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What is Lox?

Diane Goettel
By
Updated May 16, 2024
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Lox, or smoked salmon, is a very thin fillet of salmon that has been cured and cold smoked. Smoked salmon is consumed in many parts of the world. However, in Canada and the United States, it is commonly referred to as lox. This is especially true on the East Coast. The word is a Yiddish word for “salmon.” The word is also related to the German (Lachs), Norwegian (laks), and Icelandic and Swedish (lax) words for “salmon.” Furthermore, the Old English word for salmon is læx.

Although lox is cured and smoked, it is not cooked. Therefore, the fish remains smooth and pink. It does not resemble fillets of cooked salmon. In the United States, lox is served in very thin slices and is enjoyed primarily as a breakfast food. One of the most common ways that Americans enjoy this fish is with bagels. Bagels with cream cheese are often topped with it. In fact, lox and cream cheese have become such a popular combination, that some dairies and bakeries serve cream cheese with salmon already mixed in along with other flavored cream cheeses such as vegetable, chive, and date. Bagels with cream cheese and lox are often garnished with sliced red onion and capers. The acidity of the capers and sweet bite of the onions add lovely flavor dimensions to the dish. This dish is also sometimes served on Melba toast instead of bagels.

In addition to serving as a popular breakfast food, lox is also served as lunch and dinner hours. Many delis and sandwich companies serve lox sandwiches for the midday meal. Furthermore, some restaurants incorporate it into appetizer plates. Some restaurants serve it with fruits, such as sliced apples and grapes, and mild cheeses.

Lox is also enjoyed in England and Germany. In England, smoked salmon is eaten on toasted brown bread with cream cheese and a garnish of fresh lemon juice. In Germany, it is served on toast or black bread. Lox is used as a cooking ingredient in many different parts of Europe. In France, for example, it is sometimes folded into crepes with fresh cream and chives. Some quiches also call for it as part of their filling. In Europe, you may also find smoked salmon scrambled into eggs, or as a pasta sauce ingredient.

Although lox shares some characteristics of raw fish, its use in sushi preparation is an American invention. This is evident in the names that have been assigned to sushi rolls that include it. The Philadelphia roll and New York roll are both examples of sushi rolls that are made with lox.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Diane Goettel
By Diane Goettel , Former Writer
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount Vernon, New York with her husband, Noah. They are the proud parents of a Doberman Pinscher named Spoon. Specialties: book editing, book marketing, book publishing, freelance writing, magazine publishing, magazine writing, copywriting,"

Discussion Comments

By bear78 — On Feb 16, 2011

Lox is a great way to have salmon. It does have a lot of salt, so I wouldn't want to have it everyday and increase my blood pressure. But its also very high in protein and vitamins. I tell my vegetarian friends to make an exception for lox and stock up on vitamin B12. I don't know why anyone would want to get a shot of B12 at the doctor when they can have some tasty lox.

I know lox is a popular breakfast food, but I just can't enjoy it as the first meal of the day. I tried having a lox waffle for breakfast at a Belgium restaurant. I wished I had waited for lunch or dinner. As light as lox is for salmon, it doesn't suit my palate for breakfast. I have never had it with cream cheese though. That sounds so delicious, I might just change my mind about lox for breakfast.

By Bhutan — On Feb 15, 2011

I love salmon lox with cream cheese on a bagel. One of the best places to have lox and bagels in Miami is the Bagel Cove.

It is not too far from Aventura mall. The place serves huge portions and the food tastes great. If you are looking for a Kosher diner this is it. But be prepared to wait because the lines to get in are long, but it is worth it.

Diane Goettel

Diane Goettel

Former Writer

"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount...
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