Is Salmon Candy Really What It Sounds Like?

Quick, what's your favorite kind of candy? No matter what specific brand and product you think of, it likely has one of a few standard flavors. If it's not some kind of chocolate, it's probably a hard or gummy candy with a fruit-based flavor like strawberry, green apple, or the mysterious blue raspberry. It's a fairly narrow range of options when you think about it, but there are people out there, including at some of the biggest candy brands, who are willing to break the mold. And why shouldn't the candy world embrace all flavors: Sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and... umami?

There are many unexpected candy combinations out there, some more "out there" than others. Candy Club invites us to consider Hershey's Texas BBQ-flavored Payday bars, wasabi Kit Kats, and Chlorophyll-flavored PEZ. But one combination we doubt you would guess is the union of candy with seafood. Candy Club highlights squid-flavored candy from Japan and lobster-flavored candy from Russia — but it's not just an international concept. 

There's a corner of the U.S. where you can sample salmon candy. However, it's not quite what it sounds like.

Candied salmon would be a more accurate name

Salmon candy is unique to the Pacific Northwest, made from the sockeye and Chinook salmon that populate the region (via Eater). When you hear its name, your mind's eye might summon pictures of gumdrops or hard candy in shades of pink, giving off the faint smell of the sea. But salmon candy is an entirely different thing, and it would be more accurate to think of it as "candied salmon," in a similar vein as candied bacon or candied yams. All three share something in common: In the simplest terms, they are non-sweet foods coated in a sweet glaze.

South Beach Fish Market, in South Beach, Oregon, provides some insight into the process of making salmon candy. First, the fish goes in a teriyaki brine after which it goes to a smoker. This isn't like the lox you find at a bagel shop though, as Eater notes the salmon is smoked until it reaches an almost jerky-like state. After the smoking stage, South Beach Fish Market seasons the salmon pieces with black pepper and lemon pepper before coating them in a brown sugar glaze, two very different flavors that come together in a one-of-a-kind way.

Where to buy salmon candy

Because salmon candy is a specialty distinct to the Pacific Northwest, you've probably never even heard of salmon candy until now, much less seen it in a store, unless you live in Oregon or Washington. Eater notes that it is widely available at fish markets and fish-and-chips shops. One particular place is the City Fish Seafood Market in Seattle's legendary Pike Place Market.

In the 48 states not named Oregon or Washington, all we can say is good luck finding salmon candy at a local store. It could be worth your time to do a cursory Google search or call a few fishmongers in your area, but in all likelihood, your best bet will be to visit an online vendor and have some salmon candy shipped to you. The aforementioned South Beach Fish Market ships to all 50 states, but at $50 per pound, it's not exactly cost-effective.