Fish Eyeballs are Tasty

Last year, NPR published an article, “Eating Eyeballs: Taboo, or Tasty?”. FoodMeOmaha’s resounding response: Fish eyeballs are tasty!

I have enjoyed fish eyes from fish head soup, fried whole fish, and grilled whole fish. I squish the eyeball in my mouth, appreciate the gelatinous innards, and discard the hard outer part. Why? The fish eyeball is a tasty burst of omega-3 fat to savor and linger over.

I am not the only one who says fish eyeballs are tasty. During a recent Puerto Rico trip, I introduced my man and his two boys to their first fish eyeball.

One evening, we had dinner at La Ola Restaurant in Fjardo, Puerto Rico. La Ola serves Puerto Rican entrees and tapas in a relaxing outdoor setting with a marina view. Some dishes were hits and others were okay. One yummy highlight was the fried whole red snapper.

Fried Whole Red Snapper from La Ola Restaurant in Fjardo, Puerto Rico

When the whole fish arrived, my eyes lit up! I asked the boys, “Would you like to try a fish eyeball?” The boys required no convincing! I carefully carved out the prized eyeballs.

Cade's First Fish Eyeball Experience

Fourteen year-old Cade was nonchalant when I passed him the eyeball.

Jonah's First Fish Eyeball Experience

Nine year-old Jonah was eager for his turn!

The boys verdict: Fish eyeballs are tasty. I was proud!

On another evening, we dined at La estacion in Fjardo, Puerto Rico. This was our favorite restaurant of the trip. La estacion is a charming converted gas station serving up a tasty menu of Puerto Rican food and American barbecue. They use local produce and freshly caught seafood. Every dish we ordered was awesome. This included the grilled whole yellowtail snapper with eyes intact.

Grilled Whole Yellowtail Snapper from La estacion in Fjardo, Puerto Rico

Brian's First Fish Eyeball Experience

This time, it was my man’s turn to try his first fish eyeball. Of course, I had to document the occasion.

Brian agrees fish eyeballs are tasty!

Side note: The whole fish has many wonderful parts to enjoy. The fish head has softer, tasty meat on the forehead and cheek. Fish skin has great flavor and different texture depending on how it is cooked.

Check out FoodMeOmaha post, “My First Filipino Food Experience, Part 2: Fish Eye Me”, for my first fish eyeball experience.

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My First Filipino Food Experience, Part 2: Fish Eye Me!

My lunch at Kapit Bahay is a treasured, first-time Filipino food experience. I had very good Filipino food with fantastic friends, Maude, Leigh, and Zoe. (See the previous post “My First Filipino Food Experience, Part 1: “Don’t Be Filipino About It“).

Among the Filipino lunch, we had a fish broth soup which included a fish head with eyes intact. This is my “Bizarre Foods” post of my first fish eye.

The fish head had two prized, healthy eyes. Filipino friend, Maude, explained that the fish eyes are a special treat in her family. Her mom would always give the fish eyes for her children to enjoy. This time, Maude gave the eyes to the non-Filipinos, myself and Zoe. She excitedly encouraged that we each have a fish eye and exclaimed, “Healthy, omega-3 fat!”

Maude carefully removed the eyes from the fish head and then passed me an eyeball on a spoon.

I had a mini photo session with my first fish eye. I am all eyes for the eye. Despite my pretend pout in the above right picture, I am all for trying the fish eye!

I was instructed to squish down but not chew and discard the outside film of the eye. I had no idea what to expect.

There was silence and avid eyes watching the fish eye and me. As instructed, I squished down and… Mmmmmm… The closest food item I can compare it to is melt-in-your-mouth bone marrow but with a seafood flavor. Awesome, yummy, juicy, fatty goodness soaked in the broth juices. Oh my delicious eye ball. Everyone should try this at least once.

Here’s a close-up of the eyeball remains. I wish I had a before close-up picture of the fish eye.

Have you ever tried a fish eye? If not, try it! I did and loved it.

Fish eye me again anytime!

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Special thanks to Maude for the memorable experience and sharing your home country food and family tradition. Thanks for “being Filipino about it.”

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