Over 50% Believe This Fast Food Restaurant Has The Best Fish

Fast food and fish. It's ... well, not exactly a match made in heaven in most instances. This may be because eating not-so-fresh fish is something many of us associate with food poisoning, and as Healthline confirms, seafood is actually one of the foods most likely to cause food-borne illness. To be fair, though, chicken sits right atop that list, and no one seems to have a problem with fast food chicken sandwiches. Still, fast food fish's lack of popularity may also be due to the fact that Americans, on the whole, aren't all that into seafood. A survey by the Food Marketing Institute (via SeafoodSource) says that fish fans tend to be well-heeled big spenders who want a high-end seafood experience that many fast food restaurants just can't deliver.

While not every fast food restaurant features fish on the menu, there are still a few who do, so Mashed conducted a survey to determine which one was putting out the best product. Our 606 respondents across the U.S. were given a choice of seven restaurants: Arby's, Burger King, Carl's Jr./Hardee's, Jack in the Box, Long John Silver's, McDonald's, and White Castle. It came as no shock when we found that over half of our respondents thought one chain easily outclassed all the other contenders.

Go figure, burger chains don't cook the best fish

The one thing that all of the losing restaurants in the survey had in common was that fish is not their primary product. In fact, many chains might not even offer the stuff at all, except for one factor: Lent, an approximately 6-week period in which the sizable Catholic population of the U.S. makes a good faith effort to abstain from consuming any type of meat on Fridays other than fish (via ABC News).

The chain with the worst fish appears to be White Castle. Their fish sandwich, though available year-round, was preferred by just 2.64% of our voters. Jack in the Box, a chain known more for its budget-priced tacos than its fish, only offers the latter item on a seasonal basis, according to Chew Boom, so it's not surprising that this every-so-often offering fell short of 4% of the vote. Carl's Jr./Hardee's, a chain that also offers seasonal fish (via Chew Boom) didn't do too much better, coming in with just 4.29%.

Burger King fared slightly better, with their year-round Big Fish being preferred by 7.10% of poll respondents. So does that mean that with fish sandwiches, 12 months of practice in making them makes for a superior product? No, not necessarily. Arby's, another chain that's fish sandwiches swim on and off the menu (although not only during Lent, as Brand Eating reveals), almost hit the 10% mark.

The Golden Arches did come in a respectable second place

Mickey D's was the one exception to that "don't order fish anywhere that sells burgers" rule we were in the midst of formulating. Its Filet-O-Fish actually made a pretty good showing, favorited by 20.63% of our poll respondents. In this case, it may well be that practice does make perfect, as the world's most famous fishwich has been a McDonald's menu staple for nearly 60 years, according to the company website.

Then again, it's more likely that familiarity, backed up with a powerful punch of nostalgia, may have resulted in the Filet-O-Fish's enduring popularity. What's more, the Filet-O-Fish was one of McDonald's first menu items to hold much appeal for global tastebuds. According to a piece that ran in The New York Times Magazine, when the Filet-O-Fish was added to the McDonald's menu, it was soon a big hit with "everyone from fish-loving Chinese-Americans to practicing Muslims to — well, anyone with taste."

Long John Silver's sails away with the prize

The winner, by a long shot, was the chain named after a peg-legged pirate: Long John Silver of "Treasure Island" infamy (via Project Gutenberg). Silver, fittingly enough, served as the ship's cook in the classic work o'literature, and 51.82% of those we polled feel that his namesake restaurant can still whip up a pretty decent fishwich. A Business Insider review admitted that fish is a tough dish for any fast food chain to pull off well, but said Long John Silver's sandwich was "far from a bottom feeder ... the bun holds up and the pickle adds a much-needed acidic crunch."

While the actual flavor of the fish in Long John Silver's signature sandwich may be on the bland side, this issue is easily remedied. Unusually for a fast food restaurant, the chain offers malt vinegar as a condiment! Try it on the fries, too, for a vaguely British "chippy" experience that's ... well, not quite fit for a queen, but it's the best you're going to be able to do in the average American suburb.