Can You Eat Starfish? A Comprehensive Guide in 2023

Can You Eat Starfish?

Starfish, also known as sea stars, are fascinating creatures that inhabit oceans around the world. While they may be beautiful to look at, many people wonder if they are safe to eat.

We will explore the topic of eating starfish in detail, covering everything from their nutritional value to the potential risks involved.

Who eats starfish?

Various cultures around the world have been known to consume starfish, including China, Japan, Korea, and parts of South America. In these regions, it is often considered a delicacy and used in traditional dishes.

What are starfish?

Starfish are marine animals with a distinctive star-shaped appearance. They come in a variety of colors and sizes, ranging from small ones that can fit in your hand to larger ones that can be several feet across.

There are over 2,000 species of starfish, and they can be found in every ocean.

When should you eat starfish?

Most commonly, starfish are eaten when they are caught fresh from the sea. They are usually cooked soon after being caught to prevent spoilage and ensure safety for consumption.

How to prepare and eat starfish?

If you’re interested in trying starfish, there are several ways to prepare them.

The most common method involves boiling or steaming them before removing the outer shell and cutting them into bite-sized pieces.

They can then be cooked further by grilling, frying, or sauteing with spices and herbs to add flavor.

Step-by-step guide for preparing starfish:

  1. Rinse the starfish thoroughly with cold water.
  2. Boil or steam the starfish for about 5-10 minutes until the outer shell starts to soften.
  3. Remove the outer shell carefully using a knife or scissors.
  4. Cut the starfish into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Cook the starfish further by grilling, frying, or sauteing with spices and herbs.

Pros and cons of eating starfish

Like any food, there are both advantages and disadvantages to eating starfish. Here are some pros and cons to consider:


  • Nutritious: Starfish are high in protein and low in fat, making them a healthy option for those looking to maintain a balanced diet.
  • Unique flavor: Some people enjoy the unique taste of starfish and find it to be a delicious delicacy.
  • Cultural significance: In many cultures, consuming starfish is part of traditional cuisine and has cultural significance.


  • Risk of toxicity: Some species of starfish contain toxins that can cause illness or even death if consumed improperly.
  • Difficult to prepare: Removing the outer shell of a starfish can be challenging, and cooking them can be time-consuming.
  • Sustainability concerns: Overfishing of starfish for consumption can lead to environmental damage and threaten their survival as a species.

Alternatives to eating starfish

If you’re not comfortable trying starfish or want to explore other seafood options, there are plenty of alternatives to choose from. Some popular options include:

  • Fish: There are hundreds of fish species available, each with its unique taste and texture.
  • Shellfish: Clams, oysters, and mussels are all popular choices and can be prepared in a variety of ways.
  • Shrimp: Shrimp is a versatile seafood that can be cooked in many different ways, including grilling, frying, and boiling.

Tips for eating starfish

If you decide to try starfish, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Choose a reputable seller: Make sure your starfish comes from a reliable source and is fresh.
  • Cook properly: Boil or steam the starfish before removing the outer shell and cooking them further.
  • Start small: If you’re new to eating starfish, start with a small amount and see how your body reacts.

Can You Eat Starfish?

While it is technically possible to eat starfish, it is not a common practice and not generally considered a regular part of the human diet.

In some cultures, particularly in Asia, certain species of starfish are occasionally consumed as a delicacy or used in traditional medicine.

However, it’s important to note that not all starfish are safe for human consumption, and some species can be toxic.

If you happen to come across a starfish and are considering eating it, I would strongly advise against it, unless you are knowledgeable about the specific species and have confirmed that it is safe to eat.

It’s always best to stick to established and safe food sources rather than experimenting with potentially harmful or unknown species.

The best way to eat starfish

The best way to eat starfish is ultimately a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer them grilled or fried, while others enjoy them boiled or steamed.

Experiment with different cooking methods to find the one that works best for you.

Comparison between starfish and other seafood

To help you compare starfish with other popular seafood options, here’s a quick rundown of their nutritional value per 100 grams:

Food Calories Protein Fat Carbs
Starfish 82 13.3g 0.6g 5.4g
Shrimp 87 20.3g 0.9g 0g
Oysters 102 9.7g 2.2g 3.8g
Mussels 73 10.5g 2g 3.7g
Clams 126 22g 1.9g 3g
Salmon 208 20g 13g 0g
Tuna 184 30g 6g 0g

As you can see, starfish are relatively low in calories and fat compared to other seafood options. However, they also have a lower protein content than some of the others, such as shrimp and clams.


Is it safe to eat starfish?

It depends on the species and how it is prepared. Some starfish contain toxins that can cause illness or even death if consumed improperly.

What does starfish taste like?

The taste of starfish can vary depending on the species and how it is prepared. Some people describe it as having a unique and salty flavor.

Can you buy starfish at the grocery store?

It is unlikely that you will find starfish at most grocery stores. They are more commonly sold at specialty seafood markets or online.

Are there any health benefits to eating starfish?

Starfish are high in protein and low in fat, making them a healthy option for those looking to maintain a balanced diet. However, they also have a lower protein content than some other seafood options.

How do I know if a starfish is safe to eat?

It is best to consult with an expert or do thorough research on the specific species of starfish before consuming it.


While starfish may be a delicacy in some cultures, they are not without their risks. If you’re interested in trying starfish, make sure to do your research and choose a reputable source.

Always prepare them properly to avoid any potential health risks.

However, if you’re not comfortable with the idea of eating starfish, there are plenty of other seafood options available that are both delicious and nutritious.

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