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Fast Food Opinion

The Top 10 Fast Food Seafood Items Across The USA, Ranked

Fast food seafood has gotten a bad rap over the years, and it’s easy to understand why. Nobody ever put respect on fish’s name, leaving their sole pescatarian option to be overcooked, mushy, and not too pleasant.

Times have changed, though, and with that, the quality of the industry’s fishy fare has shot up. Whether it be whole fish filets or irresistible pieces of shrimp, there’s a lot more being offered than before. The fish sandwich may still dominate, but it’s gone from being overlooked to getting a ton of attention.

These are the best of what fast food seafood has to offer, from timeless fish sandwiches to seafood staples that could dominate for years to come.

When making this list, only items from major fast food chains were looked at and ranked on quality, popularity, and flavor. There will be some big names not on this list (sorry, Ronald), but that’s just indicative of how some newer chains have risen to the challenge and created seafood items that are just… well, better.

10) Tuna Pie, Jollibee

 

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The fried chicken icon of the Philippines is no one-trick pony, as its entire menu is straight fire. When it comes to seafood, it’s a little harder to find at the Bee, but this Lenten LTO is the best they have to offer. While the fact that it’s basically canned tuna in a cream sauce makes it less appealing, you have to appreciate its zesty, peppery flavor, and flaky pastry crust.

9) North Atlantic Cod Sandwich, Culver’s

 

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To make it on this list as a standard fish sandwich, you need to get some basics right: a crispy exterior, intriguing fillings, and a well-cooked piece of fish. Culver’s hits on all of those marks, with the mixture of shredded cheese and lettuce and a light amount of tartar sauce (McDonald’s, take note) accentuating the flavors of the cod. It does need a bit more seasoning, however.

8) Fish Slider, White Castle

 

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The phrase “simple is better” definitely applies to White Castle’s Contribution to the fast food fish game. They don’t church theirs up with tartar sauce or lettuce, using just a slice of American cheese to top their Alaskan pollock. While the fish choice itself is “meh,” given how ubiquitous and overcooked pollock tends to be, their flavor is extraordinary given the slider’s size.

7) Cajun Fish Sandwich, Arby’s

 

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Arby’s would be a lot higher on this list, to be honest, if they had decided to bring back the Nashville Hot Fish Sandwich from the LTO grave. That version had a ton of kick and was a tasty contribution to the fast food game. Sure, the Cajun remoulade on this version has some zest and punch, and gives the massive filet of pollock an extra hit of flavor. It’s no Nashville Hot, though.

6) Shrimp Po’ Boy, Popeyes

Popeyes knows how to do fried shrimp proper. They’re coated with the same seasoning as Popeyes’ top-notch fried chicken, elevating the crustaceans to a new level of flavor. Add in the fact that you get a pretty generous amount per baguette-sized sandwich, and you have a satiating meal of seafood that does more than most fish sandwiches in the game even attempt to do.

5) North Pacific Cod Sandwich, Wendy’s

Who does the generic fish sandwich the best? That answer, as said by several others in the past, has to be Wendy’s. It’s something about the punchiness of their tartar sauce, how the cod is cooked decently, and how the fish has the right crunch. It’s more of a quality thing than a “we put other stuff on it” that makes their variant as good as it is. Of course, it is just your standard fish sandwich, and while it’s a damn good version of it, there’s other things out there that showcase seafood better.

4) Jumbo Shrimp Tacos, Del Taco

 

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Del Taco’s take on the Baja-style seafood taco is surprisingly solid. The shrimp are coated with just the right amount of seasoning, and the crisp lettuce and tomato offset it perfectly in terms of contrasting textures. The white sauce and fresh lime on top elevate this option into the top 5, because they provide the acidic punch and creamy consistency of tartar sauce with just a fraction of its heaviness. This is my personal go-to option for a seafood snack during the Lent season.

3) 2 Cod, 6 Shrimp Platter, Long John Silver’s

 

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Those looking to treat themselves to a seafood feast need to track this down. Being one of two fast food seafood specialists in the country, Long John Silver’s knows how to give cod the appropriate TLC, keeping it crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside. The seasoning is a little too close to KFC’s, but few can compete with their batter, or the size of this platter.

2) Giant Fish Sandwich, Captain D’s

 

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In the duel of the fast food seafood specialists, Captain D’s is the people’s choice. Folks regard it as better because of its taste, and this Giant Fish Sandwich shows it off best. The fish pieces themselves are massive in terms of both length and flavor, and an appropriate amount of tartar sauce helps make this one of the most decadent sandwiches you can get in fast food. It’s better than its fishy rival and arguably the best fast food seafood item out there… save for one that honestly, nobody even comes close to touching.

1) Honey Walnut Shrimp, Panda Express

 

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Cue the Thanos snap. Seriously, watching the rest of the fast food seafood game compare to Panda’s signature shrimp is like watching the Avengers trying to KO Marvel’s Mad Titan at the end of Infinity War. How can one compete with its sweet, savory flavor, balanced with the crunch and slight bitterness of walnuts? Nobody has been able to create something within reach yet, so until the fast food seafood universe gets its own Captain Marvel, Honey Walnut Shrimp will tower over anything else that tries to one-up it.

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How Endangered Shark Species Were Snuck Into British Fish & Chips Shops

We don’t normally think of consuming shark outside of the infamous and deplorable shark fin soup, but a recent viral study shows that it’s a lot more prominent than thought in UK fish and chip shops.

Photo: Isai Rocha//Foodbeast

The paper, published in scientific journal Nature, found that 78 different samples of shark meat products found at fish and chip shops in the UK were marked with potentially deceptive names. Shark species identified included the endangered Spiny Dogfish shark, along with the Pacific Dogfish, Nursehound, and Starry Smoothound.

Ten different labelings were used to identify the various shark samples, but only one (“Shark Steak”) explicitly included the term “shark” in its name, and that was from a few samples obtained from a fishmonger. At the fish and chip shops, names like Rock, Huss, Rock Salmon, and Rock Eel were instead used.

European Union (EU) legislation in the UK allows these names to be used for the various shark species described, which means the restaurants were legally within limits to sell their shark as such. However, customers looking to eat fish instead of shark unaware of these regulations could easily be deceived into consuming the shark.

Why these restaurants are mislabelling spiny dogfish as such is up for speculation. It once was abundant and sustainable, but has since been overfished to the point of endangerment, especially near the UK. This led to the EU’s ban, but the spiny dogfish, or “rock salmon,” has still been in high demand at fish and chip shops, which drives up price and potential motivation to commit fraud.

How are the fish and chip shops able to get away with this? The authors of the study offered some insight, saying that a lot of the shark meat found from the restaurants was frozen and imported. The EU itself prohibits the Spiny Dogfish and other sharks from being caught, meaning that imports from the US, Argentina, and other parts of the world are crucial to sustaining that market.

The labels themselves may also play a factor. While virtually no mislabeling was detected by the research team, they did find that almost none of the packaging contained any identification of the actual species being sold. This is actually required by EU regulation to prevent “umbrella terms” like Rock and Huss from being used to sell critically endangered species like the Spiny Dogfish shark.

It would seem that an ideal solution to this shark fraud study would be to get rid of such “umbrella terms,” though it remains unclear how the EU will react to the research and change their legislation as a result.