Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The shrimpiest of prawns

You know that nickname 'shrimp', which usually denotes someone of smaller stature? I bet they don't use it in the States. There, the shrimp and prawns are big. Sometimes obscenely, weirdly big.

Here... not so much. Our prawns are decidedly, well, shrimpy.

Exhibit A)
A 'tiger style prawn' from Ravel's, our local, nice but not great, bistro.
You hear 'tiger style' and you think 'great big prawns', don't you? (or 'great big shrimps' if you are American). Like the kind you can take two or three bites of. Not at Ravel's.

Exhibit B)
'Large' 'King' prawns, from Co-op. I know, I know, what do I expect, buying unsustainable, discounted prawns from the supermarket? But I'd promised TLOML bouillabaisse, and was too late for the proper fishmonger. Needs must.

What I needed were some nice big juicy shellfish to toss in the bouillabaisse.What I got were some rather undernourished little prawns.
 Don't believe me? Here they are next to a teaspoon, for scale.
I mean, it's not the world's smallest prawn or anything. But does it really merit the 'large king' label?

Sigh. I am dangerously close to 'everything is bigger and therefore better in America' territory here. And I really don't feel that way. I love British seafood, our lovely mussels, our nice briney oysters, langoustines, sweet brown crab.

It's just... well, these prawns are, undeniably, small. Delicious, but small.

In America when they call something 'large', or 'king', it is enormous. Too big. I think the prawn labelling people should exercise a little restraint. It's just a bit embarrassing, 's'all.


  1. 168g? heh heh. those particular king prawns required a regent whilst they matured a little more in their stagnant ditch kingdom.

  2. Your bouillabaisse.....Yuuuuummmmmmmm! I miss your Malibu dinners you used to ply me with.... sigh.
    And yes, I can report with the confidence of multiple experiences that Americans do, indeed, call vertically challenged people shrimp. Double sigh.