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Prawns that taste of prawn. London.

Robin Joy Feb 4, 2009 08:31 PM

The ones I have bought recently (Tesco & Waitrose) taste of virtually nothing and I would be grateful for any suggestions of a tastier source. I usually like quite large, raw, specimens suitable for Scampi Provencale or Prawn Curry. Fresh or frozen, but peeled if poss. To be fussy, City/SW is my daily routine.


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    medgirl RE: Robin Joy Feb 4, 2009 11:03 PM

    Try the See Woo Chinese supermarkets. In the freezer section, they stock boxes and bags of raw whole or headless peeled prawns of various sizes. I use them for cooking curries and think they taste good enough for the frozen variety. I buy all my Asian cooking ingredients from the Greenwich branch.
    There is a huge See Woo cash and carry in Greenwich but a smaller branch is located in the middle of Soho Chinatown.
    Please Google for the exact locations.

    1. zuriga1 RE: Robin Joy Feb 5, 2009 12:33 AM

      The only place I've seen prawns that looked decent were maybe Whole Foods or the Selfridge Food Hall. Of course, I don't shop that often for food in London. I'm sure those prawns were once frozen as is the case most everywhere.

      Like medgirl, I get my prawns from a Chinese supermarket Wing Yip) - large bags and, although not the best choice, they do the job when I want to use prawns. Even what they call 'tiger prawns' are half the size of others I've seen here or in the States. I hate the idea of using frozen prawns, but it's better than nothing.

      Is there anywhere in London that sells fresh (never frozen) prawns? I'd love to know if there is.

      2 Replies
      1. re: zuriga1
        themags RE: zuriga1 Feb 6, 2009 01:27 AM

        Steve Hatt, fishmonger on Essex Road, Islington has beautiful prawns (and langoustines and any other fish/seafood/shellfish you might desire!) Their tuna is so fresh that I make sashimi at home.

        1. re: zuriga1
          bleep75 RE: zuriga1 Feb 8, 2009 02:59 AM

          There is a chines fishmongers on shaftesbury avenue that does fresh prawns - have used them but its not as good as the expensive borough market ones. I can't remember the name but is towards picadilly circus end on near where thriller in on.

        2. Peg RE: Robin Joy Feb 5, 2009 12:33 AM

          I find with supermarket prawns that the small 'local' ones have much more flavour than the big oriental imports. They may not look as fancy, but the taste is far superior.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Peg
            Robin Joy RE: Peg Feb 5, 2009 05:44 AM

            Thanks for thoughts.

            I used to go to the Chinese shops in Lisle St. quite often, so as soon as the weather allows me to get back on my motorbike I'll try their prawn offerings. I won't pay Borough prices, although my office is only 5 mins. walk away so it's very tempting!

            I agree Peg, the smaller ones often taste quite good, but I'm not sure about them in Scamp. Prov. and I only ever see them available cooked.

          2. greedygirl RE: Robin Joy Feb 5, 2009 09:07 AM

            I stock up in Lidl when they do the bags of headless, raw frozen prawns but they're only available intermittently.

            Otherwise I go to the Chinese supermarket in Brixton, Wing Tai, for both fresh and frozen prawns, or Mash & Son which is a great fishmonger, also in Brixton.

            Are you sure that the fish stall in the middle of Borough (the one that also sells game) is that expensive? I've always found it to be quite competitive, bearing in mind that good-quality fish is never cheap.

            5 Replies
            1. re: greedygirl
              Robin Joy RE: greedygirl Feb 5, 2009 10:02 AM

              Monkfish: Tesco £20/Kg....Waitrose £25....Horrids £32.....Borough £38.

              Do the Lidl or Chinese prawns actually taste of anything though? That's what my question is about.

              1. re: Robin Joy
                greedygirl RE: Robin Joy Feb 5, 2009 10:15 AM

                I wouldn't have recommended them otherwise.

                1. re: greedygirl
                  Robin Joy RE: greedygirl Feb 5, 2009 10:22 AM

                  Lovely. Thanks. I didn't mean to sound crabby, but my kind respondants have told me where to buy prawns, not what they're like, so I just thought I'd ask.

                  1. re: Robin Joy
                    medgirl RE: Robin Joy Feb 5, 2009 11:15 AM

                    If the prawns are going to be cooked in a dish with fairly strong flavours, like a curry, then the frozen raw ones are fine. If the prawns are going to be done really plain, like grilled/panfried with minimal condiments, then one has to go for the really fresh live ones.
                    When I was a girl in Calcutta, my dad used to buy these huge live prawns from the local fish market and my mum would steam them in a paste of coconut, mustard and poppy seeds with green chilies. Yum!

                2. re: Robin Joy
                  zuriga1 RE: Robin Joy Feb 5, 2009 10:31 AM

                  I think the 'Chinese' prawns are actually from Singapore or that area. They are not the best tasting, but they at least taste like a sea creature. My husband likes the frozen squid.....comes in different sizes as do the prawns. Nothing is as good as fresh fish, but this makes an OK substitute.

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