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Old 02-19-2006, 11:20 PM   #1
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Diff between shrimp & prawn?

I thought shrimps were generally smaller than prawns but I see prawns and shrimps of the same size being sold side by side. I've noticed that shrimps tend to shrink/shrivel so much more than prawns do after cooking. Can someone validate this? So what really is the difference between the two?

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Old 02-20-2006, 01:00 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chopstix
I thought shrimps were generally smaller than prawns but I see prawns and shrimps of the same size being sold side by side. I've noticed that shrimps tend to shrink/shrivel so much more than prawns do after cooking. Can someone validate this? So what really is the difference between the two?
Usually, many places designate prawns as shrimp that still have the heads attached.
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Old 02-20-2006, 01:23 AM   #3
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I have also heard that the difference is that of size. However I have always just thought that shrimp was a term used almost exclusively in the Americas.
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Old 02-20-2006, 01:53 AM   #4
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there is no hard and fast answer. essentially, they are one and the same creature, (sub?)class malacostracan, order decapoda.
this order includes several multi-legged crustacea like crabs, lobsters, shrimps/prawns, crayfish, and woodlice.

the terms prawn and shrimp are used differently and interchangeably in various areas of the world, and it is difficult to nail down which is which, for the larger and smaller decapods.

so, the only difference is linguistic.
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Old 02-20-2006, 01:54 AM   #5
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Bucky... you're up very late tonight. Hope everything is ok. Nighty night. sleep well and dream sweet!
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Old 02-20-2006, 03:20 AM   #6
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Buckytom is correct. It just depends on where you are from. (eg: in India, all "shrimp" are called prawns, whereas in North American, "prawns" generally refers to large shrimp w/ the heads still on)

http://www.theepicentre.com/tip/shrimp.html

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Old 02-20-2006, 04:26 AM   #7
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In the US and Britain large shrimp are often called prawns. In India all shrimp are called prawns - which also seems to be the norm for Australia. In some parts of the world prawn is used to denote a fresh water shrimp - the word shrimp being reserved for it's salt water cousins. In other places - the words are used interchangeably for the same thing. I've gotten bags of dried shrimp from my local Asian market and some are labeled as shrimp, some as prawns, some as shrimp (prawns), and some as prawns (shrimp) - they were all smaller than my thumbnail so in that case size wasn't a factor.

One other critter worth mentioning, just for the fun of it, is the Dublin Bay Prawn. I ran across it after something someone somewhere else said that "shrimp scampi" was a redundant misnomer since scampi in Italian means shrimp - thus it translates to "shrimp shrimp". Actually - this may be a form of Italian truth in advertising - indicating you're getting a dish with large shrimp the size of a scampi. Dublin Bay prawn = Dublin prawn = langoustine = scampi = Norway lobster. Although they look similar to a large shrimp, but with prominent fore claws, they are in fact a small lobster.

Throwing off the commercial, culinary and cultural habit/linguistic confusions ... yes, there actually is a difference between prawns and shrimps biologically - which appears to be primarily the differences in the gills. Here is probably more information than you ever wanted to know about prawns, shrimps, and scampi / Norway lobster.

I would suggest that the next time you see prawns and shrimps of the same size being sold side by side and you want to know the difference - ask the person selling them. They will be able to tell you how they define the difference.
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Old 02-20-2006, 06:07 PM   #8
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Wow, thanks for all the answers. Especially to Michael of FtW!
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Old 02-20-2006, 08:21 PM   #9
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I remember when I was a little girl, and we drove to San Francisco to visit my aunt. We had dinner in China Town, and my favorite thing was the tempura fried prawns. They were better than shrimp, but I think it was the tempura batter that I liked so well...and the sweet & sour sauce.
I've heard from someone on the cooking channel...Bobby Flay, I think...is that the difference between the two is that the prawns are sold with the head on.
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Old 02-20-2006, 08:29 PM   #10
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****...i thought prawn were asian freshwater shrimp...HUGE!!!

i have a friend who raises them in ponds outside houston...

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