When you live on the east coast or the west coast, seafood is probably a big part of your weekly diet. Which is a good thing! With seafood being gloriously abundant and such a diverse source of food from either coast, it’s a unique, extremely delicious, versatile, and sustainable food source that’s good for you. It’s rich in the kind of protein and good fats every human being needs, and full of nutrients like selenium and vitamin D. For everything from our brains to our hearts and immune systems, seafood has so much of what we need to eat well and stay well!
So when it comes down to which coast has the edge over the other in regards to seafood, it poses a question that’s pretty hard to answer. That’s because for the many millions of residents that call one coast or the other home, seafood preferences can really depend on what type of seafood tickles your palate and gets your tastebuds dancing!
West Coast Swing...
Anyone who lives along the West Coast might tell you that when it comes to seafood, the Pacific Ocean provides a gargantuan feast.
Take Pacific Salmon. Even though there’s Atlantic Salmon, most people picture the leaping salmon in the waterfalls of the Pacific Northwest on their way to spawn when they think of salmon. Plus, the fish market scene on the West Coast is pretty lively, especially in the Pacific Northwest!
Now we can’t exactly count Hawaii as West Coast for obvious reasons (hint: it’s not on our west coastline), but it is known for some of the best sushi, ahi poke, and mahi mahi. Alaska on the other hand is a part of the West Coast of North America, and as such gets a plug for fresh caught shrimp that has a texture and flavor that’s unlike any other. Plus giant sea scallops and incredible halibut get a thumbs up! One point of fact though, Alaska is actually the United States’ westernmost and easternmost point, as it extends much farther west past the landmass that makes up the state due to the Aleutian Islands chain. This 1,000 mile chain of Islands is so extensive that it stretches past the 180th meridian, which becomes east at that point! Now, enough of our geography lesson...back to seafood.
Shrimp and prawn lovers might have their say with the spot prawn (named for their distinctive white spots), a massive—albeit delicate and sweet-tasting ocean treasure that’s found in British Columbia. Also high on B.C.’s list is the halibut. It’s a fish with a thick, flat, pristinely white flesh, and a mild, clean flavor that’s so versatile it can be broiled, pan-fried, braised, or baked with excellent results.
In Victoria, you can dive into a spicy fish poutine (look up Montreal poutine for a reference). It’s a gastronomical compilation of halibut, tuna, cod, salmon all covered in a chipotle mayo sauce that’s set atop a mound of hot pepper-flaked french fries.
The Pacific is deep with seafood treasures. Up and down the coast, you can seek out eatery’s where you can feast on creamy red sea urchin, fat honey mussels, velvety rich sablefish, Qualicum Bay scallop tartare, fresh Alaskan king crab legs, or even crunchy bites of geoduck sashimi in salty soy sauce. How’s that for a West Coast smackdown? There’s even a clam chowder in Monterey Bay you can get that can rival Boston’s famed clam chowder!
East Coast Strut...
It’s the East Coast’s turn now. Let’s start off with a little Blue crab envy that could give a West Coast Dungeness crab a crawl for its money. According to East Coast inhabitants, marine life along the Atlantic offers the greatest variety of seafood options around, where some jumbo shrimp with Old Bay seasoning will set your mouth to watering.
Starting along the Maine coast and winding your way down to East Florida with stops in between, there are literally countless options for seafood lovers to indulge in so many edible varieties of seafood. Who can go wrong with boiled Maine lobster, those famous lobster rolls, Wellfleet oysters, that flagship of chowders—New England clam chowder, and steamed littleneck clams.
Who can forget the clam bakes and seafood boils that make an East Coast beach party something extra special. Have you ever heard of a seafood boil in L.A.? All along New England, from Maine to Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, plus Vermont and Rhode Island, oyster and clam shacks dot the landscape, where you can sample yourself crazy with a heaping platter of broiled seafood, or just-shucked oysters
Some of the uniquely East Coast dishes you can indulge in include stuffed rockfish and baked stuffed shrimp. And don’t forget that eternal treasure, Maryland Style Crab Cakes that almost define Maryland, packed with crab meat and other ingredients like mayonnaise, eggs, seasonings and bread crumbs, then sautéed, baked, grilled, or broiled! This all sounds like comfort food, and for seafood lovers, it is!
Heading down the coast a bit, you could linger over some fresh Atlantic shrimp in Charleston, South Carolina, where you might find yourself indulging in a plate of shrimp and grits, she-crab soup, or a triple-decked seafood tower of mussels, lobster, shrimp, and oysters! ...Take that, you Westerners!
When you’ve made your way down the Eastern Seaboard to points south like Key West, you’ll be in for Caribbean-inspired seafood dishes, like the frittered and ceviche-style conch. And then there are specialties like crab cake sandwiches, lobster rolls, and even a fish dip!
And the winner is...
BOTH coasts! You can see that when it comes to seafood, there’s no doubt in our minds...the Pacific AND the Atlantic coasts have seafood treasures from the ocean that are deliciously unique and tastefully different with melt-in-your-mouth specialties that define each locale and set them apart. But if you decide to go and visit any one of the East Coast or West Coast seafood cities, here’s a rundown of the top 10 destinations for seafood in North America:
- Chesapeake Bay, Maryland
- Baton Rouge, Louisiana
- Seattle, Washington
- Halifax, Nova Scotia
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Key West, Florida
- Prince Edward Island, Canada
- Georgetown, Maine
- Charleston, South Carolina
- San Diego, California
With a list like this, you’ll have no trouble finding something so amazingly good, you’ll never forget the experience. Just remember to pack your appetite before you go!