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2AM Fresh Shrimp run at Peach Farm

Happy New Year, 'hounds!

Had the munchies last night, so I drove down to Chinatown at around 2AM, seeking some nice crispy dry-fried salt and pepper shrimp. I was in for a treat, because the friendly waiter at Peach Farm showed me some nice HUGE live prawns he had, a deep glistening crystal grey colour. Approximately the same price as the frozen shrimp, he claimed!

These boys were large, reminding me of the mini-lobster Langostinos I'd occasionaly encounter in an opulant paella when I lived in southern Spain. Very lively and active, too, which is a good sign. No funky smells.

He fished them out of the tank, and five minutes later I received a platter of lovely reddish golden whole shrimp. Salt and pepper "dry fried" is easily one of my favorite methods of preparing seafood. Its simplicity in seasoning doesn't detract from the subtlety of fresh seafood flavor, and the jalapenos provide a nice pungent after-kick.

I think Peach Farm generally does a great job at frying seafood, though I sort of wish last night's dish were fried a tad bit longer. The (frozen) shrimp I've had in the past at Peach Farm were much smaller, though expertly fried so I could pop the suckers whole, crunching through the shells. These were the only shrimp I could tolerate eating whole. They are friend long enough that the entire shrimp is basically a crispy "puff". I think because of the massive size of last night's shrimp, though, they could have stayed in the fryer a bit longer. Still flavorful and delicious, though.

Supplemented this with a Fu Chow style fried rice, which was simple and nice - slightly gloppy sauce containing chopped bay scallops and chicken.

Overall, an excellent reason to be up late and hungry in Boston.

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  1. Prav, Those sound awesome. Can I ask a potential dumb question? We get some type of fried shrimp at dim sum all the time. You know the kind, with the heads still on. We just chomp through the shells and eat the whole thing. (Okay, some of us pull off the heads with the little beady black eyes, but I digress.)

    But when I was in China, the locals pop the whole shrimp in, and then I saw them expertly deposit the shells. First of all, the heck can you do that? Maybe I'm not talented enough to separate them while I'm chewing on it. And would anyone know if I'm completely in the wrong by eating the whole thing shell and all?

    2 Replies
    1. re: fullbelly

      Yikes, now you've created doubts within me, too! I've always seen other diners at Peach Farm chomp away on the entire things - I guess if they're well done/crispy enough, the exoskeleton texture isn't offputting. Good question!

      Anyone know if there's any special way that S&P Shrimp is intended to be chowed upon?

      1. re: fullbelly

        I go back and forth -- sometimes I eat the whole thing and other times (especially if they have super googly eyes) I'll twist the head off and eat the rest. I'll be interested in the answer to your question, too.

        And prav, nice post. I was with you there in spirit.

      2. I have tried to eat them whole at dimsum and just dont like the texture of all the sharp shell parts. So i then end up peeling them which is 1) too much work and 2) peels off all the nice seasoning/flavor. So now i just dont get them.

        I once watched a chinese couple at a table next to us. The elderly man was eating them whole, his wife was twisting off the heads and putting them aside. Then at the end, he ate all her heads!

        1. The steamed shrimp are also really tasty. Plus, the dipping sauce is excellent. These are usually the shrimp from the tanks, not the frozen ones.

          1. I'll second the steamed shrimp. My friend and I polished off a pound of these at lunch one day. I peeled these just as I would cocktail shrimp.

            I agree with hargau, I've tried eating s&p shrimp several times with the shell (I remove the head) and I just don't really care for the texture. The shells usually end up lodged in my teeth and it's just a pain to peel them. If I crave something salt and pepper fried now, I order the calimari, which I tend to think asian restaurants do better than most places anyway.

            1. the s&p shrimp at peach farm are my most favorite thing to eat in the city. i prefer fresh out of the tank, but the frozen are delicious too.

              i'm one to eat the whole thing - shell, eyeballs and all :-)

              1. s&p shrimp is one of my favorites since childhood. definitely try the s&p squid.

                i like taking the head off (have never been a fan of the head - the contents are too mushy for me) and eating the shrimp shell and all. all of the flavor gets baked into the shell - if the shrimp is fried well then the shell becomes more of a crispy coating instead of hard armour for the shrimp.

                i think that the s&p shrimp at dim sum isn't as good - freshly cooked and prepared is the best!

                1. Not that this is at all the way to do it, but I eat the whole darn thing - heads and all. And yes, I am one of those people that will eat other people's shrimp heads.

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: gini

                      If the frying is expert enough, the heads should be really crispy and definitely edible. I especially loved nibbling on the shrimp antennae.

                      For steamed shrimp, it's typical to crush the heads in the mouth to get all the juices out and then spit out the shell.

                    2. About the cripy shells of shrimp: an excellent natural calcium supply for your diet instead of chalky Calcium pills!

                      About the shrimp head: it's juicy and most of time it has orangy egg-roe stuff in it. Delicious, but probably it's the reason why shrimp is relatively higher in cholesterol(sorry to spoil the fun for shrimp head gourmands).

                      For those who enjoy the shrimp heads, make sure to crunch some shells along--positive and negetive nutritional scores cancelling out each other.

                      Enjoy the S&P shrimp (I love the name)to your heart's content!