uncleaned fish? ok?

Joined Sep 29, 2002
At my local chinese market, the fish is displayed ungutted. When you order it, they then procede to gut and do the rest. I'm wondering if it is bad that they have it ungutted. Should i shop at a place that already has the fish cleaned or is this ok?

Joined May 26, 2001
In my experience with Western and non-Western fish markets, that's the usual: whole fish are WHOLE, and only cleaned when the customer requests it. I never worry about it. I'm more concerned with checking all the other signs of freshness -- bright bulging eyes, clean smell, tight scales, etc.

If it really really bothers you, only buy fish from places that keep them live, in tanks, and kill (and clean) them only when you buy them. Now THAT'S fresh!! :lips:


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
I never buy my fish from "western" fishmarkets anymore. Never buy frozen from an ethnic grocer. For some reason they freeze at the point of rottenness, not frozen at the peak of freshness :) The exception to this being a Japanese grocer who, at least around here, don't seem to sell fresh fish. The fish you get from there is mostly very high quality processed and frozen at sea.

Yeah, like Suzanne says, don't sweat the guts, it's only natural. Better yet, get a fresh one out of the tank.

Joined Dec 4, 2001
The quality of "fresh" fish at any market can vary quite a bit. My test is smell. If I walk in the store and smell fish, I walk right out again, even at Asian markets where they clean the fish on the spot. Here in SF I am spoiled, with any number of good quality fish markets (Asian or otherwise.) :)



Joined Apr 4, 2000
Like they say in Elements of Taste, a fish store should smell oceanic not fishy.
Joined Nov 29, 2001
If you're like me, then you eat lobster roe and other goodies that might be considered... unsavory by some. Western fish mongers scrape out all the innards in the interest of "cleaning" a lobster. The oriental fish markets leave edible delicacies in place and let the purchaser decide whether or not to discard them.

Frankly, I liken gutting a fish with plucking a chicken - something I'd rather leave to someone else. But it's nice to be given the choice.
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