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Sep 25, 2008 07:12 PM

Kitchen Nightmare 9/25 Maine vs Canadian Lobster?

Never heard this distinction before. Can someone shed some light?

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  1. I just got done watching this show too. I didn't think there was a huge difference in Maine and Canadian Lobster. I didn't think there was a diffference at all. The reaction from Gordan Ramsey was hilarious. I think it was over dramatized for television. That other owner with the leisure suit look was a scum bag, I thought changing ownership roles was a smart move,

    1. My understanding is that lobsters of the same species can taste somewhat different based upon where they are caught. This largely reflects regional water characteristics and the various food sources that the lobsters themselves feed on.

      1. Along with water temperature differences, there are also seasonal differences and weight restrictions. I find Prince Edward island lobster sweeter and more tender than NH and Maine lobster, but the PEI lobsters I've had have also always been smaller than legal catch in the states. Does anyone know follow up on the success/failure of the Black Pearl make over?

        1. I'm gonna jump in without having seeing the episode (although it sounds interesting enough).
          I don't think there's a difference either - especially with the broad stroke of "Maine vs Canadian". I mean, Maine BORDERS on Canada. If a specific lobster so chose, he could walk over the underwater "border" and could change from a Maine lobster to a Canadian or vice versa.

          Now, if you compare a Maine lobster to perhaps a Newfoundland lobster, or a cape cod lobster to a new brunswick puppy, perhaps there is room for argument - but I dunno.

          To my uneducated palate, lobsters from cape cod to maine to new brunswick to newfoundland to PEI pretty much taste the same.

          13 Replies
          1. re: porker

            Due to the counter (anti)clockwise water circulation of the Gulf of Maine and the fact that when the lobster eggs (berries on the underside of the tail) "hatch" and are spewed into the water, they flow and grow to the south. A lobster "born" in Nova Scotia waters will mature in Maine. The real question is harvesting policies and conservation. There is no such thing as a 5 lb. Maine lobster. There is a maximum size limit in Maine, but not in Canada. The big boys are the breeders and increase reproduction rates. The Maine harvest rates increase incrementally, but I understand that the Nova Scotia harvest is down and the response is shortening the season. The taste question,I feel, is moot.

            1. re: Passadumkeg

              "There is no such thing as a 5 lb. Maine lobster"

              Can't agree with that. ME Lobsters get a good bit larger than 5 pounds. Now if they are legal to catch or not is a seperate issue.

              1. re: Fritter

                Yea, I got a free dinner in Las Vegas when I had the download of Maine's lobster laws and presented them to the owner of the restaurant who had a sign in front advertising 5 lb Maine Lobsters. I asked him if it was false advertising. The place was right on the strip.

                1. re: Passadumkeg

                  LOL funny stuff!
                  This is the first year I can recall seeing so many live Canadian Lobsters here. I picked up four 1.25 Maines for Lobster rolls this past weekend ($5.99#) that were all soft shells.

                  1. re: Fritter

                    Fairway on long island has big ones for $5/lb. this week. 4-6 lb.

                    1. re: phantomdoc

                      It must suck for the Lobstermen but I'm doing my fair share for the lobster economy this season! :-)

                      1. re: Fritter

                        I have a student that we get lobsters from. Just before school ended, he gave me a yellow Post-it withe the title "Lobster Hot Line" and his cell and house phone nos. He has not charged me once this summer (My birthday in June, wife's in July, son in Aug.) He is so disgusted w/ the price he just mutters that it isn't worth it. Boat price last week was $2,25 /lb US. We had m jumbos at a local restaurant Sun. for $5 /lb restaurant price.
                        I have had enough lobsters in Maine, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, that I truly feel that any tase difference is in the cooking (under or over cooked) or hard shell vs soft shell. I can taste no national difference. On the other hand, where I live, used to be Quebec, so w/ the French (Our local lobsters come from Frenchman's Bay.) influence, Downeast Maine lobsters must taste better than Anglophone Canadian or southern Maine ones! (Joking of course)

                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                          Former Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau once said, regarding fishing rights on the Grand Banks "Fish swim". By that, he meant that fish that might spawn in Canadian waters will swim out to international waters and back many times. Who has the right to them, or the right to regulate their catch? It's a thorny issue, and hasn't been solved yet.

                          And my response to Ramsay is "lobsters swim". There's nothing to stop a Nova Scotia lobster swimming a few miles south, and suddenly become a "Maine" lobster. Ramsay was talking out of his rear orifice. I've had lobster in Maine and Nova Scotia and never noticed a difference in taste (price, yes, taste, no). I'd love to arrange a blind taste test just to show how full of it Ramsay is.

                          1. re: FrankD

                            Nationalism is a funny thing. Mainers look dwn their nose at lobbers further south and local lobstermen feel the Canadian lobsters are redder because of Canadian Gov't subsidies and accuse them of dumping and driving the price down. All tastes good to me!

                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                              Yep, my best friend lives in Portland, and when we visit, we either buy lobster from some place on the water in Portland, or he takes us up to Harraseeket (sp?) lunch near Freeport, and we chow down there. Maine or Canadian, I'm with you, it all tastes good!

                              On the other hand, my wife is from Asia, and when we visit, I find the southern lobsters, while huge, have nowhere near the sweetness or texture of our North American bugs. The only crustaceans I want to eat out of warm waters are crawfish.

                              1. re: FrankD

                                portland oregon ?never heard of west coast bugs

                                1. re: howlin

                                  I would assume Portland Maine.

                2. re: Fritter

                  People use the term "Maine Lobster" as a descriptor for Homarus Americanus - but as noted above, the species has a pretty broad range. If you've been served a 5lb "Maine" lobster, it may be that the vendor is not representing where it was harvested, but simpy that it's not a spiny lobster from the Carribean.

            2. Yup. Ramsay's wrong and there is no distinction other than marketing. I have blogged about it here: http://itcamefromthekitchen.blogspot....

              9 Replies
              1. re: Geoff394

                I thought Ramsay's major point was they advertised Maine lobster and they were from Canada. It was false advertising. Not legal.

                1. re: Janet

                  That was my impression while watching the episode last night. Calling a lobster Maine when it wasn't. At the beginning of the show, David (one of the owners) kept referring to the restaurants "Maine" inspired menu, decor, style...only to have Gordon challenge the source of their main ingredient. Anyone remember the recent CH post asking if what is advertised on the menu, should be what you receive on your plate....this show highlighted why. However, Gordon being the good old sport he is...purchased a lobster tank as part of the makeover and placed it front and center. Aside from the scripted nature of the show and that all the owners have to know going in what will happen during taping-some good points are made for the homeviewer as well as the owners.

                  Three owners must have been the "nightmare" part of this segment.

                  1. re: Janet

                    Right, remember when that annoying owner said he wouldn't put seasoning on a Maine lobster roll because it wouldn't be authentic? Go figure.

                    1. re: Janet

                      If that was Ramsay's point, he was wrong. Which is no surprise. Maine lobster is the most common common name for Homarus americanus. As another example, Dungeness crab doesn't have to come from Dungeness.

                      But I'm sure he thinks it's good fun to mislead viewers.

                    2. re: Geoff394

                      Actually, I would disagree, they are differences in taste depending on where and when a lobster was harvested. Since they are scavengers, their feeding habits will chnage the taste of the lobster. As a canadian I only eat canadian lobster, but specimens from rocky regions will differ in taste from sandy regions. Which is best is a debate I will not even to answer. (Nor will I get into the whole male VS female lobster debate!)

                      1. re: ScoobySnacks20

                        I don't think there are any lobsters in Maine or Canada from sandy regions. The lobbers stick to the rocks for protection. I worked 2 summers as a sternman on a lobster boat. Traps are always set on rocky bottom here. Did you read my above about NS lobster new borns floating the currents down to Maine. thank you very much.
                        There is an article in today's Bangor Daily News that the Maine Lobsterman's Assn. is getting certification for lobsters as a renewable resource?
                        I didn't see the show and don't know what it's about.
                        How about soft shell vs hard shell? Now that's a worth while discussion.
                        See ya around neighbor,

                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                          I can't vouch for the US, just saying that lobster from Iles-de-la-Madeleine live in and are trapped in sandy areas from the ocean dropping sediments on the coast, while Gaspesie lobster live in rocky areas.

                          The point is, the eating habits of the lobster will influence the taste, just like with most other natural foods (grass vs milk vs grain fed; wine terroir; raw-milk cheese).

                          1. re: ScoobySnacks20

                            Read The Secret Life of Lobsters and you will see why lobsters avoid sandy bottom.

                      2. re: Geoff394

                        The editing was confusing as it seemed to cut off Ramsay's comment, but if the restaurant was advertising one thing and selling another, he does have a point. The difference is between the marketing and industrial approaches of the two industries. Canadian lobsters are harvested younger and are smaller and tend to be sweater as a result.

                        This is mostly due to the fact that Canada has a much bigger coastline than Maine alone and with government subsidies, can more than afford to do it.

                        But if you happen to be in a restaurant in PEI or Halifax, you're likely to get a huge lobster and the tastes are indistinguishable.