shrimp prawn

kaven-ever

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi.
I'm a little curious when you see shrimps/prawns, the first word comes into your mind is what? Although Wiki provides detailed information, I don't think somebody would really take a close look at their tiny distinctions, right?
 
  • RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    "Shrimp," which I think is by far the more common term in AmE.

    Actually, what I usually think is "nasty, disgusting dead bugs."
     

    AmaryllisBunny

    Senior Member
    English (AmE)
    Prawn are not the same as shrimp. Structurally, their exteriors are harder and they tend to have much softer inner flesh. If you were to buy prawns, you can expect it to cost a LOT more.

    Size doesn't necessarily mean it is a prawn, although they tend to be larger than what you find at the grocery store.

    For example, if you go to a Japanese restaurant and order "ebi" (shrimp), that is shrimp in AmE. However if you order their "sweet shrimp" or "amaebi" then that is actually a prawn (and not a shrimp).

    Prawn also tend to have longer and thicker whiskers than shrimp. Their "shell/plate" is much thicker. So peeling prawns is not like when you pretty much "pull the shell" off of shrimp.

    When you see "fried shrimp heads" they're normally prawn heads.




    Most chefs and foodies would know the difference.
     

    AmaryllisBunny

    Senior Member
    English (AmE)
    Julian I agree with you to a certain extent. However, foodies and chefs would know the difference. People who are on the food scene or do food tastings would know. Anyone who would order "sweet shrimp" sushi (raw as opposed to the "shrimp") would know it was a prawn.

    Here where I'm from, the average person would call everything shrimp.

    Just curious, do you distinguish them Julian – when you go out to eat?
     

    Copperknickers

    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    To be honest, I always thought that 'shrimp' was just the American word for prawn, seeing as you don't get shrimp in the UK and you don't seem to get prawns in the USA (at least not as commonly as shrimp).
     

    AmaryllisBunny

    Senior Member
    English (AmE)
    Woah, That is very shocking! Back when I was in France, they clearly sold tons and tons of shrimp at the fish markets and very seldom, would they have prawns.
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    I agree there is a pond divide on this one. I experienced "prawn" in both the UK and Australia. I think that's just the normal term, even if it's technically shrimp.

    In the Midwest, people would ask "what's a prawn"? (Unless you are a foodie, as AB says.)
     

    Copperknickers

    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    I agree there is a pond divide on this one. I experienced "prawn" in both the UK and Australia. I think that's just the normal term, even if it's technically shrimp.

    In the Midwest, people would ask "what's a prawn"? (Unless you are a foodie, as AB says.)

    Indeed. I have no idea whether the usual 'prawn' for sale in the UK is a prawn or a shrimp, although we do commonly get tiger prawns and king prawns in more up-market places so those obviously aren't shrimp. They're particularly associated with Asian cuisine here, they're not really commonly eaten except at restaurants (Asian, or in mixed seafood dishes). Although you do get them quite a lot recently in salads and sandwiches.
     

    AmaryllisBunny

    Senior Member
    English (AmE)
    we do commonly get tiger prawns and king prawns in more up-market places so those obviously aren't shrimp.

    Do you at least take advantage of that? Because if not, we should switch places so I can get my hands on some tiger prawns... :p

    For Asian cuisine, we use a lot of prawns. Although you'll notice menus refer to shrimp fried rice (because they're shrimp) and, salt and peppered deep-fried prawns (because they're prawns).

    In salads and sandwiches, I would be surprised if they're actually putting prawns in them and not just shrimp. It seems to be a marketing ploy o_O?
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Julian I agree with you to a certain extent. However, foodies and chefs would know the difference. People who are on the food scene or do food tastings would know. Anyone who would order "sweet shrimp" sushi (raw as opposed to the "shrimp") would know it was a prawn.

    Here where I'm from, the average person would call everything shrimp.

    Just curious, do you distinguish them Julian – when you go out to eat?
    The key point I took from that article I quoted was that the words are often misused as "interchangeable" so asking in, say, a restaurant, for one and not the other will depend on what they think the words mean (see my sig!). I was not aware of the gill anatomical difference or the 2 claws vs 3 claws part and just had the general "prawns are bigger than shrimps" vague distinction. I did, however, have a general feeling that shrimps could come in all sizes and felt the "jumbo shrimp is an oxymoron" comment was a little misinformed. Also, it's not as simple as "prawn or shrimp" given the number of species around.
    I suspect you are right, however, when it comes to gastronomes of various kinds, who will have made an effort to get the names right:D
     

    Copperknickers

    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    Do you at least take advantage of that? Because if not, we should switch places so I can get my hands on some tiger prawns... :p

    For Asian cuisine, we use a lot of prawns. Although you'll notice menus refer to shrimp fried rice (because they're shrimp) and, salt and peppered deep-fried prawns (because they're prawns).

    In salads and sandwiches, I would be surprised if they're actually putting prawns in them and not just shrimp. It seems to be a marketing ploy o_O?

    Well the 'prawn sandwich' is a staple of British cuisine so they certainly used to. But the terminology really is not very precise in the UK. I just found this sentence in a British newspaper article:

    'A medium-sized shrimp farm in South-East Asia can produced close to a million pounds of prawns every year, a 'powerful incentive for farmers to maximise production', the report notes.

    The vast majority of prawns eaten on these shores come from such farms in India, Indonesia and Thailand.'

    So it seems there is literally no distinction between shrimp and prawns, they are interchangeable even in the same sentence, at least to the layman. Who knows what species they really are?
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I agree with panjandrum. Copperknickers, I was flabbergasted when you you said we don't get shrimp in the UK. Maybe you don't get them in Scotland, but we certainly do in London. As a child (in the sixties) I can still remember stalls down by the river selling pints/half-pints of shrimps (yes, shrimps plural!:D) or cockles/mussels. These days London pubs sell prawns by the pint, I suppose as an acknowledgement of a tradition which I bet was ended by Health & Safety, but of course you get them on a plate, not in a glass jar (or paper).;)

    Just for the record, I also distinguish between shrimp and prawns. Different animals, as they say.
     
    Last edited:

    Copperknickers

    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    I agree with panjandrum. Copperknickers, I was flabbergasted when you you said we don't get shrimp in the UK. Maybe you don't get them in Scotland, but we certainly do in London. As a child (in the sixties) I can still remember stalls down by the river selling pints/half-pints of shrimps (yes, shrimps plural!:D) or cockles/mussels. These days London pubs sell prawns by the pint, I suppose as an acknowledgement of a tradition which I bet was ended by Health & Safety, but of course you get them on a plate, not in a glass jar (or paper).;)

    Actually I live in London, and I've never seen shrimp here. I've had a pint of prawns in a pub in fact. Prawns, not shrimp. I would love to distinguish between prawns and shrimp but like most other Brits, I have no idea what the difference is.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Woah, That is very shocking! Back when I was in France, they clearly sold tons and tons of shrimp at the fish markets and very seldom, would they have prawns.
    Interesting, I would have expected that they would have used French rather than English (and, by the way, our English-French dictionary here says the French use the same word for both.)
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    You might want to look at this thread:
    Prawns/Shrimps
    Where I am, we mainly say prawns all the time. In local cooking, we have dried prawns, prawn paste and so on, though we hear Americans talking abut dried shrimps and shrimp paste.

    If they are different species, are we really eating 'shrimp cocktails' or 'prawn cocktails'? :confused:
     
    Top