Why You Should Never Eat Mussels At A Restaurant, According To Anthony Bourdain

When folks think about what an upscale meal looks like, they normally visualize something with seafood. Marine products are typically more expensive because they are more difficult to catch and harvest when compared to other proteins (via Foodiosity). Because of this process, eating shellfish at a restaurant is typically more expensive. So the tougher it is to catch the fish, the higher the price of that seafood dish will be. But surely, the more expensive it is, the fresher the catch when it comes to things like mussels, right? 

Not necessarily. According to the late chef and TV personality, Anthony Bourdain, you should fight the urge and avoid eating mussels at restaurants altogether, per Money Versed. The No Reservations host noted that while mussels are delicious, there are certain safety precautions you should follow if you're going to eat them at a restaurant because some places leave the mussels wallowing in their own juices for far longer than they should. So, what should you do when the urge to eat mussels strikes? How can you even tell if a mussel is good enough to eat?

Steer clear of mussels that haven't opened after cooking or are cracked as that can lead to food poisoning

Bourdain noted that unless he personally knew the chef or had seen how the mussels were stored, he'd typically steer clear of them at a restaurant, per The Guardian. "I love mussels," he revealed. "But, in my experience, most cooks are less than scrupulous in their handling of them." Chef Mary Dumont tells Business Insider that, like Bourdain, she doesn't order mussels at restaurants either. Dumont cites that all it takes is "one bad mussel and you're down for the count." Why only one mussel? That can be answered with a simple explanation as to why you should steer clear of unopened and cracked mussels. 

LiveStrong explains that mussels that are unopened or cracked may have been long dead before they ever reached the stove. Well, all food should be dead before it's cooked, right? Not quite. According to Striped Spatula, mussels need to be alive before they are cooked. When mussels are dead, LiveStrong details that their meat begins to deteriorate increasing your likelihood of getting food poisoning and developing other health problems. So, next time you order some delicious mussels, make sure you only pick out the ones that are fully open.