Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Mar 9, 2009 09:49 AM

Dry Sea Scallops in DC?

Looking for Dry Sea Scallops for cooking at home. Not the sloppy white ones swimming in some phospate (as referenced here -

Any suggestions much appreciated!


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Are you talking about conpoy? Those can be had at Chinese groceries.

    3 Replies
    1. re: dpan

      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

        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

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

      1. 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

          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. 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

            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

              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. 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.