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Discovering the Flavor of Barramundi: The Facts

If you’ve traveled to Asia, you’ve probably heard of Barramundi. The Barramundi has a characteristically long body. Their upper jaw is a clear indication of the species, allowing fishermen to identify it quickly. The elongated body is accompanied by an upper jaw that reaches behind the eye and an oblique mouth. But what does Barramundi taste like?

Barramundi’s white flesh has a mild flavor that is both firm and clean. The meat’s texture is succulent, meaty, and is an overall great fish for eating. The ocean-farmed Barramundi has a more pungent buttery taste than the wild fish of the same species. Larger, more mature Barramundi will have a stronger taste than smaller, younger fish. Typically, the Barramundi will have large meaty flakes.

Let’s learn more about what does Barramundi taste like as well as how to prepare Barramundi!

Does Barramundi Have a Fishy Taste?

Barramundi is one of the milder tasting fish and is described as a gentle tasting fish. For those fussy about seafood, the Barramundi should be a great tasting option. We think it tastes similar to Tripletail or Queenfish.

What is a Barramundi Similar To?

The farmed Barramundi’s taste can be similar to the striped bass, pink snapper, and even the grouper. Although it shares a flavor profile with the fish as mentioned above, it has a similar omega-3 – 3 content to the coho salmon, making it a healthy fish choice. 

Is Barramundi a Healthy Fish?

The answer is a simple yes. Unlike some other fish species, the Barramundi has a relatively low level of harmful mercury and PCBs. Aside from Omega-3s, the Barramundi is high in potassium, vitamin A, Vitamin D, and protein. It does, however, have high levels of sodium. Overall, the Barramundi is both a tasty and healthy fish to eat. 

Does Barramundi Have Many Bones?

The Barramundi only has a few large bones to easily remove if the right technique is used.

Are Barramundi Aggressive Fish?

barramundi school

The Asian sea bass variety of Barramundi (Lates calcarifer) is commonly found in the Indo-West Pacific areas. Anglers target these fish in South Asia, Northern Australia, and Papua New Guinea.

Where Does the Name “Barramundi” Come From?

Barramundi gets their name from the Australian Aboriginal language, particularly from the Rockhampton area of Queensland. The name means “large scaled river fish,” which is a testament to this fish’s physical appearance. You may have also heard of this species referred to as Australian sea bass. 

Physical Attributes

Barramundi is both a salt and freshwater fish and is often targeted by sport fishermen. Their scales are usually silver in color but can change in the shade depending on the environment that they live in. The largest that these fish can get is 1.8m, but this is rare. The heaviest Barramundi that was caught weighs in at 60 kg or 130lbs.

On average, Barramundis reach just under 4 ft. Barramundi is known as a demersal species, which means they can be found in turbid and clear waters. They tend to favor warmer water temperatures, between 26C and 30C. 

Are Barramundis Migratory Species?

Barramundis is not a typically migratory species, and while they may travel short distances to reach warmer water, they will not embark on long migrations.

What Does a Barramundi Eat?

These tasty species enjoy a varied diet of mollusks, crustaceans, and even small Barramundis. The youngerBarramundis will typically feed on zooplankton before they start to hunt for crustaceans and other prey. 

Did You Know?

The Barramundi is a hermaphroditic species. This means they usually grow into males before developing into a female once the first breeding season has passed. It is for this reason that the larger Barramundis are usually females. 

Fishing For Barramundi

Those keen on sport fishing often enjoy the fight the Barramundi puts up. They are typically Wiley as they generally avoid fishing nets. Therefore, if you are an enthusiastic angler looking for a Barramundi, you should use the best lures for Barramundi on a line. 

What Eats Barramundi?

Besides humans, other animals prey on Barramundi. In Australia, the Barramundi is commonly hunted by saltwater crocodiles

Did You Know? 

The sub-Saharan African version of Barramundi is known as the Nile Perch

The USA has a growing taste for the Barramundi, although it has long been a popular choice among other cultures throughout the globe. 

Author Note: In Thailand, Barramundi is often served as a steamed fish accompanied with garlic and lime. It is also commonly enjoyed as a less healthy deep-fried treat. When done as a deep-fried meal, in authentic Thai cuisine style, it is often served with lemongrass. 

In the Goan culture, Barramundi is known as chonak. It is a favorite food in Goan cuisine, served with a spicy masala or coated with semolina and fried. But instead of a full meal, Goan cuisine uses the Barramundi as a quick snack or an add-on to a meal. 

In Bengal, the Barramundi is referred to as the bhekti. The Barramundi, or bhekti as Bangal locals call it, is a popular fish to eat. It is mainly reserved for festive occasions such as weddings or important events. Similar to the Goan culture, the Bengal cuisine also eats this as a spiced fish or breaded with semolina and pan-fried. 

Down south with the Australians, the Barramundi is one of the most common fishes to find on a menu. The Barramundi is typically deep-fried and served with hot chips and a wedge of lemon. 

How to Clean Barramundi

barramundi school

If you’re looking for the best tasting Barramundi, then you should opt for saltwater or farmed Barramundi. River caught Barramundi typically has a higher fat content than saltwater and farmed Barramundi. When cooking Barramundi, keep it simple. Avoid intense flavors and sauces as they may distract from this fish’s fine and delicate flavor. 

Cleaning Barramundi 

The scales are considered large and may take a bit of effort to clean off. Scales tend to clump just behind the fish’s head and can be more easily removed using long nose pliers. Although Barramundi could be considered a more difficult fish to clean, the taste and flavor make it worth it. And, if you get the technique right, it is not too tricky. 

Filleting Barramundi

Filleting Barramundi is relatively simple. The trick is to keep the knife on the right side of the fin rays and short ribs. This is because there is a larger gap than most might expect between the short ribs and fin rays as they come up from the backbone. The great thing about filleting Barramundi is that it’s easy to follow along the ribs once you get to the rib cage. And from there, it is easy to fillet the fish while keeping the skirt attached. 

Top Tip: Do you want more flesh on your fillet? All you need to do is adjust your technique. From the backbone, simply cut the ribs and then use long nose pliers to pull them free. You will notice how fleshy the flesh really is. Whatsmore, it is easy there are no centerline pin bones to remove on the Barramundi fillet.

Barramundi Skin

Barramundi’s flesh is described as a mild and delicate flavor. The skin, on the other hand, has a slightly more robust flavor. When the fish is fried with the skin still on, you will notice that the skin tends to shrink. But, before the skin fries, it becomes quite soft. If you are going to fry the fish, then you might as well leave the skin on the fillet.

If you do want to remove the skin, then it’s simple to do by using a standard long knife with a cutting board. If you want to minimize the amount of flesh being taken off, then use a steep angle when slicing off the skin. 

Cooking Barramundi

cooking barramundi

If you have your hands on some Barramundi fillets, then frying is the best option. And the best part is that it is necessary to remove the skin before frying the fillets. 

Top Tip: Dust the fillets in some flour, such as rice flour. This gives the fillets a light coat which prevents them from sticking to the pan and ruining your meal.

If you want a healthier option other than frying, there are several ways to cook this fish without frying it. Barramundi fillets can be baked, broiled, and even steamed. But, there is one thing to keep in mind with Barramundi fillets. Their flesh is exceptionally tender, and the flakes do tend to fall apart easily. But if you handle the fillet with care, then you shouldn’t have too much trouble. 

Smaller fillers (less than 1 and a half pounds) are ideal for poaching cooking methods but don’t try to poach fillets larger than that as they could fall apart. If you want to take an alternative method by poaching the whole fish, then leave the skin on. After the whole fish has been poached, the skin can come off easily without too much trouble. 

Making Stock with Barramundi

If you have caught a whole Barramundi and unsure what to do with the rest of the fish, why not make a stock? If you can handle separating the heads, bones, and fins, then you will find that they make an excellent stock.

The stock does not have a strong flavor, making it the perfect fish stock that you can freeze and keep for future meals. The oil from the stock can be easily removed if you use your gravy separator. 


Barramundi, also known as Asian Sea Bass, is a fantastic fish for both sport fishing and cooking. The fish puts up a great fight, and a successful angler is rewarded with a delicate and delicious meal. And the best part? The fillets from Barramundi do not need too many extra flavors. They have a decent flavor as they are, and a light fry, a pinch of salt, a crack of black pepper, and a wedge of lemon is all you need.

Are you ready to catch your own Barramundi? Head on over to our article on the best lures for Barramundi, and you’re on your way to reeling in one of the best-tasting fish you can find. 

Happy Hunting!


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