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 ajรญ 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 youโ€™ll need to learn if you want to have a conversation in Spanish on this topic. 

15 Essential Spanish Terms for Meat and Fish 

  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ carne – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง meat
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ pescado – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง fish
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ vacuno / res – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง beef
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ cerdo / chancho –ย ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง pork
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ cordero – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง lamb
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ ave – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง poultry
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ pollo – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง chicken
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ pavo – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง turkey
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ pato – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง duck
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ carnicerรญa – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง butcherยดs / meat counter
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ congrio – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง sea bass
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ salmรณn – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง salmon
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ bacalao – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง cod
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ trucha – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง trout
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ mariscos – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง 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: 

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ No como carne.
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง I donโ€™t eat meat.ย 

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ ยฟPrefieres carne o pescado?
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง Do you prefer meat or fish?

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ El pollo frito es mi plato favorito.
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง Fried chicken is my favorite dish.

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ En mi paรญs se come mucho cerdo.ย 
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง We eat a lot of pork in my country.

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Soy alรฉrgico a mariscos.
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง Iโ€™m allergic to seafood.ย 

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Un kilo de salmรณn fileteado, por favor.ย 
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง A kilogram of filleted salmon.ย 

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ ยฟCuรกnto cuesta una pechuga de pollo entera?ย 
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง How much is a whole chicken breast?ย 

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

Most Common Spanish Verbs related to Meat and Fish

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

  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ cortar – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง to cut
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ trozar – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง to slice
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ moler – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง to grind
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ cortar en cubitos – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง to dice
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ porcionar – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง to portion
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ desengrasar – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง to degrease
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ cocinar – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง to cook
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ freรญr – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง to fry
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ asar – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง to roast / to grillย 
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ guisar – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง to stew
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ aliรฑar – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง to season
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ congelar – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง to freeze

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

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ ยฟMe puede cortar unos 3 trozos grandes de vacuno?ย 
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง Can you cut three big slices of beef for me?

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ He comprado carne para la cena pero hay que desengrasarla primero.ย 
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง Iโ€™ve bought meat for dinner, but it needs degreasing first.ย 

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ El salmรณn estaba en oferta, asรญ que comprรฉ 3 kilos. Lo voy a congelar.
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง Salmon was on sale, so I bought three kilograms. Iโ€™m going to freeze it.ย 

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ ยฟPrefieres asar o freir esta carne?
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง Do you prefer to fry or roast this meat?

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ La receta dice que hay que cortar el pollo en cubitos.ย 
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง The recipe says you have to chop the chicken.ย 

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Aliรฑa el pescado a tu gusto.
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง Season the fish to your taste.ย 

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

  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ un buen corte de carne – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง a good meat cut
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ un trozo de vacuno – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง a slice of beefย 
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ carne molida – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง ground meat
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ congrio frito – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง a fried sea bass
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ pollo asado ย – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง roast chicken
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ un guiso de carne – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง a meat stew
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ un asado – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง a barbeque

Describing Meat and Fish in Spanish

Imagine that someone asks you: โ€œHow do you like your meat / fish?โ€. 

In Spanish, this question will be: โ€œQuรฉ tal tu carne / pescado?โ€

How would you answer that?

Obviously, youโ€™d need a few descriptive adjectives, just like the ones below:

  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ delicioso – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง delicious
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ saboroso – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง tasty
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ jugoso – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง juicy
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ seco – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง dry
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ desabrido – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง tasteless
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ magro – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง lean
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ grasiento – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง greasy
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ salado – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง salty
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ sin hueso – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง boneless
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ sin piel – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง skinless
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ duro – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง tough
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ tierno – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง tender

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

The word โ€œcarneโ€ is feminine, and โ€œpescadoโ€ is masculine. 

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ
A: ยฟQuรฉ tal tu carne?
B: Estรก deliciosa! Muy jugosa y tierna.ย 
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง
A: Howโ€™s your meat?
B: Itโ€™s delicious! Very juicy and tender.ย 

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ
A: ยฟCรณmo estรก su pescado, seรฑor?
B: En realidad estรก un poco seco. ยฟHay alguna salsa que me puede ofrecer?
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง
A: Howโ€™s your fish, sir?
B: Actually, it is a little dry. Is there any sauce you can offer?

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ
A: Este corte es demasiado grasiento.ย 
B: Tienes razรณn. Busquemos algo mรกs magro.ย 
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง
A: This cut is very greasy.
B: Youโ€™re right. Letโ€™s look for something leaner.ย 

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, youโ€™ll surely want to know how to describe your preferences if a waiter inquires.

  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ punto de cocciรณn – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง cooking point
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ bien cocido – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง well-doneย 
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ a punto / tres cuartos – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง medium
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ punto medio / jugoso – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง medium-rare
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ a la inglesa / rojo – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง rare

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ
A: ยฟCรณmo le gusta la carne, seรฑora?
B: A punto, por favor.ย 
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง
A: How do you like your steak, madam?
B: Medium, please.ย 

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ
A: Disculpe, a mi bistec le falta cocciรณn.ย 
B: Por supuesto, a su orden.
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง
A: Excuse me, my steak still needs some cooking.
B: Of course, at your order.ย 

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. 

  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ filete – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง fillet
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ bife – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง rib eye
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ lomo – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง loin
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ lomo liso / solomillo – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง sirloin
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ falda / tapabarriga – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง flank
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ costillar ย – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง ribs
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ tapapecho – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง brisket
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ paleta – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง chuck
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ entraรฑa – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง outside skirt
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ plateada – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง short plate
  • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ punta de ganso – ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง rump

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ El lomo queda muy bien a la parilla.ย 
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง Grilled loin is very good.ย 

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Compra un kilo de filete, por favor.ย 
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง Buy a kilogram of beef fillet, please.

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Dรฉme medio kilo de plateada.
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง Iโ€™d like (literally โ€œgive meโ€) half a kilogram of short plate.

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ El tapapecho estรก delicioso. ยฟCรณmo lo preparaste?ย 
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง 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.

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