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The Best Tasting Shrimp Species

 

Jim Wyban (jim.wyban@gmail.com): At High Health Aquaculture, we developed and bred specific pathogen free (SPF) stocks of Penaeus vannamei, P. monodon, P. stylirostris and P. japonicus.  Over the years, we ate lots of them, and I developed some opinions on which tasted best and had the best texture.

 

Shrimp quality is more strongly influenced by post-harvest processing and handling than species.  A fresh, whole, ice-killed, large vannamei is far superior to a frozen, headless monodon.  Second, cooking techniques have a big influence on taste and texture.  Third, size is very important.  Large monodon are very special.

 

In the following order, my preferences are:

 

1. Japonicus

2. Large monodon (over 60 grams)

3. Large stylirostris

4. Large vannamei

5. Small vannamei (less that 20 grams)

6. Monodon (less that 40 grams)

 

Nelson Gerundo (nelsongerundo@yahoo.com): Jim, my family eats shrimp three times a week, mostly farmed monodon and vannamei, but we also eat wild-caught monodon, merguiensis, japonicus and Metapenaeus ensis.  I have never tasted stylirostris.  I agree with you that shrimp quality is more influenced by processing, handling, cooking and size—than species.

 

Daniel Gruenberg (daniel@acquestra.com): We should mark this day in history because I completely agree with Jim Wyban’s assessment on shrimp taste.  However, I would like to add one more variable—feed.  We have proven that we can manipulate shrimp flavor dramatically by using different feed formulations.  In fact, we are now experimenting with pre-harvest diets to improve shrimp flavor, and our results look very promising.

 

Nelson Gerundo (nelsongerundo@yahoo.com): The flavor of shrimp can be enhanced by marinating them in a combination of spices and condiments.

 

Dan Fegan (danfegan@yahoo.co.uk): Many moons ago, when we produced monodon for the Japanese market, we got good feedback on the taste and texture of our shrimp.  Growing shrimp at high salinities, especially in full-strength seawater, definitely improved their flavor.  Interestingly, one of the few times that American buyers complained about our shrimp was when they purchased shrimp harvested from freshwater ponds.  They reported that the shrimp had poor color and shrank when cooked.  Since then, I have always noted that shrimp from seawater taste better and have better texture than those from low-salinity ponds.

 

Nothing beats a shrimp straight from a seawater pond that’s cooked in boiling water for a few seconds—regardless of species!  My opinion of course.

 

Mark Napulan (kram_lewor501@yahoo.com): When we talk about shrimp flavor and texture, one of my favorites is indicus from a high salinity pond.  I understand why Japan was one of the National Aquaculture Group’s (a huge shrimp farm in Saudi Arabia that formerly farmed indicus) biggest markets for indicus.  Another one of my favorites is vannamei fed with diatoms and copepods.  They are the sweetest pond-reared vannamei that I’ve ever tasted.  In my opinion, however, nothing beats the taste of broodstock-size monodon, like the ones I had in Bangladesh last month.

 

Patrick Wood (patrickjwood@yahoo.com): Commodity shrimp tend to be adulterated, which masks the real taste and texture of the shrimp.  Try whole/frozen or whole/cooked shrimp to note the difference.

 

Dominique Gautier (dgautier@sea-farms.com): Hi Dan, what you say about the positive effect of seawater on taste and texture has been documented in the peer-reviewed literature.  Sweetness is enhanced in seawater.  It has something to do with the free amino acids in the shrimp’s tissues.

 

Shrimp raised in very low salinity water can have an earthy-musty flavor caused by chemicals generated by blue-green algae and other microorganisms that flourish in low-salinity water.

 

Sources: 1. The Shrimp List (a mailing list for shrimp farmers).  Subject: Food for Thought.  April 27 to 28, 2017.  2. Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, May 5, 2017.

 

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