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Feb 24, 2006 08:51 AM

Northern Lobster vs. Spiney Lobster. Which is your favourite ?.

  • b

I have just responded to a statement on The Chowhound Canadian page that Spiney Lobster is superior to Nothern Atlantic Lobster. I think Northern Atlantic Lobster is the winner in this debate. There is no comparison ! Of course I am from Nova Scotia. Maybe I am biased.
What does everyone else think?


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  1. Usually the debate is between the northern lobster and the spiney lobster of northern Europe (which is reputed to have more flavor than the northern lobster).

    6 Replies
    1. re: Karl S

      I'd take the spiny lobster from the mediterranean over a big northern lobster any day. To me, the flavor is more delicate. But spiny lobsters don't have big claws--in fact, I don't think they are lobsters at all, but a type of salt water crayfish (kind of like an oversized cigala/langoustine. In most languages, there are two completely different words for the two animals bogavante/langosta, homard/langouste, etc.

      1. re: butterfly

        I have been told that the female North Atlantic Lobster is sweeter and more tender than the male. hmmmm! Sounds like that should be true. A female lobster generally is wider in the upper dorsal tail region than a male of a similar size.

        1. re: BJ

          Are they allowed to harvest females? Here on the west coast with regard to Dungeness crab, only males can be taken. By doing so, it insures an ongoing supply every season. Don't want to sound ignorant, just wondering.

          1. re: Monty

            On the East Coast female lobsters may be trapped. The only restriction for both male and female is a minumum size. I think the carapace must be a little over three inches. It seems quite small to me. If anyone else knows more about this it would be nice to hear.

            1. re: BJ

              The lobstering regulations are state-specific. Here in Massachusetts, the minimum is currently 3-13/32 inches for commercial, 3-1/4 for recreational, with both having an upper limit of 5 inches. That's measured from the back of the eye socket to the back edge of the carapace. The commercial minimum was 3-3/8 last year and is slowly being increased to 3-1/2 inches by 2008. The weight of a minimum size lobster will vary, but typically is a bit under a pound. It's been too many years since I did some of my fisheries research on lobsters in Cape Cod Bay, but as I recall, the minimum length is very close to the size at which lobsters first spawn and the idea is to allow each to spawn at least once. I seem to remember that something like 80% of lobsters are caught - and therefore removed from the breeding population - in the same year they reach legal size.

              There's very little difference, if any, in the width of the abdomen between males and females. The only sure way to tell is to look at the first pair of swimmerets on the ventral side of the abdomen - they're soft and feathery (like the other swimmerets) on females, hard and calcified on males. I've never noticed any consistent flavor difference between the sexes - lobsters vary so much in flavor anyway I'm not sure how anyone could tell. I prefer females because I like the coral (immature eggs - black when raw, bright red when cooked).

              More on lobster (and other) fishing regulations in Massachusetts at link below.


          2. re: BJ

            I've always heard that about the females, too. Must be that extra tail meat--at least that's what we like to tell ourselves... I'm not sure what it is about the flavor of those big red Homarus americanus... but I find them almost nauseatingly rich/sweet. Oh well, more for Homer Simpson.

            But now I'm confused about what the term "spiny lobster" is referring to... Do some people call rock lobster (Panulirus argus )"spiny lobster"? If so, this is a different species from the "spiny lobster" in the mediterranean (Palinurus elephas). They certainly look and taste very different. I've seen other "spiny lobsters" from Asia that looked like yet another animal.

            I hate that the English language lacks precise terms for seafood!

      2. This is a case in which I don't think there is a winner, per se. The obvious presence of claws and what I find to be a superior texture make the Northern Lobster ideal for applications where the meat will be used to eat in chunks or slices...salads, chowders, soups, etc.
        On the other hand, I think the meat of the Spiney Lobster is a bit sweeter, though lacking in great texture. Therefore, it does better in applications where the meat is finely chopped or ground, such as ravioli, potstickers and the like.

        1. When I speak of spiney lobster I am referring to the crustaceans we catch here in Florida. The only part to eat is the tail which I find ( at least in a freshly caught lobster)to be sweeter and more flavorful than the Northern "Maine" lobster served in restaurants.

          1. f
            fai jay (fai jackson)

            To me it is apples and oranges. Two different animals and tastes. The taste of Nova Scotia Lobster at one of those Church Supper places, cannot be beaten. At the same time the taste of Joel Robuchon's Langousine Ravioli cannot be beaten either .

            1. There is no better lobster than the Homarus americanus from the cold waters of the North Atlantic.