I went to a Chinese seafood restaurant for dinner and ordered steamed grouper. I repeatedly confirmed that the fish must be live "swimming fish".

The fish came out and the flesh was mushy.

Guests who are experienced (self-proclaimed) insisted the fish was dead for quite some time already, hence the protein became mushy, instead of having a succulent texture. However, the manager insisted the fish was live the whole day, until they cooked it for us.

If the manager was not lying, what could have caused the mushy texture?

  • 6
    This may not be possible to answer, as there are too many unknown variables....Fish texture varies greatly depending on species. "Grouper" can mean a lot of things in the restaurant world...so, was it actually grouper? Also species dependent, fish texture is influenced by the way the fish is killed. In fact, immediately killed might not yield the best texture. Beyond that, marination and/or method of cooking clearly could impact the final texture.
    – moscafj
    Sep 11, 2017 at 15:32

2 Answers 2


Assuming that the fish is fresh to begin with...the answer is quite simple, overcooking! Fish cooks far faster than beef, chicken or pork. A great way to steam your fish is to wrap it in parchment paper cut and paste the following web address to see how EASY it is to get perfectly steamed fish every time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52wYn99cL2I

  • Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. Unfortunately, links like that are considered spam here. Please see our help pages for more info. Mar 5, 2018 at 4:11
  • @DanielGriscom I see no indication that this is spam, just a potentially helpful link for more information. Please see cooking.stackexchange.com/help/promotion.
    – Cascabel
    Mar 6, 2018 at 19:00
  • @Cascabel A link that doesn't address the original question ("what could make fish mushy?"), and was posted months after the original question, doesn't feel helpful to me. Perhaps "spam" was too strong a word, though. Mar 6, 2018 at 22:58
  • @DanielGriscom Yes, that's what I'm saying: it appears to be an unfounded accusation. If you just don't think it's a useful answer, you can downvote.
    – Cascabel
    Mar 7, 2018 at 0:04

Grouper is one of my favorite fish. It already has a mushy texture, as do lots of other fish. But with this fish, it tend to become very mushy if you add too much water. It has to be slow cooked.

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