HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Nov 28, 2012 12:50 PM

Snakehead on the menu?

I love the concept of eating invasive species and was happy to see this on WTOP's website. Apparently snakehead is a periodic special, not regular menu item.


Have you seen it on the menu anywhere in the DC area? I'd love to try it.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Dino has it on the menu. He serves it seared & served in a bed of cous cous with a seafood stew.

    2 Replies
    1. re: dinwiddie

      Thank you. I'm in that neighborhood once a week - will schedule myself a snakehead dinner.

      1. re: tcamp

        be sure to let us know how it tastes/textures here or on the General board

    2. Since it's an invasive species, NoVA has restrictions on the capture and importation of the species. Hopefully, they can find some way to commercialize snakehead meat without spreading the live version.

      "But in Virginia, there is no current mechanism for commercial anglers to sell their catch. One of the first to bite into Snakeheads is Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries biologist, John Odenkirk, who finds the fish tasty, personally dining on them 2-3 times a month! But he warns Virginia’s Snakehead policy remains they must be killed and if they are transported (dead only), Virginia must be notified on the Snakehead Hotline…(804-367-2925). “We are not going to legitimize the commercial aspect of the Snakehead, once legitimized, it becomes a commercial fish and there will be incentive for people to move them and we don’t want to condone that.” For now, Wells is relying on Maryland commercial fishermen for his table.


      8 Replies
      1. re: monkeyrotica

        That is interesting, thanks. Takes a while for laws to catch up with new realities, I guess. I've read about snakehead competitions on the Potomac so clearly there are plenty out there for the eatin'.

        1. re: monkeyrotica

          Nasty fish. I just hope it doesn't generate a popular demand. That's how it got here; people thinking they had to have it.

          1. re: flavrmeistr

            I take your point but doesn't history indicate that in most cases extreme popularity results in virtual extinction?

            There was an article just recently in the Post about the deluge of roosters that local animal shelters are seeing, thanks to the popularity of backyard chickens. At no point did the reporter even mention the coq au vin option, which I thought was odd.

            1. re: flavrmeistr

              I thought they arrived in the bilge/ballast holds of large ships. maybe I'm thinking of some other invasive species.

              1. re: hill food

                Nope. It's a freshwater species prized by the Chinese.

                1. re: flavrmeistr

                  gotta roll with the punches. I suppose my question is how does it compare to catfish?

                  I wonder what I was thinking of. there was some species coming through the Sault Ste. Marie by ships into Lake Michigan and potentially spreading...

                  1. re: hill food

                    You're thinking of zebra mussels. Hmm, I wonder how *they* taste...


                    1. re: tcamp

                      They're pretty small. Not much meat for the effort. They're great for clogging bilges and power plant cooling water intakes, though.

          2. I'd love to try it as well. It's a common Asian specialty & is touted as being a nice mild white-fleshed fish. How sad that it's so destructive.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Bacardi1

              I don't know how destructive they actually are. When they were first found in the Potomac there was lots of dire press coverage. And I am sure they do eat or crowd out some native species. But they don't seem as destructive as zebra mussels which have crowded out native species and cause damage to harbors, power plants, water treatment plants, etc.

              1. re: tcamp

                Snaleheads are very destructive they eat anything and have huge appetites

                1. re: agarnett100

                  But it is interesting that despite the doomsday predictions about them in the potomac when they first appeared, since then there has been very little said in popular media about any destruction they are actually causing. I'm not a snakehead lobbyist - I want to do my part by eating one locally!

                  Dang, I wish I'd known about this last summer. http://potomacsnakehead.com/

                  1. re: tcamp

                    First I wouldn't recommend eating any fish that comes out of the potomac - http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/0...


                    Snakeheads are still in the waters people catch them once in a while. The media hypes everything up

                2. re: tcamp

                  I do know that many years ago they were actually sold in aquarium/pet stores for aquariums before their true nature was fully known. Unfortunately, once folks discovered how quickly they outgrew their tanks, many simply dumped them into the closest waterway. I also heard that a fair number of Asian grocers who had imported them for eating long before restrictions were in place also disposed of extras this way.

                  It is, however, considered a "top level" predator in its environment due to the fact that it will eat anything & everything it can fit into its mouth - fish, crustaceans, amphibians, reptiles. If it can swallow it, it's fair game to a Snakehead.