HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
What are you cooking today? Get great advice

Boiled lobster served with ketchup/catsup??

Morganna Aug 27, 2007 07:36 AM

I was watching a show I normally enjoy a great deal, Rick Stein's Food Heroes which is basically this chef/food writer going around the UK in search of fresh produce/meats/foods that are available to encourage people to explore their own regions and use fresh foods in cooking.

During one of these shows, he was talking about boiled lobster, can't remember the context exactly, but he said something about all it needs is butter to be delightful, but not served with ketchup, "Like the Americans do".

I was flabbergasted. I have never known anyone anywhere here in the US who served ketchup with their lobster (I've had lobster in Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Alaska, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, and probably some other places I'm not recalling). Not even cocktail sauce like you get some some shrimp cocktails was included in any lobster meal I've ever had.

This got me wondering... ARE there places in the US where they serve ketchup with lobster? Any of you ever heard of such?

  1. s
    shallots Aug 29, 2007 07:15 AM

    A British friend was shocked at the large size of some Gulf coast shrimp and kept calling them Langostinos and muttering that they'd be mistaken for lobsters in Britain.

    1 Reply
    1. re: shallots
      Morganna Aug 29, 2007 07:41 AM

      Mmmmm gulf shrimps. :) I saw something that Stein kept calling "langostines" that were being harvested from a loch in Scotland. They looked yummy, their front claws, and the uhm, well "arms" were a lot longer than any shrimp I've seen, even the big ole gulf ones.

    2. vvvindaloo Aug 28, 2007 10:21 PM

      Wow, that is just offensive.

      1. Emme Aug 28, 2007 08:33 PM

        I am one of these weird people that likes ketchup on just about EVERYTHING... eggs, cauliflower, broccoli, eggplant, chicken, blackened fish, steamed whole lobster (esp the claws which i prefer to the tail, which i basically eat just as a formality or pass over to a dining companion)... however, i would never insult a chef by asking for ketchup in a restaurant. If it happens to be on a table when my lobster arrives, I may clandestinely sneak a bit onto my plate, but I save that oddity for home generally. That said, it is MY food, and if I want to *ruin* the delicacy of my lobster claws, I take that as my perogative.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Emme
          Morganna Aug 29, 2007 06:03 AM

          There must be a cure for this disease!! ;)

        2. crosby_p Aug 28, 2007 08:30 AM

          Oh My!!! That's an easy way to ruin the delicate taste of lobster...the closest I've ever seen to that in the US is a local Irish Pub that serves a kind of remoulade-y sauce with its fish and chips. It actually works well!

          1. Morganna Aug 28, 2007 04:04 AM

            Just to be clear, he was talking about boiled lobster, not any sort of other dishes made with lobster like lobster rolls. He did not mention having been to any clam bakes or such, where you might see cocktail sauce served alongside for the shrimps, but I suppose that could be where he got the idea. :) I've been trying to find a way to just send him a polite email correcting that particular statement or asking where he got that idea, but I can't seem to find a way to contact him (not that I've really tried too terribly hard or anything). I just wondered if anyone else heard of some region in the US where such a thing was de rigeur (sp?). Thanks for all the comments! :) He probably was just joking and I missed the nuance (though I'm generally pretty good with British dry humor).

            3 Replies
            1. re: Morganna
              Eat_Nopal Aug 28, 2007 08:08 AM

              Not joking.... but hopefully somebody from Minnesota can weigh in.... because the few people that I have know that will put ketchup on everything were from that state... and told me everybody else does that as well.

              1. re: Morganna
                Gio Aug 28, 2007 09:01 AM

                If you would like to contact Rick Stein here's his info:


                1. re: Gio
                  Morganna Aug 29, 2007 06:41 AM

                  I sent off a nice and very polite "correction" to him via their online form. Thanks Gio. :)

              2. Eat_Nopal Aug 27, 2007 04:52 PM

                1) Salsa (albeit very bad adaptations) now outsell Ketchup as the preffered condiment in the U.S.... so maybe the stereotype should be updated across the pond?

                2) Ironically its Mexicans that tend to use ketchup with seafood a little more - its one of the ingredients in the most ubiquitous style of "ceviche" cocktail sauce. While Americans are probably more familiar with Mexican Shrimp Cocktails.... Mexican fishing villages where Spiny Lobster or Crab are more plentiful than shrimp will use them instead.

                The end result is much better than people would think... when thinking of ketchup & lobster.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Eat_Nopal
                  TonyO Aug 27, 2007 05:15 PM

                  Oh yeah, England is a real culinary mecca !

                  1. re: TonyO
                    Gio Aug 27, 2007 05:21 PM

                    OH my - this response is mine.

                  2. re: Eat_Nopal
                    Indy 67 Aug 28, 2007 04:56 AM

                    Based on our experience in Kilkenny, Ireland, salsa has already made it across the pond. However, if our encounter with salsa was typical, few Americans would recognize it.

                    We ordered a cheese plate in a pub in Kilkenny that included a delicious condiment I would call chutney. Later, talking about the varieties of cheese with the server, he kept referring to the chutney as "salsa."

                    1. re: Eat_Nopal
                      Veggo Aug 28, 2007 08:24 AM

                      EN, I'm laughing out loud at the visual of the ubiquitous Mexican Shrimp Coctail..little shrimp in a stew of ketchup, in the ubiquitous pudding glass. But ketchup on lobster? No crustacean should suffer such an ignominious ending, anywhere. And any perpetrator should have been smothered at birth. (to borrow a phrase from the east side of the pond)

                    2. foodiegrl Aug 27, 2007 04:45 PM

                      Growing up on the beaches of Washington State, we used to roast mussels right off the rocks with a dash of ketchup or cocktail sauce right from the bottle. Lobster, though- no way!

                      1. coll Aug 27, 2007 01:29 PM

                        The only thing I can think is that the fries on the side had ketchup: or else he's thinking of the cocktail sauce traditionally served with shrimp or oysters. I'm going to figure he wasn't talking about American/Maine lobster in the UK? I thought "local" would be rock lobster?

                        1. l
                          Loren3 Aug 27, 2007 11:43 AM

                          Maybe he means lobster rolls.

                          Ironically, pretty much every pub I've been to in England drenches everything in Marie Rose sauce - ketchup and mayo.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: Loren3
                            monavano Aug 27, 2007 11:54 AM

                            Ha! That was Thousand Island dressing when I was growing up. I still love to put that on iceberg lettuce. I guess that makes me "oh so American". Actally, dousing my mac and cheese with ketchup probably does it.


                            1. re: monavano
                              kallis33 Aug 27, 2007 01:09 PM

                              Actually, I've heard that ketchup on Kraft macaroni and cheese is common in Canada.

                              1. re: kallis33
                                robgm Aug 27, 2007 01:20 PM

                                it is and we actually call it (and the box is labeled "Kraft Dinner")

                                1. re: robgm
                                  dude Aug 27, 2007 01:22 PM

                                  So that IS what Terrance and Philip were talking about!!

                                  (South Park)

                                  1. re: dude
                                    robgm Aug 27, 2007 01:23 PM

                                    Kraft Dinner is a meal in itself or the like hamburger helper-a great base for comfort food

                                    1. re: Davwud
                                      monavano Aug 27, 2007 01:32 PM

                                      Wow, how intersting! Kraft Dinner, who knew? My husband dips grilled cheese in ketchup too.

                                2. re: monavano
                                  fara Aug 27, 2007 04:42 PM

                                  my Swedish roomate used to put ketchup on everything - grilled cheese, tomato-cream sauces with pasta!

                                  1. re: fara
                                    Megiac Aug 27, 2007 05:11 PM

                                    My in-laws are Swedish and I've eaten a lot of Swedish food, and I can promise that this was a habit that was specific to your roommate and not typical of Swedes in general.

                                    I love ketchup personally (has anybody read Jeffrey Steingarten's ode to it?), but putting it on lobster is just wrong.

                              2. ipsedixit Aug 27, 2007 11:38 AM

                                My college roommate used to eat raw oysters with ketchup.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                  Candy Aug 27, 2007 12:02 PM

                                  At my first oyster roast, I might have been 8-9, I was introduced to oysters with catsup and butter and a little oyster liquor. Tasted pretty doggone good to me. It don't know about now. Funny, but oyster roasts just aren't popular in Indiana.

                                2. monavano Aug 27, 2007 11:06 AM

                                  Remember when Micah on Top Chef 3 when she served (to the judges) her meatloaf with ketchup because "you Americans like to douse your food in ketchup" or something like that.
                                  Yeah, you don't want to go there...;-)


                                  1. e
                                    ESNY Aug 27, 2007 07:40 AM

                                    I'm sure its just a stereotype that American's put ketchup on everything, not a specific region that does that. Just like the belief that Canadians or Dutch put mayo on everything.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: ESNY
                                      Morganna Aug 27, 2007 08:24 AM

                                      Hrmph, I suppose. I suppose Rick Stein isn't really good at avoiding stereotypes, he does seem to talk in generalities on his show. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Maybe he was just joking, but it didn't seem like it. :)

                                      1. re: ESNY
                                        Candy Aug 27, 2007 08:25 AM

                                        I'm an American who likes mayo on just about anything, catsup I'm a little pickier about. I prefer mayo with my lobster rolls but I cannot fathom catsup. Maybe I'm just being narrow minded?

                                        1. re: ESNY
                                          coney with everything Aug 27, 2007 09:25 AM

                                          agree, esny

                                        Show Hidden Posts