The Smart Seafood Hack More Whole Foods Shoppers Need to Know About — And It’s Totally Free!

published Mar 4, 2023
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Angled view of a selection of fish for sale inside the seafood department in a Whole Foods Market.
Credit: Colleen Michaels / Shutterstock

Whole Foods Market is a favorite for shoppers who are looking for fresh, organic produce, a highly curated product spread, and the latest trends. Although many equate the grocer with a high price point (cue the tired Whole Paycheck jokes), you’ll find budget-friendly buys and clever ways to save in nearly every section of the store. You can even score the occasional freebie!

Take, for instance, this seafood hack making new waves on TikTok. In January, user Lucy Huynh (@lucystylezz) posted that the fishmongers at Whole Foods will season and steam your seafood order for free. She then visited her local Whole Foods seafood counter to see exactly how it works. Here’s what she discovered.

After approaching the seafood counter, Huynh asks a cheerful fishmonger behind the counter, “I heard about the Whole Foods’ hack that we can order seafood fresh and you guys will steam it and season it as well, is that right?”

His response? A resounding, “Yeah!” He also adds, “We can steam it for you, we can smoke it for you, we can do anything you want — any seasoning, any flavor, any seafood.” (The fishmongers at Whole Foods will also cut and debone your fish, peel your shrimp, and crack your crab at no extra charge to the price of your seafood order too.)

There’s a wide selection of seasonings to choose from, according to the employee, including tequila lime, Cajun seasoning, lemon and herb, spicy habanero, or the classic Old Bay, among others. And the best part is, there’s no additional charge for this service. You pay for the seafood, and the seasoning and steaming (or smoking) is on Whole Foods. What a smart and savvy dinner shortcut!

According to a few commenters, not every Whole Foods provides this service, so you may want to check with your local store before you head on over. Other commenters were quick to point out that retailers like Publix, Kroger, Ralph’s, 99 Ranch Market, and more also season and steam your seafood order; some will even deep-fry it! So if you’re not near a Whole Foods, you can hopefully still get in on the seafood prep action.

Huynh ended up ordering one pound of shrimp with Cajun seasoning and one pound of mussels with the lemon herb seasoning. (She had both steamed.) The two pounds of prepared seafood came out to $21, with her Amazon Prime discount. Most seafood restaurants near me in Seattle often run up to $30 for half the amount of food, so this hack is a clear winner in terms of price points. 

How’d her meal turn out? “So fresh, and so good,” says Huynh. “Run to your Whole Foods right now.” I’ll meet you there — after I call, of course.

Have you tried this hack at Whole Foods? Tell us about it in the comments below.