy eater, lots of people (non-inuit) claim to love the stuff. I do enjoy caribou though. Yum!

I’ve had seal flipper pie in Newfoundland. Very oily and dark. Didn’t really like it that much.

Is there a “bloody” taste to it at all?

I wonder if the fishy taste comes from the fact the animal lives mostly in the water or because it mostly eats fish.

not the seal flipper pie, but I think that’s because the recipe involved molasses, as I recall. So it was a combination of dark, oily and molasses.

no, it didn’t taste bloody at all, and it was raw. And truth be told, I don’t know what kind of whale it was, though I assume it was one that eats fish. take meat and replace that slight bloody taste with a slight fishy taste and that’s kinda where it was. Hard to describe. Definitely a little oily, but not in a bad way, oily always brings up a negative connotation imo, and this was not a negative oily.

I always put minke whale on the bbq at least once every summer. It tastes a bit like beef; but if you don’t prepare it right the fish-liver taste is really strong.

Not a bad meet at all.

I had whale at a sushi bar in Iceland. I didn’t think it was very good, compared to the other stuff available. It was pretty oily as I recall.

We don’t eat our fish raw, that’s weird asian stuff :wink:

And the oilyness (?) is lack of preparation. I usually soak it in milk for 24h first, which supposedly drains most of the oil out of it and makes it taste a lot better (first milk, then marinade, so it won’t taste like milk).

Yeah, I would have rather tried a local version, but wasn’t sure where to go. Plus, I figured I could try just a little bit at a sushi place. It was the sushi joint upstairs in the big book store. I’ll have to try puffin next time.

Puffin is great! You should try both whale and puffin at 3 Frakkar, next time you show up.

But to unhijack :wink:

Never tried Seal, but according to what I’ve heard, it’s much more of an “acquired taste” than Whale.

I’ve had whale with my Icelandic uncle. It was very oily and had a distinct and strong fish-liver taste; he loved it - I could barely keep it down. Perhaps he isn’t the chef WormtheRed is. He has brought med some strange Thorrablot dishes from the feast the ex-pat Icelanders have in Copenhagen each year. Most of that stuff was pretty good.