While no fish can perfectly replicate lobster’s taste and texture, some fish have a flavor profile reminiscent of lobster or are often compared to lobster. These include monkfish, langoustine, redfish, rockfish and crawfish/crayfish.
Lobster is a delicacy we all crave time and time again. Whether it is in the form of a lobster roll or a butter-drenched broiled tail, people can’t seem to get enough of this light and buttery seafood treat. Unfortunately, lobster isn’t exactly priced for the masses.
Despite the fact that lobster was once used as prison food, it is now in a totally different culinary class, leaving many people without the opportunity to enjoy lobster regularly due to cost. This is why many often seek out fish that can mimic the taste and texture of lobster.
What Fish Tastes the Most Like Lobster?
Many fish may be in the sea, but very few taste like lobster. Experts agree that the often overlooked monkfish is the only type of fish that bears a similar texture and taste to real lobster.
With a very firm and bright-white flesh, monkfish boasts a sweet and mild flavor that is quite similar to lobster. Unlike other cuts of fish, monkfish does not boast a “fishy” taste, nor does it flake too much the way cod can.
Of course, it is important to bear in mind that the meat of the monkfish that has a similar taste to lobster is found in the tail. The tail meat is much sweeter and not as rubbery as meat found near the head.
What Is “Poor Man’s Lobster?”
Monkfish is so similar in flavor and texture to lobster that it is often referred to as poor man’s lobster.
Unfortunately, there is one small catch when it comes to monkfish. It may not exactly be a poor man’s lobster alternative in the modern-day. Believe it or not, monkfish is actually becoming more expensive than our beloved crustaceans.
As more and more people catch onto the value and flavor of monkfish, it is being sought out on a more regular basis. In many cases, the demand for monkfish has led to overfishing, which also drives up prices and makes the fish more difficult to obtain.
What White Fish Tastes Like Lobster?
Some white fish varieties have a flavor profile that is reminiscent of lobster. Here are a few examples:
- Haddock: Haddock is a white fish with a delicate taste and a slightly sweet flavor. While it doesn’t have the exact same flavor as lobster, it can provide a similar experience when cooked properly.
- Halibut: Halibut is a white fish with a flaky and firm texture. It has a mild flavor that lends itself well to being paired with lobster-like sauces or seasonings to create a lobster-like taste.
- Cod: Cod is a popular white fish with a mild flavor and a tender, flaky texture. While it may not have the same richness as lobster, it can be used in recipes that aim to mimic lobster dishes.
What Alaskan Fish Tastes Like Lobster?
A few Alaskan fish varieties have flavors and textures reminiscent of lobster. Here are a couple of examples:
- Alaska King Crab: Although not a fish, Alaska king crab is often compared to lobster due to its sweet, delicate flavor and firm, succulent crab meat. It is highly prized for its rich and indulgent taste.
- Black Cod (Sablefish): Black cod, also known as sablefish, has a rich buttery flavor and silky texture. It is highly regarded for its delicate taste and can be prepared in ways that evoke a lobster-like experience.
It’s important to note that the Alaskan king crab is not a fish but a type of crustacean. However, if you’re specifically looking for an Alaskan seafood option with a lobster-like flavor, Alaskan king crab is an excellent choice.
What Fish Tastes Like Lobster Without Being Expensive?
If you’re looking for the best fish that offers a similar flavor to lobster without being as expensive, here are a few options:
- Langostino: Langostino is a small crustacean that is often referred to as “squat lobster” due to its resemblance to lobster meat. It has a sweet, delicate flavor and a texture similar to lobster. While langostino is not technically a fish, it can be a more affordable alternative to lobster.
- Rockfish: Rockfish, also known as striped bass or Pacific rockfish, has a mildly sweet and delicate flavor with a texture that can be similar to lobster when cooked properly. It is often more budget-friendly than lobster but still provides a satisfying seafood experience.
- Crawfish/Crayfish: Crawfish, also known as crayfish or freshwater lobsters, are small crustaceans that have a taste and texture reminiscent of lobster. While they are not fish, they can be more affordable options for those seeking a lobster-like experience.
- Whitefish: Various types of whitefish, such as cod, haddock, or pollock, can offer a mild and delicate flavor that can be enhanced with seasonings and cooking techniques to mimic the taste of lobster. These whitefish varieties are generally more affordable than lobster.
Why Is Lobster So Expensive?
Why do people want to know what fish tastes like a lobster in the first place? Well, because as mentioned above, lobster can be pretty pricey. It isn’t exactly something you’re going to whip up on a weeknight just because the craving strikes.
In fact, outside of coastal towns in the US and abroad, lobster is typically reserved for celebrations, special occasions, or an expensive night out at a fancy restaurant.
The question is, why is lobster so expensive?
It all has to do with farming, transportation, and consumer perception.
Lobster Cannot Be Farmed
Most seafood dishes and types of fish can be farmed with ease. Unfortunately, lobsters cannot be farmed in the same manner as cod or monkfish. As a result, when a person wants to eat lobster, they’ll have to buy lobster tails or whole lobsters that have been freshly caught from the sea. While this may be the ideal way to garner a lobster, it makes it more expensive than if it were farmed in a different environment.
Additionally, lobster is expensive because demand is very high, meaning there is quite a bit of competition which serves to drive prices up even higher.
Learn: How To Use a Lobster Trap
Public Expectation and Perception
Are we to blame for the expense of lobster? In many ways, yes. Public perception and consumer expectations have driven the price of lobster up significantly. People see lobster as a luxury food, something that’s worthy of a celebration or a special night out. Because of this, lobster can be sold at a much higher price, as people will pay regardless of cost.
When people expect something to cost more, they tend to be willing to pay more as a special treat. Lobster is a delicacy, but cuts of fish like cod or pollock are not.
Monkfish is now seeing the same problem as lobster itself, which is why the cost of this lobster-like fish is skyrocketing.
Transporting Lobster Isn’t Easy
Lobster spoils far quicker than most other types of meat. Still, most lobster we eat regularly is shipped quite a distance. Keeping lobsters alive during that transport process is very expensive. Despite these measures, many lobsters will die or spoil en route to their destination. The cost of these spoiled and dead lobsters is passed on to you when you order a lobster dinner.
The whole logistical process is a bit of a headache, which makes lobster inherently more expensive than a typical cut of fish.
Can Fish Really Taste Like Lobster?
Obviously, nothing is a true replacement for a piece of lobster, but monkfish is as close as you can get, followed by langoustine, redfish, rockfish, crawfish/crayfish, cod, halibut, and pollock.
While it may not be as satisfying as dipping a lobster tail into a crock of melted butter, many of these pieces of fish make fine substitutes when costs or availability are a factor.
It all comes down to the type of fish you choose, preparation, and your overall expectations. If you can get a nice piece or fillet of monkfish, you’ll just be pleasantly surprised by the lobster-like qualities this monster-esque fish can bring to your palate!