9 Things to Keep in Mind Before Bingeing at Unli-Seafood Restaurants
Seafood is often associated with luxury and special occasions. It’s not every day that you get to indulge in king crabs, lobsters, shrimp cocktails, and fresh oysters – it’s just not that practical.
That’s why seafood lovers’ eyes spark when they read the words “Unlimited Seafood”.
If you’re a seafood fanatic like me, you probably reach for seafood dishes first when you’re in an all-you-can-eat buffet. You’d want to get your money’s worth and get as much as you can. However, overindulging in seafood can have adverse effects on your health if you’re not careful.
Before bingeing at unli-seafood restaurants, here are 9 things to keep in mind.
1. Pick a restaurant that specializes in seafood
Isn’t it just weird to eat Buffalo wings in a place that sells the best seafood in town? Then you might also find it strange to eat unli-seafood at a restaurant that specializes in Buffalo wings.
Seafood dishes in these restaurants are likely to be subpar because of one thing: they’re not just skilled enough to prepare seafood dishes that actually taste delicious. They could nail the fish and chips and the fried calamari, but not the more complex seafood dishes you can find in legitimate seafood restaurants.
2. Ask where they get their products
Quality seafood restaurants get their ingredients from trusted seafood suppliers. They have established relationships with reputable fishmongers and seafood markets that sell nothing but the freshest products possible.
3. Go for the expensive and complex ones
The golden rule: If you’re paying a fixed price at an all-you-can-eat place, get your money’s worth by picking the expensive ones. You should also try dishes that are complex and rare – something you can’t easily recreate or have somewhere else.
4. Trust your nose
Eating seafood that doesn’t smell right can send you to the ER, so make sure to use your senses (and instincts). You can tell a lot about the freshness of your seafood by smelling it. Avoid something with a foul, “ammonia-like” odor. You should also ask whether your seafood is farm-raised or wild-caught.
5. Know your allergies
Of course, if you know you’re allergic to seafood, you won’t even dare to eat a single ounce of shrimp, right? But what if you’re unaware you have mild allergies?
Don’t ignore the early signs: tingling of the throat and mouth, swelling of the lips, raised red bumps, itchy skin and rash, runny nose, and tightening of the throat.
6. Go easy on sushi, sashimi, and other raw seafood dishes
Is raw seafood, like sushi safe to eat? Yes and no.
In Osaka Japan, you can get fresh tuna sashimi straight from a crowded market. You’ll see skilled vendors taking a large chunk of raw tuna, cutting it into bite-sized pieces, and serving it to customers. The problem is, we’re not sure whether or not the establishment we’re getting our raw fish from have the same standards when it comes to handling sashimi.
Before bingeing on raw seafood, make sure you’re eating at a reputable restaurant that actually specializes in handling sushi. Also, pay attention to how it’s served: raw fish should always be served chilled.
7. Watch your cholesterol levels
Seafood, particularly shellfish, has a bad reputation for being high in cholesterol. If you’re advised to watch your cholesterol levels, stay away from crab, lobster, and shrimp.
Just keep in mind that not all “high-cholesterol” foods, like crustaceans, are bad. In fact, they may actually help to improve your blood cholesterol levels – if you stick to the recommended portions and if you skip the oil.
We have bad cholesterol (LDL) which is associated with plaque buildup in arteries, and good cholesterol (HDL) which helps excrete excess cholesterol from your body. Shellfish contain good cholesterol, omega-3, and other essential nutrients. They’re also high in protein and low in saturated fat.
8. Mind the amount of butter and salt
You don’t get unhealthy fats from the shellfish per se – you get them from the oil and butter you drench them into.
Next, to being mindful of your portions, pay attention to how your seafood is prepared and eaten. If you’re watching your cholesterol and sodium, you’re better off dipping your seafood into some cocktail sauce or freshly squeezed lemon. Avoid fried and butter-based seafood dishes and opt for grilled or steamed options.
9. Sample other kinds of seafood and seafood dishes
If you’re a seafood lover, why limit yourself to the ones you’re familiar with?
Go beyond salmon, tuna, crab, and shrimp – sample other seafood varieties, like trout, mahi-mahi, squid, scallops, mussels, and oysters. You can even try eel, octopus, sea urchin, and jellyfish. Love them or hate them, you surely won’t regret the joy in discovery.
Author Bio: Mina Natividad is a passionate daytime writer for Manettas Seafood Market, an online and interactive seafood market which provides customers a true, first-class fish market experience without leaving home. Since she’s a seafood lover herself, she’s got a lot to say about food, well-being, and lifestyle.