I am in the United States, and I have walked into multiple vegetarian restaurants in the last year that have had fish in their menu. When asked they simply say that they consider it a "sea-vegetable". I don't find that to make any sense, but this was the same case when I visited Malaysia and few restaurants in Singapore as well. From friends and family, I have also heard this being the case in some European countries as well.

Why do restaurants do this?

  • Although I've seen **non-**vegetarian restaurants thinking fish might be vegetarian, I have not seen this for vegetarian restaurants (I've been to vegetarian restaurants in US, Canada, France, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Poland).
    – gerrit
    Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 16:03

1 Answer 1


Evidence that fish and other sea animals feel pain and can experience suffering has only recently been proven scientifically.
Pain receptors were discovered in fish in the early 2000s and monitoring brain activity is also a recent phenomenon.

  • I learnt something interesting and new today from you, thank you!
    – rev0
    Commented Jun 21, 2022 at 22:08
  • 1
    It's far from being "proven scientifically". Conclusions vary, and there is no scientific consensus on this. This question on the sister site has more info on the topic of fish pain.
    – Zeus
    Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 8:36
  • @Zeus That fish have pain receptors was proven in the early 21st century. Commented Aug 13, 2022 at 5:52
  • @Timothy, in the answers to that questions there are references to much later research. Besides, most animals have 'pain receptors' (i.e. tactile sense); it is their processing that's under question.
    – Zeus
    Commented Aug 13, 2022 at 9:44
  • this is an interesting answer, and satisfied the OP, but somehow I feel it's at least not the only reason why some restaurants consider fish to be vegetarian (or why some vegetarians eat fish). Did vegetarians all eat fish before the discoveries you mention? Did they all stop when this information came to light? There is something more to be said in further answers.
    – Zanna
    Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 10:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.