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Dry Sea Scallops in DC?

bigriver444 Mar 9, 2009 09:49 AM

Looking for Dry Sea Scallops for cooking at home. Not the sloppy white ones swimming in some phospate (as referenced here - http://www.chow.com/general_topics_di...).

Any suggestions much appreciated!


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  1. d
    dpan RE: bigriver444 Mar 9, 2009 09:53 AM

    Are you talking about conpoy? Those can be had at Chinese groceries.

    3 Replies
    1. re: dpan
      bigriver444 RE: dpan Mar 9, 2009 10:11 AM

      Just looking for North Atlantic Sea Scallops that haven't been treated with tripolyphosphate (what you see in the supermarket). They aren't as wet and can be seared better. Don't know about Conpoy but I'll check them out. Thanks!

      1. re: bigriver444
        deangold RE: bigriver444 Mar 9, 2009 09:23 PM

        More commonly referred to as dry packed scallops. They will still ahve juice but not be inflated with water like the TSP treated ones. Funny its hard to get TSP as a cleaning product (as it sould be), but it is available in our food supply!

        1. re: deangold
          dpan RE: deangold Mar 10, 2009 07:24 AM

          Now I know what to do with that box of TSP I have in the basement.

    2. chowser RE: bigriver444 Mar 9, 2009 10:22 AM

      Whole Foods carries them.

      1 Reply
      1. re: chowser
        bigriver444 RE: chowser Mar 9, 2009 10:25 AM

        Awesome - thanks!

      2. m
        mjhals RE: bigriver444 Mar 9, 2009 10:26 AM

        I'm in search of scallops myself this weekend, previously saw some amazing-looking ones at the fisher counter at Eastern Market, but didn't look close to see if they were treated with tripo-whatyousaid. I'm going back on Sunday to pick some up for dinner if you can wait that long for an answer. They were huge!

        1 Reply
        1. re: mjhals
          mjhals RE: mjhals Mar 16, 2009 05:33 AM

          Ok, I did go back to EM this weekend and actually bought the scallops- amazing! They are described on the placard as "dry", and you can tell when you touch them that it's true. When I got home and unwrapped them, there was no juice running out of the package. And when you touch them, they are actually dry and sticky. The seared wonderfully and had a perfect, sweet flavor and firm texture. The best I've had, highly recommend.

        2. c
          cfoodie RE: bigriver444 Mar 10, 2009 03:36 PM

          Good question. I'd like to know the answer.
          First, the Chinese ConPoy are dry hard scallops, supposedly from Japan. They come in two sizes, nickle and >quarter sized. Harder to find the quarter sized ones that I grew up with. Nowadays, one doesn't even know the exact country of origin of the stuff in the shops. I buy them when I visit reputable sources in Asia (and still am not sure) as I don't take chances with stuff from China.

          As I believe the question is about dry fresh scallops, it's almost like the question I had about looking for a good seafood place when I moved here 6 months ago. So far, I can say that Whole foods supposedly has them, they say that they are dry, but it doesn't feel so. They are not the translucent yellow/off white that it should. Mostly they are opaque and white. I did see a few good batches once in a while. I thought at least the bays looked dry, but had lots of water running when I cooked them. River Falls seafood has semi dry scallops in my opinion (they say it's dry but there is some seawater in there during harvesting - that would make it not dry right?) Camerons "say" they have dry scallops. Not sure, never seen anything except sea scallops. I would not buy anything other than live crabs in Maine street market. Never checked out Black Salt, or Eastern market, so I'll have to give you the report on that later. There is a crab place in Baltimore where you can mail order dry scallops but I don't know the quality. Try google.

          In summary, if you find a consistent dry scallop place, please let me know.

          2 Replies
          1. re: cfoodie
            tbw RE: cfoodie Apr 17, 2009 01:25 PM

            As a former commercial fisherman from Pt Judith, RI, here's my take on the scallop discussion:

            Excepting those vessels that freeze their product at sea, all sea scallops are packed "dry" on the boat. Scallops are brought aboard via dredge or net, shucked by hand, then packed in cotton bags holding about 40 lbs each. The bags are then placed in the fish hold, stacked along side and atop of another in pens holding 1-3000 lbs each and iced down. Bags from the top of the pen are always in the best condition and are sometimes sold as the "top of the trip", and on occasion, sold as "day boat". This isn't to say that real "day boat" scallops don't exist.

            After 6-10 days, boats head back to port and unload. Each bag is weighed and usually sold to a processors. Some buyers soak them in TSP to increase the weight and profits, some don't. As noted by another poster, unsoaked scallops (dry) will be sticky to the touch.

            Both previously frozen scallops and soaked scallops will exude the milky liquid sometimes seen at a market.

            Sea (and bay) scallops range in color from orange to milky white and color isn't always a good indicator of freshness. A fresh scallop eye should be shiny, fairly perky and have a nice sea-like smell to it.

            1. re: tbw
              cfoodie RE: tbw Apr 18, 2009 06:33 PM

              Thanks for the information. I guess the stuff I am eating is 2 weeks old by now.
              I wonder where locally to get "day boat scallops" directly from the fisherman. Also, where can I get scallops in the shell?

          2. b
            bacchante RE: bigriver444 Mar 16, 2009 01:22 PM

            Try Black Salt Market. They have large "diver" or "day boat" scallops that look pretty dry to me and sear very well. I do add a quick dusting of paprika or cayenne before searing to get a darker color. I can't verify that they aren't treated, and the sign doesn't specify "dry" or "dry packed," but just ask them. They are always pretty sweet and succulent (the scallops, not the fish monger, although they are nice, too).

            However, if they have them get the Nantucket bay scallops instead while they are still in season. They could be served for dessert.

            1. c
              cfoodie RE: bigriver444 Apr 10, 2009 11:29 AM

              Finally we made it to the fish market at eastern market. The fish selection was excellent. The scallops were dry. The freshness, not top, but still not bad. We liked what we saw.

              8 Replies
              1. re: cfoodie
                hill food RE: cfoodie Apr 11, 2009 06:00 PM

                Thursday or Friday is the best day to hit them,

                1. re: hill food
                  cfoodie RE: hill food Apr 13, 2009 10:08 AM

                  Guess I'll go again this Friday.

                  1. re: cfoodie
                    hill food RE: cfoodie Apr 13, 2009 04:08 PM

                    I can't remember if their big delivery is Wed. or Thurs.

                    1. re: cfoodie
                      hill food RE: cfoodie Apr 16, 2009 07:17 PM

                      cfoodie: I just glanced today at EM and they're on the small side this week (pinkish yellow), but they do have baby octopus if you're into that.

                      1. re: hill food
                        cfoodie RE: hill food Apr 18, 2009 06:41 PM

                        I will stop going to eastern market. The fish quality has been inconsistent, even for someone who is keen on spotting rotten fish. I went there today, most of the fillets were super market quality (or not fresh at all). The "boss wasn't there as I wasn't happy driving down from Rockville for this garbage. I bought one of the maybe 3 fish fillets that were fresh (wild salmon), went home washed and cooked it and it tasted like floor cleaning detergent (the lysol smell, but the commercial kind). My hypothesis is that it got dropped on the floor, not washed, so the floor cleaner soaked in. The scallops were mixed fresh and non (and it's like that for the two visits this week). They had very poor service. I wanted to see the whole fish at 430, and they didn't even bother to take the 30 seconds to uncover the paper to show them to me.

                        I will be going down to whole foods. This place has fish varieties, but the stuff is inconsistently fresh and the employees don't give a damn when the boss isn't around.

                        1. re: cfoodie
                          hill food RE: cfoodie Apr 19, 2009 01:55 AM

                          EM can be hit or miss. at least they got rid of the clerk that would short-change and then go "on break" while you were counting it.

                          but yes one has to be insistent.

                          1. re: hill food
                            cfoodie RE: hill food Apr 19, 2009 10:55 AM

                            That is not cool for a store like that. Well, I've concluded that it's not worth the hassel and head to the Whole Foods nearby.

                            1. re: cfoodie
                              hill food RE: cfoodie Apr 19, 2009 09:28 PM

                              I didn't realize you're coming down all the way from Rockville, I'd imagine you can find what you seek closer to home.

                              as much as I love the market, I never go in with a preconceived idea of what I might buy and never hesitate to ask questions.

                              so yeah, I wouldn't cross the region for a specific item unless it was a little more shelf-stable.

                2. g
                  gafferx RE: bigriver444 Apr 13, 2009 04:28 PM

                  Costco only carries the dry. Frozen but dry. I despise the phosphate it sickens me


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: gafferx
                    Sorceress RE: gafferx Sep 29, 2010 09:34 AM

                    This is where I get my dry scallops. Costco. I've never been disappointed. I purchased the nasty phosphate scallops from Giant once and was disgusted. I prefer to sear my scallops and this icky crust of salt formed on the top of them. They are inedible. In fact, I don't know why stores even bother selling the phosphate variety. I don't see how anyone could eat them.

                  2. m
                    Maryland Crab RE: bigriver444 Sep 29, 2010 07:27 PM

                    If you are in Rockville just go to Balducci's on Old Georgetown Pike. Just had dry pack scallops tonight and they normally have them along with bay scallops. We buy them there quite often and have never been burned yet.

                    10323 Old Georgetown Rd, Bethesda, MD 20814

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