What Does Carp Taste Like?

David Keep/CC-BY-2.0

The common carp is a bottom feeder that has a muddy taste, although the freshwater Asian carp feeds on plankton and algae in the upper water of rivers and tastes like cod or tilapia. Confusion among taste stems from lumping all carp into the same classification.

Common carp can still be eaten without a muddy taste so long as freshly caught specimens are immediately put on ice. The common foul taste comes from rising histamine levels in carp. As the temperature rises, more histamines enter the blood, causing the muddy taste. Keeping the fish on ice prevents the temperature rise and therefore reduces any bad tastes.

Marketers of Asian carp in the United States have nicknamed the fish silverfin or Kentucky tuna to increase the viability of the creature as a food item. Americans have yet to fully discover Asian carp as a delicacy because of the negative reputation of other carp species.

Asian carp average between 15 to 30 pounds, but some specimens reach up to 50 pounds. Common carp are found in 48 states in America, and the species disrupts rooted plants and muddies the water. The invasive species lives in rivers, lakes and wetlands. Anglers are encouraged to return carp into the waters where they are caught to prevent further invasions.