Is caviar vegetarian?

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Question: Is caviar vegetarian?

Is caviar vegetarian?

Answer: No. Most people know that caviar is a type of fish egg. These eggs are called "roe". So, since most people consider eggs from chickens to be a vegetarian food, why the confusion over caviar?

There is a big difference in the way eggs from chickens are processed versus fish egg caviar. With regular chicken eggs, the chicken lays its egg and the farmer (or rather, an industrialized machine) collects the eggs, and the chicken goes on to lay another egg again soon.

Not so with caviar.

Caviar eggs, or roe, are taken from within the body of the fish. That is, while the chicken lays its eggs, caviar fish eggs have not yet been laid. In order to get the eggs, the fish is killed in the process, either as the roe-containing ovaries are extracted, or the fish is caught and then the roe is extracted after the fish dies.

The good news for vegetarian gourmands, however, is that vegetarian caviar substitutes, made from seaweed and algae for that "fishy" taste, are readily available. Kelp Caviar, made in Canada, comes in sturgeon, wasabi and salmon flavors and is available online through Cavi-Art vegetarian caviar comes in salmon flavor, as well as black, yellow or red lumpfish flavors and is available online through Food Fight Vegan Grocery.

See also: Types of vegetarians