Seafood and Fish in Korean – The Complete List

In today’s lesson, we’ll learn how to say “fish” in Korean and go over different words for fish and seafood in Korean.

Some of the most fun and useful vocabulary to learn and enhance your language skills is what animals, and the sounds they make, are called. Even more fun, or at least convenient and practical, is learning what to call the animals you are accustomed to seeing as food.

Different kinds of fish swimming towards the same direction, and some corals at the bottom

Below is a free PDF guide that you can download and take with you:

In this lesson, we’ll explain the words using Hangeul (Korean Alphabet) and also give you romanized English. Learning Korean is easier if you can read the alphabet, so we recommend learning it as soon as you can. Go here to learn in about 1 hour.

Are you ready? Let’s get learning!

Fish Names in Korean

Here’s a list of the common Korean fish terms:

연어 (yeoneo)salmon
참치 (chamchi)tuna
고등어 (godeungeo)mackerel
송어 (songeo)trout
광어 (gwangeo)flatfish
홍어 (hongeo)skate
대구 (daegu)cod
남방대구 (nambangdaegu)hake
서대기 (seodaegi)sole
가자미 (gajami)plaice
청어 (cheongeo)herring
흰살 생선 (huinsal saengseon)white fish
숭어 (sungeo)red mullet
황새치 (hwangsaechi)swordfish
달팽이 (dalpaengi)snails

“Salmon” in Korean

Salmon in Korean is called 연어 (yeoneo). This fish is often used in dishes like sushi 초밥 (chobab) and sashimi 사시미 (sashimi).

연어는 맛있고 건강한 생선입니다. (yeoneoneun masitgo geonganghan saengseonimnida)

Salmon is a delicious and healthy fish.

“Trout” in Korean

The Korean word for trout is 송어 (songeo). This is a freshwater fish that falls in the category of oily fish. A kind of trout called rainbow trout 무지개 송어 (mujigae songeo) can also be found in South Korea.

송어는 시원한 물에서 자랍니다. (songeoneun siwonhan mureseo jaramnida)

Trout grows in cool water.

“Skate fish” in Korean

The Korean word for skate fish is 홍어 (hongeo). The Korean skate fish is classified as cartilaginous, similar to sharks and rays.

This is also the main ingredient for the unique Korean dish, fermented skate.

가자미는 작은 비늘을 가지고 있어요. (gajamineun jageun bineureul gajigo isseoyo)

Skate fish has small scales.

“Cod” in Korean

“Cod fish” or “cod” in Korean is 대구 (daegu). This is known to be a flavorful and healthy type of fish. Braised cod fish is one of the popular Korean dishes you can make with this fish.

대구는 흰살 생선 중 하나예요 (daeguneun huinsal saengseon jung hanayeyo)

Cod is one of the white flesh fish.

“Mullet” in Korean

The Korean word for “mullet” is 숭어 (sungeo). The same term is used when referring to gray mullet and red mullet.

숭어는 강에서 살고 있어요. (sungeoneun gangeseo salgo isseoyo)

Mullet lives in rivers.

“Tilapia” in Korean

The word for “tilapia” in Korean is 틸라피아 (tillapia).

틸라피아는 부드러운 맛이 있어요. (tillapianeun budeureoun masi isseoyo)

Tilapia has a tender flavor.

Sea Creature Names in Korean

Here’s a list of popular sea creatures in South Korea with their Korean names. Also, the word for sea in Korean is 바다 (bad).

오징어 (ojingeo)squid
문어 (muneo)octopus
골뱅이 (golbaengi)whelk
바닷고둥 (badatgodung)winkles
굴 (gul)oyster
홍합 (honghap)mussel
조개 (jogae)clam
랍스터 (rapseuteo)lobster
바닷가재 (badatgajae)langoustine
새우 (saeu)prawn/shrimp
가시발새우 (gasibalsaeu)scampi
게 (ge)crab
전복 (jeonbok)abalone
장어 (jangeo)eel

How to say “fish” in Korean

There are different Korean words for how to say “fish” in Korean. The basic ones are 물고기 (mulgogi), and 어류 (eoryu). Both are equally correct when referring to fish.

물고기 (mulgogi)

The first Korean word for “fish” is 물고기 (mulgogi) which you’ll hear much more often. Since the English translation for the word 물고기 (mulgogi) is water meat, you may also hear Korean fish being referred to as 고기 (gogi) alone, especially if the conversation is about fishing.

어제 물고기를 몇 마리 잡았어. (eoje mulgogireul myeot mari jabasseo.)

Yesterday, I caught several fish.

어류 (eoryu)

어류 (eoryu) is another term for “fish” in Korean, but this is used primarily in academic and scientific situations.

세계에서는 어류 종 몇개 있어요? (segyeeseoneun eoryu jong myeotgae isseoyo?)

How many fish species are there in the world?

생선 (saengseon)

However, when you want to talk about “fish” in Korean in the terms of food you’ve eaten, want to eat, or will eat, the more appropriate word to use is 생선 (saengseon). 물고기 (mulgogi) is also okay to use, but you’ll impress your friends more with the word 생선 (saengseon).

오늘 저녁으로 생선을 먹고 싶어요. (oneul jeonyeokeuro saengseoneul meoggo sipheoyo.)

I want to have fish for dinner today.

fish in the sea

How to say “Fishing” in Korean

How about when you want to talk about fishing? There are a few simple conjugations of the same word that you can choose from, all of which essentially mean the same thing. The shortest one is by simply forming the sentence from the verb base 낚다 (nakkda). However, the more common one to use is 낚시하다 (nakkshihada). Both can be used interchangeably, and the meaning is simply “to fish.”

Alternatively, you can also use the expression 낚시하러 가다 (nakkshihareo gada) when you want to tell someone that you are going fishing, as it translates to “to go fish.” Lastly, you can also use 낚시를 하다 (nakkshireul hada) when you wish to express that you are fishing, want to fish, or will be fishing in the near future.

이 호수에서 낚을 수 있으세요? (i hosueseoneun nakkeul su isseuseyo?)

Is it possible to fish in this lake?

제 취미는 낚시를 하는것이에요. (je chwimineun nakkshireul haneungeosieyo.)

My hobby is fishing.

낚시하고싶네. (nakkshihagosiphne).

I want to fish.

이번주말에 낚시하러 갈래? (ibeonjumare nakkshihareo gallae?)

Do you want to go fishing this weekend?

“Seafood” in Korean

The word “seafood” in Korean is expressed and written as 해산물 (haesanmul) in Korean. So if you’re planning to eat some Korean food, specifically seafood, with your friends, it’s best to go to a 해산물 레스토랑 (haesanmul reseutorang) or seafood restaurant.

However, you’ll often hear this word shortened by Koreans, making it 해물 (haemul). When choosing food in a 해산물 레스토랑 (haesanmul reseutorang), you’ll often see 해물 (haemul) on the menu, such as 해물 파전 (haemul pajeon) or seafood pancake.

Seafood is a common ingredient in making Korean food. Korean dishes like spicy Korean fish stew are one of the best dishes made of fish.

Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

A word of caution about Romanization

While it is possible for you to study the words in this article simply by reading their romanized versions, it will come in handy for you to be able to read Hangeul if you ever wish to come to South Korea. Hangeul is the Korean alphabet and is not difficult to learn. In fact, you can learn it in just 90 minutes.

After you’ve familiarized yourself with Hangeul, life in South Korea will suddenly seem so much easier, and the country won’t appear so foreign to you. So, if you’re serious about learning Korean, why not learn Hangeul today?

Wrap Up

So now that you know how to say “fish” in Korean, you won’t have to worry about being a “fish out of water.” You might also want to learn Korean through more lessons about other animals in Korean to enhance your language skills. If so, you can check out this article!

As you learn Korean, what word would you like to know about next? Comment below to let us know!

Want more Korean phrases? Click here for a complete list!

Photo Credit: BigStockPhoto

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2 thoughts on “Seafood and Fish in Korean – The Complete List”

  1. I didn’t see it here, but what would the fish Mahi Mahi be called? Is it “마히마히” or is there a non-English word for it?

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