I have just realized that I cannot recall ever seeing an item on any menu or in any cookbook that includes both fish and meat or fish and poultry together. (Meat and poultry I have seen.)

Is there a reason for this? Is such a combination by its very nature distasteful? Is it difficult to prepare for some reason? Or am I wrong in my observation to begin with?

I'm no culinary expert or anything close, but I am curious why this might be the case.

  • 6
    You've never seen a "surf and turf" dinner? Or a Gumbo? Or Paella? All of these things mix meat and seafood... and often chicken.
    – Catija
    May 23, 2016 at 18:26
  • Are you asking about seafood in general or specifically about fish?
    – Cindy
    May 23, 2016 at 19:31
  • @Cindy, I was actually thinking specifically about fish rather than other seafoods
    – jake
    May 23, 2016 at 19:38
  • @jake there are lots of recipe that combine fish and bacon, for example.
    – Stephie
    May 23, 2016 at 20:28
  • @Stephie : I was just about to mention bacon-wrapped shrimp. I've seen it done w/ scallops, too. (although someone could argue that these are seafood but not 'fish')
    – Joe
    May 23, 2016 at 20:29

1 Answer 1


You're wrong in your observation to begin with. There are tons of things with meat and seafood:

  • Cajun food often combines sausage, chicken and seafood (e.g. gumbo and jambalaya)
  • "Surf and turf" is a catchall term for red meat plus seafood in American-ish cuisine, and comes in all kinds of forms (each separately, one stuffed with the other, a burger with both, both over pasta, etc)
  • Asian food often combines shrimp and pork (e.g. dumplings and spring rolls)
  • Paella often has sausage and seafood

(thanks to Catija for most of the examples)

That said it might be somewhat less common for a few reasons:

  • Seafood tends to cook very quickly, while meat and poultry take a bit longer, so sometimes it's easier to not mix them.
  • Related, seafood is often much softer, so it doesn't match textures as well as various meats and poultry. (This is especially true of fish.)
  • In many areas seafood is more expensive so when people do use it they'll try to make it the star of the show, rather than combine it with other things.

And of course, simpler dishes tend to be more common, so you'll see much more with one kind of meat. Sure, there are more seafood-only dishes than combinations, but there are also more poultry-only and meat-only dishes than combinations

  • Oooh, and in the Asian category (though probably Americanized), "Happy Family"... that's usually a combo of shrimp, chicken and beef!
    – Catija
    May 23, 2016 at 18:57

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