HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Boiled lobster served with ketchup/catsup??

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. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. 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

      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

        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. 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. My college roommate used to eat raw oysters with ketchup.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ipsedixit

              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. 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

                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

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

                  1. re: kallis33

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

                    1. re: robgm

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

                      (South Park)

                      1. re: dude

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

                        1. re: Davwud

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

                    2. re: monavano

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

                      1. re: fara

                        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. 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. 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. 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

                          Oh yeah, England is a real culinary mecca !

                          1. re: TonyO

                            OH my - this response is mine.

                          2. re: Eat_Nopal

                            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

                              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. 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

                                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

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


                                  1. re: Gio

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

                                2. 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. 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

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

                                    2. Wow, that is just offensive.

                                      1. 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

                                          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.