Posted on September 27, 2013
Posted by John Scalzi
Seriously, this needs your full and undivided attention.
Discuss, if you like, in the comments.
Also: Mmmmmm. Fish tacos.
Some other answer: beef goes in tacos. Fish goes on your plate. Boom. Done.
(Some other answer:) I’ve never had a fish taco and it doesn’t even sound all that great.
Fish tacos are pretty damn awesome.
Matthew E: if it doesn’t sound great, the thing you’re listening to tells LIES.
Never tried a fish taco. Sound gooey.
I love fish grilled and steamed, but in a taco, it MUST be fried for texture. Otherwise, mushy fishy taco.
Grilled if mahi mahi. Fried for all others.
Grilled or fried, I’m not picky. But steamed? Who does that?!
Not only should fish in a fish taco ONLY be fried but it should only be fried and eaten in Baja California, Mexico, at a roadside stand, preferably in a small, dusty town and washed down with an ICE cold Sol. There is no room for debate on this.
Fried, but first breaded in tempura batter. Like you get at a local chain here in So. Cal. called Sharkys. Yum.
I’m echoing @Matthew E’s response. I would like to try a fish taco someday, so I anxiously await the results of this poll so I make sure I do it right.
Fish don’t belong in tacos. (Bleh…)
Never actually tried a fish taco, so don’t considered myself qualified to opine on the issue.
It has to be fried, but it has to be a very light coating. We’re not talking fish and chips here, we’re talking tempura. If in doubt, grilled is safer. It’s just a missed opportunity.
While I am a vegetarian and do not personally partake of fish tacos, the question is about FISH tacos, and therefore I opined that the fish should be grilled.
Fried fish tacos are delicious! However, if you consider your heart, arteries, blood pressure, and your life span; you can eat more if you always have them grilled. And more fish tacos is always better than death.
Also, a proper fish taco needs red cabbage.
The fish in a fish taco should be prepared the way someone who actually likes fish tacos (not me) likes it. Also, re the second two possible answers: push poll a little? What are you, one of the Incrementalists?
Grilled, unless you’re getting it on the beach, in which case fried. Mmmmm, fish tacos.
Wahoo’s Fish tacos! When I lived in Boulder, this was the best place for lunch.
The fish in a fish taco should be beef.
It’s all about the chipotle crema.
Fish should not be in tacos. You monster.
Fried is my poll answer, but really depends on the fish. Wouldn’t turn down either at the moment.
It depends on the type of fish used in the taco, I suppose. I’ve had fantastic grilled mahi mahi and tilapia, but I’ve had shrimp both fried and sauteed in a taco and have liked it either way. And in the world of cooking, I’m sure you could get away with some sort of tempura, asian-themed fusion taco and make it tasty if you knew what you were doing.
I was HIGHLY skeptical of fish tacos and resisted for many many years, as it just sounds gross. I was so wrong. So very very wrong.
I know In-N-Out burgers are your regional fast food addiction out west, but when I took my first trip to California in 2010, I fell hard for Rubio’s. (I never did make it to In-N-Out.)
Grilled and in a corn tortilla, but my choice is predetermined by food allergies …. sigh….. luckily still pretty fantastic.
Fried of course. It’s how you eat any fish except for sushi and grilled salmon.
GRILLED?! What the hell is wrong with you people?!
I have had a fish taco once, and it was alright. Unfortunately, there is a severe lack of good Mexican-type food dispensaries in my area. There’s a few mediocre ones, but nothing that great.
Cooked in lime acid. No taco is better than a ceviche taco.
The best preparation depends on the fish, the style of taco, and the skill of the cook. I can endorse Aimee’s recommendation, above.
Also, if you plan to sneak the tacos into a movie along with a squeeze bottle of margarita’s, the fish must be fried.
Tacos contain ground beef. Anything else is an abomination unto Nuggan. (Sorry if this is a dupe; I can never seem to get comments to post correctly here.)
I understand the concept of a fish taco, and I’ve even tried them. But I just can’t get behind endorsing them, probably because I don’t like fish that much anyway.
Two words for you: Korean tacos.
^ can I retract that apostrophe, plz?
Worst ever–places who use breaded fish patties to make fish tacos. Yuck.
I think theTaco Bell chihuahua – is rolling over in it’s grave. Fish+Taco=Nada
Flashback to the Nickelodeon show “Rocket Power”:
“Is a feessh taco shaped like a feessh?”
Why set rules and limitations when it comes to fish tacos? Except the rule that there must be fish of some kind. A vegetarian fish taco is just slaw and a soggy tortilla.
Okay, I answered “Grilled,” but really, “Grilled, blackened” is correct.
John – I’ve been DYING to try Korean tacos. Unfortunately, I live in an area where the only haute cuisine I get is stuff that I make myself. Ironically enough, on the menu tonight for my family: Shrimp tacos :-)
Dude. If god had intended for us to eat fish, we would not have evolved.
Concur with either fried in VERY LIGHT batter or, if that is unavailable, grilled. Steamed = WHY.
Fish has no place in a taco. That is beef-space!
Not just fried, but battered. And crispy. It’s about the flavors and the textures together.
And anyone who thinks tacos can only have ground beef in ’em need to try the short-rib fry-bread taco I had the other day. Freakin’ delicious.
I answered other because I am a vegetarian but you are not a monster (or at least, fish tacos are not a symptom of your monsterness). So I could not in good conscience select the fourth option.
I’ve never had a fish taco!
I guess you could somehow feed fish to a cow, even if they wouldn’t really like it and are vegetarians, and I assume some portion of the fish would become muscle in the cow, and then could be consumed in a taco by way of a beef taco. Was this some kind of trick question?
Either fried or grilled works for me. It must however be served with corn tortillas. There absolutely can not be mayo on it. Fish on flour tortillas with mayo isn’t a taco, it’s a fish flatbread wrap, which is an entirely different dish.
I answered grilled, but definitely side with all others who have said that it depends on the type of fish – and the other ingredients in the taco, I suppose. Grilled peaches + grilled fish is awesome, but not so sure it would work with fried fish, for example.
Grilled. Tilapia or Mahi Mahi. I was a skeptic til my wife made them for me. Amazing. Fried doesn’t taste nearly as good.
Psh! Fried fish in a fish taco is just the easy way to make you *think* it’s delicious. You could fry boot leather and it would taste good. Grilling gives the fish an opportunity to shine and makes the cook show their mettle.
Just so we’re all on the same page: using Taco Bell as a gauge for Mexican food is like using McDonald’s as a gauge for steak.
Also, I chose grilled just because I try to avoid fried stuff. Wahoo’s on South Congress in Austin, TX has great fish tacos.
How about smoked? Does that count as grilling? ‘Cause smoked shrimp then put into a taco shell (soft) with some other fixings is damn good eats.
However you want the fish, have it that way. I’m allergic and won’t eat it, so you have the fish the way you want it and I’ll be happy for you.
Either grilled or fried! And usually leftover, so usually grilled.
I’m a “what you eat is your business” vegetarian, so I won’t click the “you are a monster” option. But definitely no fish in my tacos, please, eww.
Actually, in that regard, are we counting shrimp and other shellfish as fish in this scenario? I think that’ll weigh very heavily upon my decision making. Ugh, your poll torments me, there are so so many possibilities . . . and all of them are making me hungry (thank goodness its just about lunch time).
@clubfredbaja “It should only be fried and eaten in Baja California, Mexico, at a roadside stand, preferably in a small, dusty town and washed down with an ICE cold Sol.” <– I am getting on a plane now.
As long as it’s good fish cooked properly, either grilled or fried (light batter) is good. Mmm, Surf Taco in Belmar…
Not in there because NO FISH IN TACOS *YOU* ARE A MONSTER.
…. Or, I have probably just never had a good one.
(Other answer) Fish are not for humans, just dolphins. Except for the Babel Fish. Putting fish in a taco shell is like putting a cow in a lobster shell. Taco shells were designed for cows..
Tacos should *never* contain ground beef. Barbacoa, lengua, puerco guisado, carne al pastor or carne asada, always. Higado and pescado, if excecuted well. (Goat liver tacos are brilliant.) Ground beef is for poor, benighted people who live in culinary deserts like non-Francophone Canada. Come down to Texas and I’ll give you the grand taco stand tour. Change your life, it will.
Like others… I feel the type of fish makes a difference in how you cook it.
And, yes… Some fish should be steamed. You could even steam it in the taco and call it something French…
I’m one of the “other with details” folks, so:
Tempura fried is best, pan fried or grilled are okay. But for an occasional something different, don’t discount pickled!
Seriously. Spanish boquerones (a tapas dish; small pickled fish, sometimes lightly fried, sometimes steamed. Traditionally anchovies, but sardines or smelts (best) work better IMO). In a tortilla, with onion and bell pepper, cholula or tabasco (or if you can get/ make it, peri-peri sauce). Mmmmmm.
I think all the votes from people who have never experienced a crispy fried fish taco should be automatically discounted. If your preference is for grilled (we’re talking for reasons of flavor only, not for health) then (while you’re obviously wrong) you’re entitled to your opinion.
Steamed? Steamed? How is that even a thing? How do you steam a fish? You steam broccoli, not fish.
I will take grilled or fried, but I prefer the satisfying crunch of fried.
Never had a taco before, fish or otherwise, but grilling is the obvious way to cook it. Anything else is JUST WRONG! Ahem.
What howye and mistfrost said, plus: Swai IMO is to tender to grill, so fried swai. Salmon, grilled. Pollock stays at the store. Come to think of it, with enough pickled jalapeno, blue cheese, lime and cumin pollock might be alright in a fish taco.
Great, now i want fish tacos for lunch, Scalzi you troublemaker!
P.S. I am with the grilled usually, but it depends on the fish. Also, ceviche fish tacos on a dock in Puerto Moreles looking at the Caribbean water is simply the best.
Nice to see so many vegetarians and/or people who think you are a monster here…
Grilled, of course, but fried is tolerable. Steamed would be a perversion of nature.
(Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
Sunil Patel, steamed fish Thai style is awesome. Lemongrass, ginger, fish sauce, garlic, chilies, kaffir lime leaves, steamed in tinfoil. But, like grilled fish, it does not belong in a taco. Only fried fish should ever be placed in a taco.
Ah now it depends on the type of fish surely, but for my money it should be wood smoked obviously, preferably using beechwood to do the smoking.
Fish tacos? well, it is Friday :). Oh, and I go with ‘grilled to blackened’. There has to be /texture/.
grilled, always. You get the crunch from the cabbage and cilantro slaw.
I must be biased from my Ensenada experiences before the whole fish taco thing took off up here in the States. Anything but fried is an abomination in the eyes of the lard.
It should be in YOUR taco because I’m one of those strange vegetarians who won’t eat myself but I really don’t care what you eat. (As long as you enjoy it. Forcing yourself to eat stuff you hate is just weird)
Here in the Pacific NW, we see fish tacos done both ways and with a variety of recipes (some use various salsa-like accompaniments to the fish, some use a more cole-slaw-like approach). My preference is for grilled, but I agree with those who are partial to the “Very Lightly” school of fried that that can also work well.
Oh, and for ldgilmoure: I have seen fish tacos with grilled salmon (the Chevy’s chain has been doing these in our area), and they are excellent. I have also — and this surprised me no end, initially — run into really excellent salmon fish-and-chips in a couple of places.
@CM: “Ground beef is for poor, benighted people who live in culinary deserts like non-Francophone Canada.”
I am offended right down to my Torontonian bones. (Even if I do plan every trip to Montreal around places to eat.)
I stopped reading after I saw fried…
Sunil Patel: Covered microwave safe dish, sprinkle the delicate flavored fresh or thawed fillets with dill weed, lemon crystals and salt. Nuke at high for a little while to to hurry it up, switch to low.
I never had a fish taco. Just beef or chicken.
Do fish feel pain when you cut their heads off?
Other: I’m allergic to fish, so although I do a lot of cooking other things, I have no opinions about how to cook fish.
Fish Tacos are the devil. Tacos must be beef. Or chicken if you must. Fish must not go on anything. That is all.
Some other answer because I don’t eat anything with fish. Tacos are for beef (or occasionally chicken). No fish!
Fish in a taco? =shudder= Fish should be stuffed w/ dill, lemon & butter, wrapped in foil & put in either the oven or BBQ, then served w/ rice. Or alternatively battered, fried & served w/ fries.
I’ve never eaten a fish taco that I thought tasted good, so I can’t really answer this question. Also I am deathly afraid of fish bones going into my mouth so eating fish is hard in general. However if you were to offer me a fish taco that you declared as the best fish taco in the universe, I’m willing to risk death to try it.
Grilled, but I don’t really have a choice: gluten. Even before that was an issue, though, I chose grilled, with shredded cabbage, pico and a lime wedge to squeeze on top. Fish tacos should never be missed. Shrimp are good, too.
Here in Boca Raton, FL, there’s a place called Muddy Waters that I eat at very occasionally. I’ve only ever gotten one thing there:
Trio of Mudd’s Own Fish or Chicken Tacos
I always get the fish tacos. Always blackened. I’ve had Mahi, Grouper, Salmon, Swai, and Pangasius. They always come like this: in a grilled flour tortilla with cheddar cheese, cabbage, tomatoes, and Mudd’s Creole Tartar & Mango Salsa.
I’ve had many other fish tacos, including ceviche and ahi tuna tacos… and despite my adoration for sushi, Muddy Waters has my favorite fish tacos so far…
I vote fried. Some pretty awesome about getting a little crunch in the taco. Also disagree – mayo can have a place as part of a well developed slaw. Though I agree a big shot of mayo as a topping sounds gross.
I think it’s time for a Fish Burrito. Right now, the moment I take hands off keyboard :-).
The best fish tacos I’ve had were from a little taco place in Sacramento, CA. Pasados. (At least that was what it was called back then. Their fish is breaded and deep fried. This is the only right answer. And yes, Yummm. Fish Tacos!
To me it depends on the fish.
Salmon should be grilled, Tuna = raw, tilapia = steamed, and cod should be fried.
Grilled OR Steamed, because deep fried taste EW!
Other: why on earth would you wreck a good taco with fish?! Beef or chicken all the way!
Fish tacos are an abomination!
Fish? Why? The fish should be steak. and not in a taco, but on a plate next to a bigger steak.
Fish in a taco should be … tried once, I suppose, but the idea has never, ever sounded good to me at all.
tariqata: No offense meant, really! My wife remains scarred by a Toronto-area restaurant that offered spaghetti with “Spanish sauce” — in other words, a jar of mild salsa dumped on overcooked pasta. Brrrr. Though, to be fair, no worse than many of the places I’ve eaten at in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
For what it’s worth, Montreal and Vancouver are fantastic.
Some other answer: Just no. Fish do not belong in tacos. They do not belong on my dinner plate (or lunch plate, or breakfast plate, or in-between plate). They don’t taste good raw. They don’t taste better fried or grilled. Fish. Leave them in the sea, in our rivers and our lakes. Why? That after-taste. If I could get a quarter for everyone who’s told me: “You just haven’t had the right fish” or “Its been cooked wrong”. No. The answer is no. The fish you like, I’ve (probably) tried it. I’ve tried fish people claim is the best fish they ever did eat. People who like fish, your taste-buds are broken. Or mine are. But I vote for the former.
Fish are friends, not food.
(Cows, pigs, and chickens, however, are definitely food. The difference? Cows, pigs and chickens are TASTY. My taste buds do not like fish. No moral-high-roading here.)
Both grilled and fried can be used to make a delicious fish taco. The more important question is the sauce. Beautiful delicious wonderful perfect white sauce like you get in San Diego at the taco truck? Or some abomination of any other answer that you get at places serving their “spin” on a fish taco. Just no. White sauce or GTFO. I miss California.
This site has a pretty good recipe with the authentic “mystery sauce” that brings it all together.
Fish belongs in the sea. So the tortilla would get rather soggy and the filling would tend to drift away in any significant current.
Fish Tacos are an aberration – belch!
YOU EAT FISH?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Your vegetarian thrall,
PS: Scalzi ftagn!
@CM: Oh, no offense taken, really. :) I’d be scarred by that “Spanish” sauce, too!
The Fish in a Fish Taco Should Be: seasoned ground beef. What are you fish-favoring people? Space aliens? Californians?
I would vote for ceviche — lime juice pickled fish!
(I also would forgo the traditional cabbage for some other leafy green but that’s just because I can’t eat cabbage any more)
Chicken BECAUSE I AM RIGHT ABOUT EVERYTHING!
You “ground beef is the only thing that can go in a taco” people live in a sad, strange little world. Like fish, don’t like fish, be a vegetarian, as you will. But “ground beef is the only thing that can go in a taco” is sort of like “bologna is the only thing that can go on a sandwich.”
Allergic to cooked fish so umm…none of the above. Unless they have sushi style fish tacos?
Fish tacos are heavenly, for those who haven’t tried. Grilled/blackened of course. I just moved to Colorado from So. Cal, so no Rubios for me. But there’s a Wahoos down the street, so that will be my lunch today, thanks to this delicious thread.
I don’t necessarily mind breaded/fried fish (which is what I think of when the term “fried” is used). I’m not a big fan of grilled, where you get the blackened aspect. I l do like pan-fried (i e sauteed w/o breading), though. Of those three, I prefer pan-fried.
Luke… there are indeed ceviche and tartare tacos…
Here’s a few:
Mexican Ceviche Tacos
Spicy Tuna Tartare Tacos
Ahi Tuna Tacos with Avocado Salsa
You need to drive down to Cincinnati to Habanero’s near UC campus, and get a Mad Max burrito. Fried Tilapia with cheese, black beans, rice, cabbage and some of the best salsa ever.
Mmmmmmm. Shrimp is best and they’re fine lightly pan fried.
Sorry, but taco’s are for heavily spiced ultra-cheap ground beef. No fishies, no piggies, no birdies. Bonus points if they are made by a 50-60 year old, childless cafeteria lady.
Grilled, because why do you need a fried batter on the fish? That spoils everything. But yes – fish tacos: mmmmmm!
Fish tacos (soft shelled, grilled, cole slaw inside, and maybe some lime) are awesome!
This thread is an interesting commentary on social dynamics. I am right, you are wrong, if we don’t agree you are a perversion and still wrong. I think we all failed John’s test.
This seems to be the typical form most webscussions take.
Grilled: because meat might be murder, but fish is justifiable homicide – you ever look a fish full on? There’s no love in those eyes. Yep – grilled yum.
Grilled. The batter on fried fish gets all soggy and gross, with the cabbage and lime juice. Plus, you already have a delicious corn tortilla (preferably hand made) wrapping your fish. Why spoil it with batter?
Mmmm. Think I’m gonna get me some fish tacos for lunch.
I thought that “Fish Taco” was just a euphemism for… er… something. I didn’t realize that anybody ever actually made the things.
The fish in a fish taco should be replace with either carnitas or al pastor.
Grilled fish tacos? You people are all loony and need to just go eat some fajitas!
Deep Fry Represent.
Ozzie: The internet is full of perverse sentences, including this one.
Grilled if fish is fresh. Fried if freshness is questionable.
Everyone who thinks fish tacos are an abomination has just not had a great one yet.
First throw the Taco into a bottomless pit, then dip the fish in batter (gluten free if required), and fry. Serve with chips (french fries to you) and optional mushy peas. Serve on paper on a beach (almost any beach will do) to a soundtrack of greedy seagulls.
Blackened, in a cast iron skillet, topped with a crispy red cabbage slaw and a squeeze of lime juice.
I voted for fried because that’s what I’ve mainly seen offered out here. But, honestly, I don’t get fish tacos. I prefer beef, when I have them at all.
Fried because of the texture, but grilled is just as good if done properly. Wow, is it lunch time already? Rubios here I come. They do a really good shrimp taco plate but have had a grilled salmon with chimichuri sauce lately that is to die for…
Them fishies can be cooked any darn way so long as the meat is not squishy. Also, consider a light curry, cole slaw, and a flour tortilla. A taco, yet not a taco.
Friendly tip: If you’re in San Diego, the best place to get a fish taco is the Mariscos German truck, and the best thing there is the shrimp gobernador taco. South Beach Bar & Grill in Ocean Beach is also great, with a large variety of piscatory options. And don’t forget the Rubio’s chain. I’m fond of the blackened tilapia there.
Fish tacos didn’t show up until after I stopped eating meat (you monster!), but my wife eats the things. Grilled is obviously the right choice; if you want battered fried fish, it doesn’t belong in a taco with cole slaw that’ll make it soggy.
I think tacos work nicely with pinto beans, pico, and guacamole.
1 – Fish tacos in Ohio sound like a recipe for food poisoning. This is not an Ohio thing, this is a landlocked state thing.
2 – Fish tacos are, largely, gross.
3 – What’s wrong with your beef, chicken and pork, you monster.
I never heard of fish tacos until I moved to the Pacific North West. It sounded yucky but I tried one on a whim. Nom nom nom, they are soo yummy. Now I’ve made myself hungry. :p
I am surprised to see “cilantro” mentioned only once in this discussion. I hypothesize that cilantro preference correlates with grilled preference. We need more data elements and a cross-tab!
Or, I should get back to work…
Ceviche tacos is an answer, and letting the marinade “cook” the fish did seem to fall under “other”.
Epicurious has some nice recipes – Vining’s Bistro in Chatham, MA does a really nice tuna ceviche soft taco as an appetizer, they also to a warm lobster soft taco appetizer that is killer.
@GregEekout ….. Is “shrimp gobernador” the prequel to Sharknado?
Living in the Midwest now I really miss Rubios. There shrimp tacos were awesome. I assume they still are.
And you need a good sunset to eat them by..
You may cook the fish any way you please; I don’t eat fish tacos. As someone else said, fish goes on a plate; beef or pork go into a taco. But if you enjoy fish tacos, go for it!
So sad that so many of your readers have never known the joy of a fish taco. Fish tacos! And also churros! But not fish churros, that’s gross.
Well, if I got the sense anyone was actually being serious about their stand, then yes. But I think people are being hyperbolic for the fun of it, so no.
There’s a euphemism in there somewhere… (hur hur hur!)
But, yeah. Everything is better fried. Even salad should be fried.
“Fish” and “taco’ don’t belong in the same sentence. “Beef” and “taco” do.
Grilled Grilled Grilled …. I am always sad LATER after I’ve eaten a FRIED fish taco. Do not be fooled by the wonderful taste of a fried fish taco, it will come back to haunt you in ways that Cthulhu never dreamt.
It depends on the fish. Salmon, grilled. Tuna, raw if very fresh, or grilled. White fish, fried with tempura batter. Shrimp, grilled. I’ve not had “lime cooked” in a taco, but that has great possibilities. Unlikely to be found in Minnesota. Yes, only corn tortillas.
However http://jojutlas.com/ makes it is fine by me.
Here in the Deep South, there is such a thing as deep-fried sushi. And it’s quite good.
The only meat that belongs in fish taco is Black Angus Filet Mignon. Flat-top grilled.
Not only MUST the fish be grilled, it must also be shredded in the taco. It also makes them incredibly delicious when you eat them at a sea-side shack on the beach in Xijuatanejo……
Fish tacos are delicious! I’ll take grilled or fried, never steamed.
Fried or grilled. I’m not sure steamed would have the right texture for tacos.
There are far more healthy people (re: grilled fish) than I would have thought. I’ll stick with my deep fried fish (with all the cholesterol, TYVM). :)
[Deleted for being both a dipshit and off-topic – JS]
I am amazed not only at the number of people who have not ever had a fish taco, but especially the number of Philistines who declare such things should not exist.
I do not understand that kind of masochism.
Fish has no place in a taco. In Texas that space is reserved for venison!
I can’t stand the smell of cooked fish, so my vote is for salmon sashimi (raw salmon slices) versions. Yum!
Go with baked tilapia rolled in corn meal mix with Cajun spice and basted in garlic butter. Bake at 350 for 14 min. and then add to corn (wheat tortillas are an abomination) tortillas’ with a little Spanish rice, black beans, grilled jalapenos and onions and some chipotle ranch dressing. Can substitute white fish or striped bass in a pinch if fresh caught. Mummmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!
Wheat tortillas are failed pancakes.
“The first duty of the fish in fish tacos is to be fried. If you disagree, hop and a plane to San Diego, get a proper fish taco, and stop being a stupid poop head. Geez.”
– Brillat Savarin
Bob v17.4.0 is obviously British.
I don’t think you’re a monster, but I’m really happy that there was a vegetarian option!
Poached grouper, of course.
Fried, because it would just be _wrong_ without the crunch, and there’s only so much lettuce can take on itself.
(Also, vague declaration of hating you now because I don’t have fish tacos and can’t get them today.)
Count me among those amazed at the current sample of people appalled by the notion of fish in a taco.
You clearly haven’t spent much time on the West Coast, which is your loss.
Fried. If the fish is a white fish of some sort. If it’s salmon, then grilled. But only salmon.
Moving to California and discovering fish tacos softened the blow of giving up my Tex-Mex. Still have to go to Texas to get decent breakfast tacos and fajitas.
Never tried a fish taco. I generally avoid tacos in general, probably because I’ve only ever had the hard-shell variety and that’s just a ridiculously stupid thing to try to put sloppy food in. Seriously, hard-shell taco inventor, what were you thinking?
Hey Scalzi! I haven’t had a good fish taco since I was in San Diego. Is there a place in our lovely Miami Valley that makes a good one? I ordered some at a local joint and it was… below my expectations. Don’t hold out on me, man.
I voted fried, but had some coconut grilled Mahi-Mahi tacos in Costa Rica that were killer. It’s in a little beach town, open air, with swings for seats – in fairness, that combo would make just about anything taste better. Google Image search TacoBar Jaco for some drool inducing taco photos.
And no, I don’t work for them, my only crime is caring too much – these things are IMPORTANT, my friends.
If you’re not eating your tacos with carne asada, cilantro and onions, you’re doing it wrong.
I don’t really think you’re a monster for having fish tacos. But I feel obligated to let you know that fried eggplant and tomato tacos are super tasty.
Mike: How to eat a shatter-shell taco: Empty into salad bowl. Crumble the shell. Eat like you would a ….
I’ve had both grilled and fried fish on fish tacos, and liked grilled the best. If you ever make it to Sarasota, Florida, The Lucky Pelican has the best fish *&* shrimp tacos. Heck, everything they make is delish!
Fried fish needs either chips or potato pancakes, slaw and applesauce. That is why grilled fish should be in your fish tacos.
The only fish tacos I have ever had involved Swedish Fish. And alcohol, but perhaps that was self-evident. That said, I suspect I would lean towards very lightly battered and fried.
Fish doesn’t belong in tacos. Cows do.
The fish in a fish taco should actually be chicken, marinated in a green chile sauce before being slow cooked until it’s so tender it can be shredded by even the gentlest of fingers.
But if you’re absolutely adamant on putting seafood on a tortilla, then grilled with lots of lemon.
…and now I’m hungry.
Not in there at all, because fish, gross.
Blue-Jay @ 3:03 pm – “Bob v17.4.0 is obviously British.”
I would very much like to deny this.
But… I can’t.
I am at least 4000 miles away from any kind of decent tacos. Weep for me.
Fish tacos are wonderful! Unless you don’t like them, in which case I’ll have yours, thanks. And somebody up the thread mentioned ceviche tacos, and now I REALLY want one. Or five.
My ‘other’ vote: Fish in tacos, for me, is like the opposite of peanut butter in chocolate. Just don’t care for it. You go ahead and enjoy the heck out of it. I’ll stick with the non sea food tacos.
I voted for “Other”, because even though I think it should not be in there at all, it’s NOT because I’m vegetarian. It’s because seafood tastes nasty, and why ruin a good taco with seafood?
Not in there at all, because I am severely allergic to fish. Unless it’s a death taco. In which case, grilled.
I voted other because the only correct answer is “tasty”. As long as the result is tasty (and it usually is), I really don’t care about the method used to cook it. Roasted, broiled, baked, zapped with lasers–all I care about is the results. Heck, I’d probably be willing to give a sashimi taco a try.
Well, if a fish can be the “chicken of the sea”, why not chicken as a fish of the land?
I like chicken tacos too. :)
Some other answer: I’ve never had tacos at all and would probably prefer putting the stuff on a plate and eat it – without putting it into a shell at first and then it’s not a taco, so how to cook the fish becomes a moot point. I’ll have grilled salmon with salad in stead.
Mmmmm, fish tacos. Fried, grilled, cured in citric acid, raw like god intended, there is room for any and all of these nestled in a bed of chipotle slaw and fresh lime juice inside the wonderful soft corn (not flour, flour tortillas are a whole ‘nother type of abomination) tortilla. Just please, no cheese. Cheese + fish is an abomination. If god had intended fish and dairy to be linked in any way, he would have given them nipples.
Being vegetarian, I had never given it much thought. But when Mom ordered fish tacos (surprising to me that she did!), I was even more surprised that the fish inside was battered and fried a la fish n chips. But I suppose if I were to ever eat fish again, that’s the way I’d do it in a taco.
@owner and proprietor (Mr. Scalzi) …. my social commentary statement was intended as a joke. Since the mallet missed me I hope that was understood …. back to tacos …mmmm,mmmm,mmmm,
Cilantro most definitely completes the package!
A “fish taco” is a horrible euphemism for vaginas, not food. Tacos have chicken or beef in them, not fish.
@Xtifr I thoroughly endorse your reponse. Tasty is the requirement.
Not in there because tacos are for beef.
S’okay, Bob. Since my aunt kicked the bucket, I can’t get a decent haggis around here either.
My opinion does not matter/count because I hate fish. When I was a child my dad drove a forklift at Iceland Seafood company. He came home everyday smelling like fishsticks and mechanical grease. It was the most unappetizing smell to me. Fish, to this day, bothers me. I can’t stand anything about fish; except for tuna. Tuna does not count BECAUSE IT IS DELICIOUS.
Other: Fish is ucky.
Mmmmmm … sea bass sashimi tacos!
(My late father’s fishing buddy for trips to the Sea of Cortez was a five-star chef — it don’t get fresher than having Doug Lee waiting with his knives when Dad dragged a monster bass out of the waves!)
Fish tacos should be for other people. I’ll take the beef, please.
Pan-fried, maybe dredged in flour. Breading just gets soggy, and the cabbage is there for crunch. The people insisting on ground beef in tacos are missing out on life. Tim H – that sound amazing. I might need to try that for dinner.
Clearwater, FL votes fried!
For my “other” answer:
“the fish in a fish taco should be *fish*, and not *fish sticks* (or patties) because they’re not really fish!”
Fried, grilled, steamed (steamed? whatever), etc.: all okay, so long as it’s, you know, *fish*, not “cooked batter with some dead fish particles in it”.
Fried…light is fine, but must be fried. I am not a huge fan, but that is the way they need to be prepared. The person who mentioned the chipotle cream sauce is on point as well. I love americana influenced mexican. And for the In and Out reference by jrbooth- Double Double Animal style with a strawberry milkshake. Wait..am I off topic? Crap!
Fish? Ugh. (Not a fan of fish.) But definitely not veggie, what would be the point?
Shawn at 3:25 pm – that doesn’t really help; I don’t eat ellipses either.
BlueJay @ 3:20 – I know there’s a place on High Street in Columbus that does Korean tacos, I think. I’ve heard they’re good. Not sure about the fish varietals they do, but it might be a good place to start. Columbus is probably a better place to find good food in general (and following, good fish tacos) than the Miami Valley area. I speak from experience.
The only answer is, obviously, blackened.
Not a vegetarian, but I don’t eat fish tacos. Ew.
Don’t worry though. That just means we occupy different biological niches, you and I. We’re not competing for the same food resources. So go to town on that thar fish taco and leave me to nom on my non-competing food source.
I moved to LA from Virginia and until I lived here fish taco was a gross euphemism. Now I know better. Trader Joe’s battered fish nuggets make for good ones at home if you don’t like grilling or don’t have the space for a grill. I recommend baking them in a toaster oven with a little cayenne and cumin sprinkled on top.
Everybody who recommended cabbage instead of lettuce is right on. The sweetness of cabbage sets off the spiciness of the sauce, which is also easy to make at home.
Fish should be fried. Anything else is heresy.
I wish the poll allowed more than a single choice. I like the seafood inside tacos either grilled over a hot wood fire or else lightly dredged in seasoned flour and pan-fried.
Cilantro is a must in the slaw, of course. Only fresh corn tortillas, the kind you get from the abuela at the tortilleria, very gently heated on a cast-iron surface before filling. And while I generally like plenty of spice in tacos, I prefer to tone it down a bit with fish or shrimp, because the delicate flavors just get overwhelmed with too many jalapenos.
The only thing I really miss about South Texas is the food, and this thread has gotten me thinking again about the wonderful Mexican seafood treasures there. Doggone it, Mr. Scalzi, I’m 1,700 miles away from gratification, too – thank you very much!
Oh, and I do hope you’re going to stop by eventually and tell us what your fish tacos were like this afternoon/evening, because I have to think you’d only have started this thread if you were enjoying some yourself.
One word: Lox.
Of course, there’s also a long list of lovely smoked whitefish, or there’s blackened you-name-it in Cajun country, or sushi, sashimi, ceviche, poached cod with holandaise, pickled herring, …
I can deal a lot better with being a heritic than with giving those up.
Fish tacos? What the fuck is wrong with you.
A friend once coaxed me into trying fish tacos – cold (though cooked) fish tacos. Never again, Totally and entirely disgusting. Fish does not belong in a taco, no-how, no-way. Fish belongs on a plate, after being coated with batter & fried.
when I was stationed in San Diego, there was a restaurant chain called “Rubio’s”, and you could get 3 fish tacos for $1.00. They were pretty damned good, too. The fish was fried, and so that’s how I’ve come to associate them. Of course, it seemed to be a standard fish stick, but appearances were deceiving.
Most sensible damn thing in this thread yet.
I have never ever found a fish taco I didn’t like! Most were fried but some were grilled and all had lime and coleslaw! You people who despise fish tacos…No, no, no, they are just too good and I can’t believe you hate them…
When I was stationed in San Diego, the best tacos and burritos came from a place called Muscatas, right at the end of the strand. The ships OOD would often let us make Muscatas runs while we were on duty if we bribed him with a bean and cheese burrito.
I don’t know if they did fish tacos, but if they did, they were awesome.
Now you’ve placed me in a quandary — shall I go to the Farmers’ Market in Covina, in about an hour, and hope that the Fish Taco stand is there, or shall I go out almost to Charter Oak to Saint Necarios Church’s annual Greek Festival, where the Church Basement Ladies will be dishing up Spankopita, Moussaka, lamb shanks, and ….?
Fish taco next week, maybe, preferably grilled for not-to-long, and today I’ll just check the Farmers’ Market for as close as we get around here to Exotic fruits & vegetables.
Anyone who suggests wheat tortillas or the crunchy corn ones must be cleansed from our midst. Soft corn tortillas, preferably fresh and handmade. Grilled or very very lightly fried. I cannot even picture steamed, bwuh?
Now I want fish tacos for dinner. Quick, to the intarwebs to see what’s closest and bestest! (I don’t have the oomph to go to the Mexican supermarket and buy ingredients and cook for myself)
Deep fried after wrapped in bacon. Because while fish tacos are good…BACON.
I chose grilled because, you know, healthy, but there’s this fried version with beer in the batter that’s fantab.
Fish tacos are delicious but seafood burritos are deliciouser.
Meat, because I’m sadly allergic to fish. Preferably carnitas style pork.
Fish? In tacos? Madness and moral decay!
Ground beef is the way I roll! Horrible, horrible ground beef with a significant amount of cardboard (guess where I get my annual taco – but I loves them so much!).
See, now, it’s really some other answer I will de-rail in the comments, because honestly, fish, in tacos? Oh hell to the no. Let’s talk about airships!
I record MasterChef because it is in one of my ‘I like it’ zones. Tonight’s USA Masterchef has some top young chefs on. While I was walking past I heard one of them say “cod fish tacos with…” while she was putting a deep fryer basket full white chunks into the oil.
Strangely, despite significant time in Baja California Sur, I don’t recall seeing fish tacos there.
Wikipedia says that the original tacos were pre-European arrival in the new world, in the Mexico City lake region, and did in fact contain fish typically. So the “beef purists” are off a bit.
Fish Tacos? In Omaha? Heresy in the Land of Nebraska Beef – the BEST in the world!!!
BTW, a fish taco is not a moo cow taco what subs fish for beef. One that does such _might_ taste better than an unwashed dog’s fur. (Yes, I know how that tastes, and the problem wasn’t the taste, it was getting the dog fur out of my mouth. (I don’t remember whether I did something that ticked off my big brother or if he was just being a bastard, though could be both.))
I too thought fish taco was euphemism. I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I hadn’t seen a culinary fish taco until I moved to San Diego. I looked at it horrified. If there are fish tacos in New Mexico now, the Californians brought them with them!
This is my favorite thread of the day. This is almost as fun as the donnybrooks over how to put the toilet paper on the roller.
Missing option: courtbouillon.
Aficionados of euphemisms may wish to be aware that loving friends of euphemistic fish tacos have said that such is most delicious at four hours post shower because the soap taste is gone and other tastes and smells aren’t yet present.
Grilled! Preferably mahi-mahi with lime/garlic marinade, topped with fresh avocado and tomato. YUMMY!
I picked Other because
1. I’m a vegetarian but I don’t think you’re a monster for eating fish. If you were making live-kitten tacos, you’d definitely be a monster, but I don’t really care that much about fish. Vegetarian does not equal PETAphile bozo. Sea kittens my ass.
2. I’ve never had a fish taco, or (thank heavens) seen or smelled one, and have no idea how the fish should be prepared other than Far From Me.
3. I think the idea of fish tacos is Just So Wrong, and that has nothing to do with my being a vegetarian.
4. When I first heard the phrase ‘fish taco’ I thought it was a particularly grotesque euphemism, and I believe it was used as such before anyone actually made a taco with fish in it. If I’m wrong about this I DON’T CARE I’M NOT LISTENING LA LA LA
5. It’s entirely possible that 4 may a) contribute to the JSW sense of 3, and b) make me a Fish Taco Truther.
allisonmonkey’s suggestion of fried eggplant and tomato tacos sounds seriously nommy. Avocado tacos work pretty well, too, but I’ll have to try eggplant.
Fried or grilled is fine, but PLEASE no cilantro in the slaw. I’m one of the unhappy souls with the genetic mutation that makes cilantro leaf taste like soap, and I really don’t think some nice shaved Ivory Soap belongs in my food, 99 44/100% pure or not. Unfortunately, in the last 20 or so years chefs seem to have started using cilantro everywhere they used to use the completely inoffensive (to me) parsley. (My husband loves cilantro. He says it tastes “pleasantly green”. He gets my lifetime supply, thank you very much.)
You want a fish taco survey? Here’s a fish taco survey (mmmmmmm):
Wrapped in bacon, of course. With chipotle mayo.
Fish is evil. Don’t ruin a good taco with evil.
Whichever you pick it needs to look yummy because I, being allergic to seafood, can only enjoy the sight of them.
… But so long as we don’t mix the fish of whichever variety with my mince over here, and you promise to keep the jalapenos all to yourself, mmm, tacos.
I watched someone eat a fish taco once. All I could do to stay at the same table. it looked horrible!
The meat content should have once swum* and then cooked by ANY fashion, and placed in a soft OR hard tortilla. Voila! Fish taco yum
*by all rights turtle ingredient would make it a turtle taco.
Steaming fish? Isn’t that part of the vulcanization process for tire rubber?
Aaahh, sorry to disagree with you and lots of other people, but tacos should be beef or bean. Period.
Fish in any form is appropriate, though the best I’ve had was grilled. Frankly, I can’t think of an edible animal flesh preparation that is not taco-appropriate.
Frankly, I can’t think of an edible animal flesh preparation that is not taco-appropriate.
Chicken soup? Pemmican?
Raw, sushi styled; or pickled; deep fried only of you do the whole thing, but the fish should be put in the taco raw.
Blackened. Okay, techically, you could count that as grilled, but that’s my vote. I also know a place that serves them grilled with a cilantro-ranch sause, and that’ very good. Incidentally, I was as sceptical as all your naysayers until I move to Houston a decade ago and found them everywhere. They are now a staple of my diet, the chicken-fried steak of the new world order, they safe bet meal by which any new restaurant is judged.
Tacos = Yum. Fish Tacos = ew.
There is a popular local chain that features fish tacos. When they opened their original store the idea of a fish taco was so unpopular in the PNW that the owner used to go on the street and give them out for free because nobody was buying and he couldn’t bear to think about throwing out good food.
Minced and salted, but definitely NOT mixed with celery.
Well, I’d like to say HI, I love your book, which is, most likely, Redshirts. I do a little translation now and then, mainly Sci-Fi short stories and some fanfics. And I can’t help translating Redshirts ’cause it’s a lot of fun. So if you don’t mind, may I post the translation of the first four chapters, which are open-accessed anyway, on my blog? I’ve followed you on WP, but my WP is mainly in Chinese. I suck at Copyrights and relative policies, so please let me know if I’m doing something legal. (BTW, I left a similar comment on your FB but apparently you don’t frequent it.)
I made ceviche (shrimp) last night because of this thread, and home fried tortillas. Damn you all! (it was very good).
The fish in a fish taco should be freshly deep-fried on site with pickled cabbage and chipolte-flavored mayo, as it is served up the block from me. But then I live in NYC and we are pretty spoiled when it comes to trendy food.
Steak. The “fish” in a “fish taco” should be sliced, grilled steak.
I like both. WIth fresh avocado and hot sauce.
Pork belongs in tacos. Grilled fish is ok if you are in Baja but otherwise pork. My stomach grumbles for Mexico City tacos.
All fish is terrible except canned flaked tuna in water. That is bearable. Otherwise: yuck.
Fished should be diced into small cubes, then mixed, along with onion, into a bisquick pancake mixture, then fried on a griddle.
They’re called fish patties, and they are amazing. Even cold the next day.
Well, that depends on the fish, don’t it? After all, one does not *grill* pollack before putting it within the embrace of a taco, and similarly, anyone who *fries* salmon should be shunned by society as a whole.
My idea of what makes up “good fish” makes people who actually like fish cringe in terror and run into the night, searching for some large object to come pummel me with. To me, the best fish, nay, the *only* fish, is Long Johns Silvers fish. The reason is simple – it’s not really “fish” by the time they’re done with it, is it? It’s wonderful greasy deep fried batter surrounding something so bland that it hardly qualifies as food at all. With a side of hush puppies. Yum!
So, for me, that means that the whole idea of a fish taco is a crime against humanity, pisces, and an affront to all carnivores (and, I dare say, omnivores) throughout the space-time. So there.
Grill it, fry it, bake it, whatever. Just make sure it’s not tilapia.
I have only had one fish taco ever. It was revolting. I have been given to understand since then that the problem was the choice of restaurant, and not necessarily the concept of fish tacos. Someone needs to make me good ones to change my mind.
Grilled, or pan seared. Lots of salsa verde and a nice dollop of “mexi-slaw” — shredded cabbage, cilantro, lime juice, a bit of vinegar and a drizzle of oil. Fresh corn tortillas preferred.
Fish does not go in your mouth. Yeuch!
I’ve been a vegetarian for years, but back in the old omnivore days, I ate the hell out of some fish tacos. I voted “grilled,” but I like it fried, too. “Boiled” makes me think of the bacon in the movie Better Off Dead.
Those who think fish tacos are an abomination and that fish/seafood has no place in Mexican food seem unaware that Mexico has 9700km of coastline – which is the same as the US at 1/7th the landmass of the US.
In other words, a LARGE part of Mexico is coastal and seafood is a huge part of real Mexican cuisine.
Just, you know, for informational purposes. :)
Wow, I am blown away at how many people dislike fish tacos. Even more surprised that the majority voted for grilled. I did notice that most of the people who don’t like/never had fish tacos voted for grilled. I discount their votes and everything they stand for.
@Mike who said “Shawn at 3:25 pm – that doesn’t really help; I don’t eat ellipses either.” My bad writing, sorry. I meant to say that the ellipses should be used as utensils.
My opinion about blackened: Drunken asshole chef who burnt the food had fucklots of nerve to say such was a culinary choice.
Some people saying that fried will become soggy in a salad? Are different ways to fry things. How I fry tilapia : Pat it dry with a paper towel. Throw it in the hot grease. How the tilapia tastes will depend on the oil.
Fish in a fish taco should be beef. Or pork, or chicken, or even turkey (in a mole negro sauce).
I’m celiac, and wheat is poison to me. Therefore, a fish taco for me should be grilled and on a corn tortilla. If my favorite restaurant in Laguna Beach were making the taco, though, I would love to have their fried version. 370 Common does a fried calimari with rice flour and cornstarch that is so very awesome.
I eat there and order that to head off any fried food craving that would otherwise torment me.
As was stated above, Korean fish tacos are great. Add some kimchi, a little sauce, a little LIGHTLY fried fish…delicious.
The ‘On the Border’ (chain restaurant) has two kinds of fish tacos, I like both, but the beer-battered are awesome. Wash ’em down with a good margarita and I’m happy.
Never had a fish taco, but it sounds like a grilled fish would work best.
Being a Southerner, long ago transplanted to New England, I answered fried. Because. I’ve had them both grilled and fried, and either works.
As to the people with closed-minded opinions about beef-only and no-ground-beef, etc. I would note that I’ve never found a wrong answer to “What kind of taco would you like?” Although a steamed fish taco would have a heavy burden of proof.
Tofu, anyone? How about a Vienna-sausage and tater-tot taco? Would you like feta with that?
It depends on the fish. Some fish are better grilled while others need only to be poached. All depends.
Have you tried shrimp enchiladas in a salsa verde con ajo? The Bomb, baby. The Bomb.
shrimp enchiladas in a salsa verde con ajo
The drool. It fills my mouth like I was Pavlov’s dog. I NEED this.
Since fish can be successfully cooked by all of 3 of those methods, I will accept any of them properly done. So far grilled has been my favorite as deep-frying sometimes gets a little overdone & dried out. Fish tacos…MMMMmmmm…with a squirt of lime, por favor.
And poaching in a well-spiced court boullion can work, too.
Vis Pavlov’s pup: Moo.
I am nearly vegetarian, but eat fish. Any kind of fish can get wrapped in a tortilla. Most of the people who don’t like fish tacos, don’t like fish. Beef, chicken, and pork however, in my opinion are not actually food, but go ahead and eat your rotting flesh if that’s what you like.
“Rotting flesh”: phrase used by vegetarians to instill revulsion where it’s simply not going to happen. I’ll have my rotting flesh, thanks. You be sure to enjoy your rotting compost, too, if that’s what you like.
If Rubio’s, then fried. If Wahoo’s, then grilled. If neither Rubio’s nor Wahoo’s then fuggeddaboudit.
It should be absent.
But then I don’t like fish, let the fish-lovers fight over the details.
You didn’t even specify the kind of fish, so the poll is flawed. Walleye? Fried. Mahi Mahi? Grilled, with lemon. There are so many fish in the sea (and lake)
BUT WAIT DID YOU EVEN CONSIDER A SUSHI TACO
Blackened Tilapia with grilled onions. Had them the other night. Deeee-Lish-Ussss!
The New York Times on fish tacos. Which are, of course, fried. “… a fish taco is texturally epiphanal in the same way that eating perfectly crisp Peking duck skin is.”
Fried, because that’s the way I had them at Maria Elena’s, an absolutely awesome Mexican restaurant in Alviso, a tiny hamlet just north of San Jose, California.
Another +1 for Wahoo’s.
… and Tilapia is the Taco Bell of seafood.
Taunting the tauntable since 1998
John Scalzi, proprietor – JS
Athena Scalzi, editor/writer -AMS
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