Below is a list of specific things that you can look for in a fish’s appearance to make sure you are getting the freshest fish available for your table.

We’re all aware of the adage that beauty is skin deep. But let’s face it, the first thing we notice when we meet someone is their exterior beauty: their skin, their eyes, their scent, and their overall appearance. In short, we notice the way they present themselves to the outside world. And things are no different at the local fish market. Read on for a list of specific things that you can look for in a fish’s appearance to make sure you are getting the freshest available.

Like with dating, in the fish market, you have to be privy to how the exterior of each fish looks. In particular, make sure you check out the skin and the eyes. Even the touch of the skin gives you important clues as to whether or not your choice is a worthy investment. So, size up your fish choice like you would a life partner.

Eyes
Eyes are windows to the sole. Look for clarity and brightness. You’d be wary of a date with dull and lifeless eyes, right? Expect no less of your fish. Not that it should be winking back at you but, a fish with cloudy eyes is an indication that it is well past its prime. Your fish should also have bulging eyes. Eyes that are sunken reveal a dehydrated fish, which means it spent more time on ice than in the water before you made your purchase.

Smell
There’s nothing that poses more of a deal breaker than a date who emits foul odor. You certainly wouldn’t want a date smelling fishy. If you walk into a market and your first waft smells intensely of fish then be warned, the seafood is not fresh. Truly fresh fish should smell of the sea and have an almost briny scent.

Skin
Skin discoloration is neither appealing on people nor fish. Both are at their height of attractiveness when the skin has a healthy sheen and flesh appears firm. Touching the flesh of your prospective fish is highly recommended if your fishmonger allows you to do so. If you press the flesh of a fish and the skin does not bounce back, you know you have an old fish on hand. If you don’t even want to touch your fish, don’t take it home. Same goes for your date!

Live Seafood
Ideally you’re looking for someone who has life in them, who demonstrates a little feistiness! Who wants to take someone home who is sulky and motionless? Apply the same philosophy for purchasing fresh like live lobster, crab, and fish. You don’t want the one in the corner of the tank that looks lifeless as chances are, it’s been there for weeks, in starvation mode, and will be empty inside once cooked and cracked.

Gills
A truly fresh fish should have gills that are vibrant red, not brown. Your date on the other hand should not have gills at all, red or otherwise unless of course, you’re dating the likes of Aquaman or The Little Mermaid and then, well, you have bigger fish to fry.

Hope this helps! Enjoy!