meat and fish

Meat and Fish – Spanish Words and Phrases You Must Know

As you may well know, Latin America and Spain are famous for their cuisine, especially delicious meat and fish preparations. If you are a carnivore, make sure to try Spanish cured ham, Argentinean steak, Peruvian ají de gallina, Chilean fish, and seafood. The abundance and relatively low prices will sweep you off your feet.

Are you just starting to learn Spanish? First of all – congrats! You have chosen one of the best languages to study

Now, to help you in the meat and fish department, I have prepared a list of the most common vocabulary you’ll need to learn if you want to have a conversation in Spanish on this topic. 

15 Essential Spanish Terms for Meat and Fish 

  • 🇪🇸 carne – 🇬🇧 meat
  • 🇪🇸 pescado – 🇬🇧 fish
  • 🇪🇸 vacuno / res – 🇬🇧 beef
  • 🇪🇸 cerdo / chancho – 🇬🇧 pork
  • 🇪🇸 cordero – 🇬🇧 lamb
  • 🇪🇸 ave – 🇬🇧 poultry
  • 🇪🇸 pollo – 🇬🇧 chicken
  • 🇪🇸 pavo – 🇬🇧 turkey
  • 🇪🇸 pato – 🇬🇧 duck
  • 🇪🇸 carnicería – 🇬🇧 butcher´s / meat counter
  • 🇪🇸 congrio – 🇬🇧 sea bass
  • 🇪🇸 salmón – 🇬🇧 salmon
  • 🇪🇸 bacalao – 🇬🇧 cod
  • 🇪🇸 trucha – 🇬🇧 trout
  • 🇪🇸 mariscos – 🇬🇧 seafood

Once you learn these simple Meat and Fish Words in Spanish, you will be able to start forming real-life sentences like the ones below: 

🇪🇸 No como carne.
🇬🇧 I don’t eat meat. 

🇪🇸 ¿Prefieres carne o pescado?
🇬🇧 Do you prefer meat or fish?

🇪🇸 El pollo frito es mi plato favorito.
🇬🇧 Fried chicken is my favorite dish.

🇪🇸 En mi país se come mucho cerdo. 
🇬🇧 We eat a lot of pork in my country.

🇪🇸 Soy alérgico a mariscos.
🇬🇧 I’m allergic to seafood. 

🇪🇸 Un kilo de salmón fileteado, por favor. 
🇬🇧 A kilogram of filleted salmon. 

🇪🇸 ¿Cuánto cuesta una pechuga de pollo entera? 
🇬🇧 How much is a whole chicken breast? 

See? Shopping in Spanish is not as difficult as it might seem.

Most Common Spanish Verbs related to Meat and Fish

Let’s move on to Spanish verbs related to this topic, shall we? There are plenty of things you can do with meat and fish:

  • 🇪🇸 cortar – 🇬🇧 to cut
  • 🇪🇸 trozar – 🇬🇧 to slice
  • 🇪🇸 moler – 🇬🇧 to grind
  • 🇪🇸 cortar en cubitos – 🇬🇧 to dice
  • 🇪🇸 porcionar – 🇬🇧 to portion
  • 🇪🇸 desengrasar – 🇬🇧 to degrease
  • 🇪🇸 cocinar – 🇬🇧 to cook
  • 🇪🇸 freír – 🇬🇧 to fry
  • 🇪🇸 asar – 🇬🇧 to roast / to grill 
  • 🇪🇸 guisar – 🇬🇧 to stew
  • 🇪🇸 aliñar – 🇬🇧 to season
  • 🇪🇸 congelar – 🇬🇧 to freeze

Wanna see some examples of how to use them? Here you go:

🇪🇸 ¿Me puede cortar unos 3 trozos grandes de vacuno? 
🇬🇧 Can you cut three big slices of beef for me?

🇪🇸 He comprado carne para la cena pero hay que desengrasarla primero. 
🇬🇧 I’ve bought meat for dinner, but it needs degreasing first. 

🇪🇸 El salmón estaba en oferta, así que compré 3 kilos. Lo voy a congelar.
🇬🇧 Salmon was on sale, so I bought three kilograms. I’m going to freeze it. 

🇪🇸 ¿Prefieres asar o freir esta carne?
🇬🇧 Do you prefer to fry or roast this meat?

🇪🇸 La receta dice que hay que cortar el pollo en cubitos. 
🇬🇧 The recipe says you have to chop the chicken. 

🇪🇸 Aliña el pescado a tu gusto.
🇬🇧 Season the fish to your taste. 

Let’s play some more with those verbs. You can transform many of them into other parts of speech (nouns or adjectives). Take a look:

  • 🇪🇸 un buen corte de carne – 🇬🇧 a good meat cut
  • 🇪🇸 un trozo de vacuno – 🇬🇧 a slice of beef 
  • 🇪🇸 carne molida – 🇬🇧 ground meat
  • 🇪🇸 congrio frito – 🇬🇧 a fried sea bass
  • 🇪🇸 pollo asado  – 🇬🇧 roast chicken
  • 🇪🇸 un guiso de carne – 🇬🇧 a meat stew
  • 🇪🇸 un asado – 🇬🇧 a barbeque

Describing Meat and Fish in Spanish

Imagine that someone asks you: “How do you like your meat / fish?”. 

In Spanish, this question will be: “Qué tal tu carne / pescado?”

How would you answer that?

Obviously, you’d need a few descriptive adjectives, just like the ones below:

  • 🇪🇸 delicioso – 🇬🇧 delicious
  • 🇪🇸 saboroso – 🇬🇧 tasty
  • 🇪🇸 jugoso – 🇬🇧 juicy
  • 🇪🇸 seco – 🇬🇧 dry
  • 🇪🇸 desabrido – 🇬🇧 tasteless
  • 🇪🇸 magro – 🇬🇧 lean
  • 🇪🇸 grasiento – 🇬🇧 greasy
  • 🇪🇸 salado – 🇬🇧 salty
  • 🇪🇸 sin hueso – 🇬🇧 boneless
  • 🇪🇸 sin piel – 🇬🇧 skinless
  • 🇪🇸 duro – 🇬🇧 tough
  • 🇪🇸 tierno – 🇬🇧 tender

IMPORTANT: Keep in mind that adjectives in Spanish change their gender and number, so you’ll have to adjust their form according to the noun you use. 

The word “carne” is feminine, and “pescado” is masculine. 

🇪🇸
A: ¿Qué tal tu carne?
B: Está deliciosa! Muy jugosa y tierna. 
🇬🇧
A: How’s your meat?
B: It’s delicious! Very juicy and tender. 

🇪🇸
A: ¿Cómo está su pescado, señor?
B: En realidad está un poco seco. ¿Hay alguna salsa que me puede ofrecer?
🇬🇧
A: How’s your fish, sir?
B: Actually, it is a little dry. Is there any sauce you can offer?

🇪🇸
A: Este corte es demasiado grasiento. 
B: Tienes razón. Busquemos algo más magro. 
🇬🇧
A: This cut is very greasy.
B: You’re right. Let’s look for something leaner. 

Steak cooking points and how to indicate them in Spanish

How do you like your beef? I always make sure that mine is well done. I hate seeing a tiny spot of red or pink on the plate.

If you are fussy like me, you’ll surely want to know how to describe your preferences if a waiter inquires.

  • 🇪🇸 punto de cocción – 🇬🇧 cooking point
  • 🇪🇸 bien cocido – 🇬🇧 well-done 
  • 🇪🇸 a punto / tres cuartos – 🇬🇧 medium
  • 🇪🇸 punto medio / jugoso – 🇬🇧 medium-rare
  • 🇪🇸 a la inglesa / rojo – 🇬🇧 rare

🇪🇸
A: ¿Cómo le gusta la carne, señora?
B: A punto, por favor. 
🇬🇧
A: How do you like your steak, madam?
B: Medium, please. 

🇪🇸
A: Disculpe, a mi bistec le falta cocción. 
B: Por supuesto, a su orden.
🇬🇧
A: Excuse me, my steak still needs some cooking.
B: Of course, at your order. 

If you are looking for some more restaurant-related Spanish vocabulary, check out my post on that topic. 

How to name different beef cuts in Spanish

To finish with, here is a little something for real meat lovers and connoisseurs. 

As you well know, not every beef cut tastes the same, and each of them requires different preparation. 

Given the fact that Spanish is so-wildly spoken, names of cuts vary from country to country. The ones that I am presenting here are the ones used in Chile, where I live. 

  • 🇪🇸 filete – 🇬🇧 fillet
  • 🇪🇸 bife – 🇬🇧 rib eye
  • 🇪🇸 lomo – 🇬🇧 loin
  • 🇪🇸 lomo liso / solomillo – 🇬🇧 sirloin
  • 🇪🇸 falda / tapabarriga – 🇬🇧 flank
  • 🇪🇸 costillar  – 🇬🇧 ribs
  • 🇪🇸 tapapecho – 🇬🇧 brisket
  • 🇪🇸 paleta – 🇬🇧 chuck
  • 🇪🇸 entraña – 🇬🇧 outside skirt
  • 🇪🇸 plateada – 🇬🇧 short plate
  • 🇪🇸 punta de ganso – 🇬🇧 rump

🇪🇸 El lomo queda muy bien a la parilla. 
🇬🇧 Grilled loin is very good. 

🇪🇸 Compra un kilo de filete, por favor. 
🇬🇧 Buy a kilogram of beef fillet, please.

🇪🇸 Déme medio kilo de plateada.
🇬🇧 I’d like (literally “give me”) half a kilogram of short plate.

🇪🇸 El tapapecho está delicioso. ¿Cómo lo preparaste? 
🇬🇧 The brisket is delicious. How did you prepare it?

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Joanna Lupa

Joanna Lupa

Polish by birth, Chilean by the turns of life. Has spent 20 years in that beautiful South American country working as a language teacher and translator. Has taught Spanish and English to students of all proficiency levels. Passionate about languages, books, and traveling. A mother of 2 trilingual teenagers.