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Ahi vs. Mahi — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Published on January 11, 2024
Ahi refers to yellowfin and bigeye tuna, often used in sushi, while Mahi, short for Mahi-Mahi, is a tropical fish also known as dolphin fish, popular for its firm texture.
Ahi vs. Mahi — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Ahi and Mahi


Key Differences

Ahi, often used in sushi, refers specifically to yellowfin and bigeye tuna. Its flesh is red and it's prized for its taste. Mahi, or Mahi-Mahi, is a distinct species, also called dolphin fish, known for its firm, flaky texture and mild flavor.
In culinary terms, Ahi is typically served raw or seared. It's a staple in Japanese cuisine. Mahi is more versatile in cooking methods, often grilled, baked, or fried, and is a common feature in tropical cuisines.
The habitat of Ahi is mainly open ocean. They are deep-water fish. Mahi inhabits surface waters, often found in warmer, tropical regions, and is known for its dazzling colors.
Ahi is highly regarded in the sushi industry for its texture and flavor. It's often more expensive. Mahi is considered more of an everyday fish, more accessible and less pricey.
Conservation status differs between the two. Some Ahi species are overfished. Mahi, on the other hand, is often considered a more sustainable option, with faster growth rates.

Comparison Chart


Yellowfin and Bigeye Tuna
Dolphin Fish (Mahi-Mahi)

Culinary Use

Often raw or seared for sushi
Grilled, baked, or fried


Deep ocean waters
Surface waters in tropical regions

Texture & Flavor

Red flesh, prized taste
Firm, flaky, mild flavor

Conservation Status

Some species overfished
Generally considered sustainable

Compare with Definitions


Known for its red flesh and rich flavor.
Ahi poke bowls are my favorite.


Known for its firm, flaky texture.
The Mahi fillet was perfectly cooked.


A type of tuna, often used in sushi.
The Ahi tuna sashimi was incredibly fresh.


Popular in tropical and subtropical cuisines.
Mahi is a common catch in the Caribbean.


A staple in Japanese and Hawaiian cuisine.
We enjoyed Ahi during our trip to Hawaii.


Often served grilled, baked, or fried.
I prefer my Mahi grilled with lemon.


Often served raw or lightly seared.
The seared Ahi was seasoned to perfection.


Considered a more sustainable fish option.
We chose Mahi for its sustainability.


Refers specifically to yellowfin or bigeye tuna.
I prefer Ahi over other types of tuna.


A tropical fish also known as dolphin fish.
Grilled Mahi tacos are a summer staple.


Either of two types of tuna, bigeye tuna or yellowfin tuna, having edible flesh that is commonly grilled or served raw as sashimi.


(NZ) the work required to complete a task


Yellowfin tuna

Common Curiosities

Can Ahi be cooked or is it just eaten raw?

Ahi can be eaten raw in sushi or seared, but it's versatile enough to be cooked.

What is Ahi tuna?

Ahi refers to yellowfin and bigeye tuna, often used in sushi.

Is Ahi more expensive than Mahi?

Generally, Ahi is more expensive, especially in sushi-grade quality.

Is Mahi considered a sustainable fish?

Generally, yes. Mahi is often considered a more sustainable option.

What is Mahi?

Mahi, short for Mahi-Mahi, is a tropical fish also known as dolphin fish.

Where is Ahi commonly found?

Ahi is found in open ocean waters, often in deep-sea areas.

What cuisines feature Ahi prominently?

Japanese and Hawaiian cuisines often feature Ahi.

Can you eat Mahi raw?

Mahi is typically not eaten raw and is best when cooked.

Is Mahi good for grilling?

Yes, Mahi has a firm texture making it great for grilling.

What’s the typical habitat for Mahi?

Mahi inhabits warmer, surface waters, often in tropical regions.

Does Mahi have a strong fishy taste?

No, Mahi has a mild flavor and flaky texture.

Are there sustainability concerns with Ahi?

Yes, some Ahi species are overfished and have sustainability concerns.

What dishes are Mahi commonly used in?

Mahi is common in tropical dishes, like grilled fish tacos or baked fillets.

Is Ahi high in mercury?

Like many tunas, Ahi can have higher mercury levels, so consumption should be moderated.

What’s the best way to prepare Ahi?

Ahi is best enjoyed raw, as in sashimi, or lightly seared.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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