What Do Fish Cakes Taste Like? (Classic Fish Cakes)

As a home cook, I’ve found that fish cakes are a fantastic way to eat more seafood. Their mild fish flavor, balanced with a hint of saltiness and a touch of sweetness, makes them a hit, even with those who are usually hesitant about seafood.

They’re light and flaky on the inside, with a crispy, golden crust that adds a delightful crunch. I’m already salivating thinking about them.

So let’s get into it! This article will explore the taste of classic fish cakes, their texture, and the many ways they can be prepared and enjoyed.

How Do Fish Cakes Taste?

Imagine biting into a fish cake. You first notice the crispy, golden exterior that gives way to a soft, flaky interior. As you chew, the flavors start to unfold. It’s a savory experience with a hint of saltiness.

What Do Fish Cakes Taste Like

Now, let’s talk about the sweetness. It’s subtle, a gentle whisper that complements the savory notes rather than overpowering them. This balance of flavors is what makes fish cakes so delightful.

Fish cakes can also take on different flavors depending on the ingredients used. Some recipes incorporate herbs and spices, adding layers of complexity to the taste.

A hint of dill or parsley can lend a fresh, herby note, while a squeeze of lemon can add a tangy twist that brightens up the overall flavor.

fried fish cake sour cream dill

As for the texture, it’s an important part of the eating experience. The crust is crispy and golden brown, satisfying each bite’s crunch.

Inside, the fish cake is soft and flaky, almost melting in your mouth. This contrast of textures makes eating a fish cake such a unique and enjoyable experience.

Varieties Of Fish Cakes

Fish cakes come in various forms, each with its unique taste profile. I’ll touch on a few other types, but for this guide, we’ll focus on the British style fish cakes:

  • British Fish Cakes: Made with mashed potatoes and cod or haddock, these fish cakes have a mild, savory flavor. They are usually served with tartar sauce or a squeeze of lemon.
  • Korean Eomuk or Odeng: These fish cakes have a mild fishy flavor balanced with a hint of sweetness. They are seasoned with soy sauce, sugar, and vegetables for added flavor.
  • Japanese Kamaboko or Narutomaki: This variety is slightly sweet and salty, with a firm, rubbery texture. It’s enjoyed as a topping for soups or sliced and served with soy sauce.
  • Thai Tod Man Pla: These fish cakes are spicy and aromatic, with flavors of red curry paste, kaffir lime leaves, and fish sauce. They are served with a sweet and tangy cucumber dipping sauce.

What Do Fish Cakes Compare With?

Fish cakes can be compared with several other seafood dishes:

  • Crab Cakes: Similar to fish cakes, but made with crab meat. They have a sweet, delicate flavor that’s distinctively seafood-y.
  • Shrimp Toast: This Chinese appetizer has a similar texture to fish cakes, with a crispy exterior and a soft, flavorful interior. However, it has a stronger, more pronounced shrimp flavor.
  • Fish Pie: A traditional British dish made with mashed potatoes and various types of fish. It has a comforting, savory flavor similar to fish cakes but with a creamier texture.
  • Fish and Chips: This classic dish features battered and fried fish with a crispy exterior similar to fish cakes. However, the interior is more tender and flaky, and the flavor is more neutral, allowing the taste of the fish to shine through.

Do Fish Cakes Taste Fishy?

One might expect a strong, overpowering fishy flavor when it comes to the taste of fish cakes. However, that’s not the case.

Fish cakes have a mild fish flavor that is far from overwhelming.

fish cakes with tartar sauce

It’s a delicate balance that allows the taste of the fish to shine through without being too intense.

Any fishy taste in fish cakes is subtle and pleasant. It’s a flavor that complements the other ingredients rather than overpowering them.

So, if you’re someone who is usually put off by strong fishy flavors, don’t let that deter you from trying fish cakes.

Of course, the intensity of the fishy taste varies depending on the type of fish used. Some types have a stronger flavor than others. But generally, fish cakes are made with white fish, which is known for its mild flavor.

If you’re still concerned about the fishy taste, there are ways to mitigate it. Adding herbs and spices, such as dill, parsley, or lemon, can help balance out the fishiness.

Also, ensuring the fish is fresh before making the fish cakes can significantly reduce any overly fishy taste.

Do Fish Cakes Smell Fishy?

Just as with the taste, the smell of fish cakes is not overwhelmingly fishy.

When you first open a package of fish cakes or start cooking them, you might notice a mild seafood aroma. It’s a scent that whets your appetite, hinting at the savory delight that’s to come.

However, it’s important to note that a strong, unpleasant fishy smell could be a sign of spoilage.

Fresh fish cakes should have a mild, pleasant smell. If the smell is too strong or off-putting, it’s best to err on the side of caution and not eat them.

What Do Fish Cakes Look Like?

Fish cakes are a feast for the eyes as much as they are for the palate. At first glance, they might look like any other type of cake or patty.

The exterior of a fish cake is typically golden and crispy. This is achieved through frying, which gives them beautiful color and texture.

On the inside, fish cakes have a soft, flaky texture. You might see bits of fish, herbs, and spices mixed into the cake, depending on the recipe.

fried fish cakes with corn

The interior color can vary from white to light pink or beige, depending on the type of fish used.

Fish cakes come in various shapes and sizes, depending on the cuisine and recipe. Some are round and flat, like a patty, while others might be cylindrical or even shaped like a fish.

Finally, fish cakes are often garnished with fresh herbs or served with a side of sauce. This adds to their visual appeal and enhances their flavor, making them a dish that’s as beautiful as it is delicious.

How To Eat Fish Cakes

Fish cakes can be eaten or served as a main dish, a side dish, or even as a snack.

fried fish cakes in pan

One of the most common ways to enjoy fish cakes is straight out of the frying pan. They can be served with a side of tartare sauce or a squeeze of lemon to enhance their flavor.

In Sandwiches and Burgers

Fish cakes can also be used as a filling for sandwiches or burgers. The fish cake acts as the main protein, providing a seafood twist to the classic sandwich or burger.

Pair it with some fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and a tangy sauce, and you have a delicious meal.

As a Snack

Finally, fish cakes can be enjoyed just as they are, as a snack.

small fish cakes snack

They’re perfect for those moments when you want something quick and satisfying. You can even pair them with a dip of your choice for an extra flavor.

In Soups and Stews (For Asian Style Fish Cake)

In many Asian cuisines, fish cakes are often added to soups and stews. The mild flavor of the fish cakes complements the rich broth, and their soft texture adds a delightful contrast.

Whether it’s in a spicy Korean stew or a comforting Japanese noodle soup, fish cakes are a delicious addition that enhances the dish.

How To Make Fish Cakes Taste Good

Fish cakes are delicious on their own, but there are several ways to make them taste even better:

  • Use Fresh Ingredients: The quality of your ingredients can greatly affect the taste of your fish cakes. Use fresh fish for the best flavor. Also, fresh herbs and spices can add a burst of flavor to your fish cakes.
  • Season Well: Don’t be shy with your seasoning. Salt and pepper are essential, but don’t stop there.
  • Add a Splash of Lemon: A squeeze of lemon can brighten up the flavor of your fish cakes. The tangy citrus note complements the savory fish flavor and adds a refreshing twist.
  • Serve with a Sauce: Fish cakes are often served with a sauce. Tartare sauce is a classic choice, but you can also try other sauces like sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, or tangy tomato salsa.
  • Try Different Types of Fish: Different types of fish have different flavors. Try making fish cakes with various types of fish to find your favorite.
  • Add Vegetables: Finely chopped vegetables like onions, bell peppers, or celery can add a nice crunch and flavor to your fish cakes.

Remember, experimenting and finding what you like best is the key to making delicious fish cakes. Don’t be afraid to try new things and adjust the recipe to suit your taste.

Recipes And Side Dishes With Fish Cakes

Here are some popular recipes and side dishes that feature fish cakes:

  • Fish Cake Soup: This is a popular dish in many Asian cuisines. The fish cakes are sliced and added to a flavorful broth, vegetables, and noodles. The fish cakes’ mild flavor absorbs the broth’s taste, making for a comforting and delicious meal.
  • Fish Cake Stir-Fry: Fish cakes can also be used in stir-fries. You can slice them and stir-fry them with vegetables like bell peppers, onions, and carrots. Add some soy sauce, garlic, and a touch of sesame oil for a quick and tasty meal.
  • Fish Cake Sandwich: Try using fish cakes as the filling for a unique twist on the classic sandwich. Place a fish cake between two slices of bread, add some lettuce, tomatoes, and a tangy tartare sauce, and you’ve got a delicious sandwich.
  • As for side dishes, fish cakes pair well with various options. Here are a few recommendations:
  • Pickled Cucumbers: The tangy, sweet flavor of pickled cucumbers complements the savory taste of fish cakes. Plus, the crunch of the cucumbers adds contrast to the soft texture of the fish cakes.
  • Steamed Greens: Steamed vegetables like broccoli, spinach, or bok choy make a healthy and tasty side dish for fish cakes. Drizzle with a little soy sauce or a squeeze of lemon for added flavor.
  • Sweet Potato Fries: Try sweet potato fries for a heartier side dish. Their sweetness pairs well with the savory fish cakes, and the crispy fries contrast the soft fish cakes.

Fish Cake FAQs

What are the main ingredients in fish cakes?

Fish cakes are primarily made with fish, potatoes, and various seasonings. The type of fish used can vary, but white fish like cod or haddock is usually used due to its mild flavor. The fish is often combined with mashed potatoes to create a soft, flaky texture. Seasonings can include salt, pepper, herbs, and spices to enhance flavor.

How do you cook fish cakes?

Fish cakes can be either fried or baked. Frying gives them a crispy, golden exterior, while baking is a healthier option that still results in a delicious fish cake. Regardless of the method, it’s important to cook fish cakes until they are golden brown and cooked through.

Can you bake fish cakes instead of frying them?

Yes, you can bake fish cakes instead of frying them. Baking is a healthier alternative to frying as it requires less oil. To bake fish cakes, place them on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven until they are golden brown and cooked through.

What herbs and spices can you add to fish cakes?

You can add your favorite herbs and spices to fish cakes to enhance their flavor. Common choices include parsley, dill, and green onions. Some recipes also suggest adding a hint of lemon or lime zest for a tangy twist.

Can you use different types of fish for fish cakes?

Yes, you can use different types of fish for fish cakes. While white fish like cod or haddock are my favorite, you can also use salmon, tuna, or any other type of fish you prefer. Different types of fish will give the fish cakes a slightly different flavor and texture.

About Justin Micheal

Hey, I’m Justin and the home cook behind Food Meets Flavor. I have a passion for cooking and making food delicious. So, I started this blog to help others understand what different types of food taste like and how to make everyday meals taste even better.