Prawns versus shrimps


Have not posted for a week or two. But when I was in Canada recently, as I was fishing ‘spot prawns’, the question was asked, what is the difference between prawns and shrimps? I knew there was a subtle difference but was not sure what. So here we go… Prawn versus shrimp!!

Well, for what it is worth, they are both decapod crustaceans i.e. that they have exoskeletons and 10 legs. Prawns are larger in size and have larger legs with claws on three pairs. Shrimp are smaller, have shorter legs and have claws only on two pairs. They have branching gills and lamellar, i.e. plate-like. Are you really that interested?

The fact is, In the United Kingdom, the word “prawn” is more common on menus than “shrimp”; while it’s the opposite in North America. The term “prawn” is also loosely used to describe any large shrimp, especially those that come 15 (or fewer) to the pound (such as “king prawns”, yet sometimes known as “jumbo shrimp”).

But surely it is the taste that matters, not the name. Prawns and shrimp are similar in taste, but prawns are considered more of a delicacy because of their size. Since shrimp are smaller in size, they get cooked slightly quicker than prawns. Sautéing shrimp for longer might make it rubbery and closer to dry fish. Other than that, they taste very similar to prawns.

I still prefer the prawn and the wild caught one at that, such as the skull island from Australia. The same with all wild caught fish is that they have texture and more fat. The farmed, well that is a story and a theme for another blog. So, enjoy your prawns and shrimps





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