Can you eat Starfish? (3 Ways to Cook)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, can you eat starfish? We will discuss the reasons which contribute to making starfish a fascinating food subject and some common ways starfish is prepared.

Can you eat Starfish?

You can eat the starfish by breaking the legs and eating the insides. You cannot eat the exterior of the starfish which is hard and inedible. Starfish is sold on a stick in a Chinese food market. Starfish are edible but are not for everybody’s cup of tea. Even in China, where they are sold, they are not frequently eaten by the locals. The starfish are sold to tourists, some of whom vow never to eat them again.

Overall, eating starfish is an adventure rather than trying secretly delicious seafood. The shape, texture, and taste are incomparable to other kinds of seafood or meats in general, thus, makes starfish as food rather a fascinating subject. 

Not all species of starfish are safe for consumption, some come with poison. Starfish found in Indonesia are poisonous but that does not stop people who live there from consuming them. The poisons in starfish are tetrodotoxins and saponins that can be toxic upon ingestion and needs to be removed. Before the Indonesians prepare their starfish, they cut it and squeeze it to remove the poison, and proceed to cook them. The sun star, the leather star, and the crown of thorns are some venomous species of starfish that could cause toxicity if it is not prepared with careful consideration. 

What do starfish taste like?

Starfish tastes like sea urchin, which might appeal to some. However, it is creamier and more bitter than the sea urchin. Starfish is edible but tastes mediocre to the daring western tourist. A fair comparison would be stale seafood with a texture that reminds a person of toothpaste. 

 The smell and the texture of a starfish are unique. To some, starfish smells like a beach. The flesh inside the body of starfish is moist, soft, and mushy, which some people tend to like.

Why is the starfish a fascinating creature?

Starfish do not have a brain, eyes, or blood, rather a unique and intrinsic body that helps them to feed, perceive the temperature, light, and surrounding movements. Starfish are from the family of echinoderm that also includes sea urchin and Sand Dollar.

The carnivorous fish is apt to protect itself from predators in the wild. The bony and calcified skin makes them inconspicuous, in addition to their camouflage. Starfish usually have striking and vivid colors that innately scare the predators away. Being a regenerative organism, they can not only regrow their arms but sometimes develop into two identical organisms. 

Starfish eat coral, sponge, oysters, sand dollars, clams, mussels, and even dead fish. Starfish have a suction- on their feet which holds on to their food and then they engulf them directly into their stomach. The arms of starfish are multifunctional; they act as both arms and legs for them. Not only do the arms help them to move but they can even pry open mussels and oysters to eat the insides. 

How is starfish prepared?

Starfish is prepared and cooked by professionals. Due to the delicate nature and potential health risks associated, it is best if you leave the task to a professional or an experienced person. If you buy starfish from a seller, make sure it is not one of the poisonous kinds. 

Starfish are either deep-fried or boiled in salted water before they are served. The meat of starfish is usually bland and needs to be seasoned generously before eating them. Also, starfish need to be completely done because, in its raw form, it can be toxic. Eating raw fish can be fatal to a human being because we do not possess the enzyme; logisterase which is needed to digest starfish.

How are boiled starfish prepared?

After the starfish are boiled, they are put in cold water for 15 seconds. Then they are placed over a surface with the belly facing upwards. Tug or break the legs and remove the tough outer skin. Discard the shell and eat the green flesh inside. 

How are fried starfish prepared?

Deep-fried starfish are a delicacy to the tourist in China as street food. Deep-fried starfish are served on a stick with a stick that passes through one of the legs. When you get a fried starfish, all you have to do is to snap the legs off, peel the skin and eat the insides. 

How are grilled starfish prepared?

Grilled starfish are cooked on a heated rack after they are seasoned with oil and season with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Then, the starfish are placed on the grill which is coated with oil. 

In this brief guide, we answered the question, can you eat a starfish? We discussed the reasons which contribute to making starfish a fascinating food subject and some common ways starfish is prepared.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.