Food & Drink

Dangerous fish you should eat before they eat you

The sea is a dangerous place overflowing with dangerous things. But unlike pirates (and a certain dangerous politician), some of its inhabitants are edible. And taste good with Old Bay on them. Feast your eyes on 10 of the most treacherous sea creatures out there, and learn why they're so delicious.

How they're scary: Stonefish camouflage themselves to look like rocks, excrete some of the most powerful poison in the ocean (kills within 3hrs), and can survive out of water for a full day. Stepping on one is a sure-fire way to ruin a nice walk on the beach.

How they're delicious: Known as okoze when served in Japanese restaurants, a trained chef has to risk his life removing the spines and venom sacs. The result is a buttery, light sashimi that's just to die for.

How they're scary: They can swim up to 27 miles per hour, are known to literally rip chunks of flesh off their predators with their sharp teeth, and inspired the band Heart.

How they're delicious: Barracuda has a powerful fishy flavor like tuna, and can be used in everything from fish tacos to fried fish to '70s rock cover bands.

How they're dangerous: The venomous barbs are capable of killing even the strongest of crocodile hunters.

How they're delicious: They taste a bit like lobster, and are excellent when either battered and fried or steamed in banana leaves.

How they're scary: See that photo? Come back and read the rest of this after you put on a fresh pair of pants.

How they're delicious: Great on the grill, shark is dense, moist, and similar in flavor to swordfish. The Chinese have long thought shark fins to have miraculous health benefits and go to great lengths to get their jaws on them.

How they're dangerous: Those spines are just for show. The actual poison is beneath the skin and held in the liver, which is coincidentally also where we humans hold our poison.

How they're delicious: You need a license to prepare this light, chewy blowfish. It's called fugu in Asian restaurants, where it can be served as sashimi, fried like chicken, or even used in a sake cocktail.

How they're scary: First off, when the venomous spines touch humans it can result in everything from diarrhea to death. Secondly, it's an invasive species that is wreaking havoc on East Coast reefs and food webs, making for a very sticky situation.

How they're delicious: Since there're few things tastier than helping the ecosystem (mmm, environmental sustainability!), do your part by picking up the Reef Environmental Education Foundation's cookbook that encourages consumption of lionfish. The white fish tastes like a flakier version of grouper or mahi-mahi, and thankfully the poison is neutralized at death.

How they're scary: Razor-sharp teeth, tendency to hunt in packs, and lack of remorse regarding infidelity.

How they're delicious: A bonier and oilier version of tilapia, tigerfish is often filleted or minced and served in fish cakes.

How they're scary: It's known as the "sea devil", can eat fish twice its size by unhinging its jaw, and nearly ended Marlin and Dory's search for Nemo.

How they're delicious: The tail is the meatiest part of the angler and tastes like lobster. It's used frequently in Korean and Japanese cooking, and often featured in nabe stews.

How they're scary: Piranhas kill people all the damn time, so much so that many Brazilian rivers have warning signs instructing people to go back to the beaches where all the beautiful people hang out.

How they're delicious: Piranha is almost always fried, and everything fried is almost always delicious. In addition, the movie Piranha 3-D is deliciously funny.

How they're scary: They hide in the depths. They feed on your fear. And they are coming for you.

How they're delicious: The dense meat tastes similar to chicken, and is served by Vietnamese chefs either in clay pots or pickled. Maryland chefs have taken to prepping the invasive species either smoked or blackened.