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What's the story with the huge live prawns at the Little Tokyo Marketplace?

l
LL1 Apr 1, 2010 10:42 AM

What's the story with the huge live prawns I saw yesterday at the Little Tokyo Marketplace? They are about $25 a pound. The guy said you get approximately 7 for this price. How do I cook them? Are these the same as "spot prawns" I have read about?

Thanks!

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Little Tokyo Restaurant
150 E Bonita Ave, San Dimas, CA 91773

  1. b
    bulavinaka Apr 1, 2010 11:05 AM

    Not having a photo to work off of, and given the rough description and price/lb, I would think they are spot prawns. I picked up three pounds of spot prawns at 99 Ranch in San Gabriel about three weeks ago, and that was roughly the price and I think I had 22-23 prawns. Check out this wiki - is this what you saw?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spot_prawn

    If so, they are very fragile and must be prepared as soon as possible. I would suggest doing your homework first and getting all of your ducks lined up, and then heading down to purchase your spot prawns as close to the time that you plan on preparing them. Here's a piece by the always enjoyable Russ Parsons:

    http://www.21food.com/news/detail11181.html

    They're worth every penny if you truly appreciate fresh seafood. Here's a couple of recipes:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-fo-prawnrec4b-2008jun04,1,3419454.story
    http://www.latimes.com/theguide/la-fo...

    The key to this prawn is to keep its preparation simple. The flesh is so sweet and succulent, and the heads and shells I save to make a great shrimp stock. I later used this stock for shabu shabu.

    7 Replies
    1. re: bulavinaka
      l
      LL1 Apr 1, 2010 11:18 AM

      Yes, the wiki image you linked exactly what I saw, so I guess these are indeed the spot prawns I have read about. Thank you so much for the info and links.

      1. re: LL1
        b
        bulavinaka Apr 1, 2010 11:26 AM

        Russ Parsons had written about a very simple dish of spot prawns baked in salt which I believe he had at Providence. I'm sure there is even video of this piece. If you get a chance, seek these out. I could see in Mr. Parsons' face that he would have been crying tears of joy had this been a meal within the privacy of his own home.

        1. re: bulavinaka
          George Apr 1, 2010 12:28 PM

          the video of russ parsons and providence is here on this website, under chow videos, the category "The Perfect"--it is great to watch.

          1. re: George
            b
            bulavinaka Apr 1, 2010 12:32 PM

            Thanks - I truly enjoyed watching this. I couldn't remember where I saw it - it had to be the one that you mention.

          2. re: bulavinaka
            oakjoan Apr 1, 2010 01:26 PM

            Just watched the Parson's salt-baked shrimp video. He says "Ï hate to go all California wonky about this, but..." I totally agree that California wonkiness is called for when something is this good. The video made me want to go to Providence when I'm in L.A. next month.

        2. re: bulavinaka
          ipsedixit Apr 1, 2010 11:30 AM

          Deep fry the heads and eat them with a sauce made from soy sauce, diced garlic and srircha.

          1. re: ipsedixit
            b
            bulavinaka Apr 1, 2010 12:31 PM

            You're reminding me of Sea Harbour - that's the "Daily Double" and thanks for that rec there a while back...

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            Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant
            3939 N. Rosemead Blvd., Rosemead, CA 91770, USA

        3. l
          la2tokyo Apr 1, 2010 11:45 AM

          They are great with just a little olive oil and salt. My favorite way to cook them is to butterfly them through the bottom of the shell, without cutting all the way through to the top, split them open and grill them (shell side down). Do this with the head on. The shell gives them a great aroma. Drizzle a little bit of great olive oil and sea salt to finish. Don't over cook them - they will be terrible. This is essentially the same flavor as the dish at Providence, where they are roasted in salt and then served with a drizzle of olive oil. IMHO the grill makes them smell even better.

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