Sources for crawfish
I love crawfish as much as any food known to mankind. However, I get little info on where restaurants and suppliers get their bugs from. Are they usually farmed down south or in asia. What do chowhounders know about the source of crawfish in NYC dining establishments? What are the safety concerns related to water pollution? I have heard various worrisome things, but conflicting reports cause confusion. ???
Funny coming across this thread...I bought a friend a gift certificate to Kyle Leblanc Crawfish (klcrawfishfarms.com...they're out of Raceland LA) for Xmas a year and a half ago. I started bugging him (no pun intended) a couple of weeks ago to cash that baby in.
So we called them up and ordered 50lbs, plus some boil, and had them shipped overnight to upstate New York
"Do you ship to Plattsburg International Airport...PBG?"
"Well, uhhh, lets us see...nope...I think only little itty bitty planes fly in there"
"OK what about Burlington?"
"Yep, we certane-ly do."
Instead, we had them Fedexed overnight to Champlain NY to a shipping depot, picked them up in the afternoon
"Whatcha got in the box?" the small town Champlain resident asks.
"Crawfish...you wanna see 'em"
We cut open the box to find a 40lb sack plus an extra 10 pounds of bugs crawling about.
"Why'dja have 50 pounds of that shipped here? And whattya gonna do with all that bait?"
"Its ain't BAIT, its crawfish, and we're gonna boil them up and eat them tommorrow!"
We then loaded up the trunk, promptly smuggled them into Canada, and had a Saturday afternoon feast boiled over a bon fire with plenty of beer. Ohhh boy.
BTW, Price Chopper used to carry pre-cooked, frozen bugs for $2.99/lb, sometimes on sale for $1.99, but being from China, went on their banned list. They now use American crawdads, selling at $5.99...
OK, I know this doesn't really answer your question, but since you love crawfish as much as any food known to mankind, I thought you'd appreciate our sources and efforts as well!
The things that non-CHs miss!!!
My husband and I had a conversation with a fish and game officer along the banks of a small river near where we lived decades ago in rural Missouri. As Louisiana natives we were thrilled to find out that we could catch crawfish there. Free food! Asking about the limit, we said that we could live with 40 "pounds" if we had only a few friends over. He looked at us kinda funny.
"Oh, no," he said, "Forty crawfish! What would you do with 40 pounds?"
He was shocked that we would actually EAT them and told us you could only catch them to use as BAIT.
Our brief dream of a crawfish boil was quickly dashed.
I was in Belize last year and went fishing with a local (along the sea, not freshwater). First thing he does is net some sardines for the day's bait.
"You know," I tell him half-heartedly, "if'n we don't catch anything, we can cook up the sardines."
He looks at me kinda funny like and says "I never saw anyone eat sardines before."
"They're pretty good grilled whole, over hot coals with a drizzle of oil and a smattering of garlic."
I'm trying to convince him that people pay upwards of $12-$15 for a plate of four in a classy tapas or Portuguese joint, but he ain't buying it!
Kinda like one man's garbage is another man's treasure...one man's bait is another man's tasty meal.
"Kinda like one man's garbage is another man's treasure...one man's bait is another man's tasty meal."
That's my DH's opinion about crawfish, or as he calls them "mudbugs." When he was a little boy they would tie a piece of bacon on a string and fish for them in the ditches, then give them to grandpa for bait. He still is totally amazed that I actually pay money to eat that "trash." Poor guy has no idea what he's missing! Of course I don't get mine out of a ditch, either!
If you are looking for crawfish, take a trip to Jersey the last weekend in May. There is a crawfish festival in Sussex County at the Fairgrounds. Two day festival, lots of New Orleans music and tons of crawfish, and only $8 a pound, much cheaper than the $15 a pound in NYC, although much more expensive than back home in NO.
Also, if you come across to Hoboken, there is a bar called Oddfellow's Rest, named after the cemetary in NO, that serves boiled crawfish on Tuesday nights, $9 a pound.
Thank you both. Unfortunately, my favorite cajun/creole place (there are not many in the NYC area) uses chinese crawfish. I assume they are contaminated, like all chinese seafood, thus I will no longer eat them. If this place would only use American bugs then I would gladly eat vast quantities of the little fellas. Any comments?
I was just in the crawfish capital of the world, Breaux Bridge, LA, this past weekend for the crawfish fest. I know they are farmed all over there as well as in other parts of LA and in MS where I now live. A couple of years ago when the area was suffering a shortage due to hurricane rita, many restaurants imported them from Spain, though I am not sure if it was the same in NYC. If you are in the NYC area, you may be interested in checking this out.
We order up 40#, to Wisconsin, every spring for a boil. Have always purchased through: http://www.crawfishcoofcentralflainc....
They've always be super helpful and chatty.
You might want to drop them a line or give them a ring with your question.
This past March I even quizzed the crawfish warehouse manager, Sal, about "burping" the mud bugs. He said that they have completely quit burping the farm-raised crawfish as the water has become so clean.
I took his advice and had no problems.
Hope that helps.