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Bay Area Stores Carrying Gulf Shrimp?

I just came across an article in the NY Times that reminded me how much I love gulf shrimp, and how important it is to support the fishermen and fisherwomen there these days. Are there any stores in the Bay Area that carry fresh gulf shrimp? I am interested in restaurants serving gulf shrimp too, but my primary focus is finding a raw shrimp source so I can attempt Cooks Illustrated's and/or Mr. B's BBQ Shrimp recipes at home.

NY Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/17/us/....

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  1. the prospects of getting any gulf shrimp this year are nil...
    -shrimp buyers usually do so on contract (i.e. sysco), looks like sysco et al. canceled.
    -consumer concerns about food safety-shrimp
    -mexican shrimp season starts in a few weeks.
    -mexican shrimp is firmer and better eating, usually cheaper too.

    1. Even in the best of times, you won't find much fresh shrimp in the Bay Area. Exception, Monterey Spot Prawns...seasonal, very expensive and not that much better than Mexican shrimp, if you can find it. Remember that the time in packing, transit, storage and distribution has an effect on freshness. Realizing that very few diners can tell the difference, its a cost factor that controls.

      2 Replies
      1. re: OldTimer

        Hmmm...is Mexican shrimp really better then Spot prawns? Considering you can get live Spot prawns it's hard to compare in my view...unless you can get live Mexican prawns.

        1. re: ML8000

          lots of mexican shrimp, like all shrimp, is from aquaculture-farm raised. the mexican shrimp coming in first will be the wild shrimp, from the oceans. these are really tasty. the aquaculture shrimp is bland, full of chemicals, etc.....
          wild shrimp costs more aquaculture ones and less likely to show up in markets like 99 or chitown which are cost conscious.

      2. I'm pretty sure I've seen (and bought) large, fresh gulf shrimp at Tokyo Fish Market (in Berkeley) within the past few weeks. If I recall correctly, the price was $19.95 a pound. I'd call to double-check that they have them, though.

        They also carry the spot prawns, and I've seen those small Louisiana shrimp there as well.

        Tokyo Fish Market
        1220 San Pablo Ave, Albany, CA 94706

        1. I am fairly sure I've seen gulf shrimp at Falletti's. Also, shanghaikid, I played golf with a guy recently who sold seafood from the gulf in the bay area to top restaurants and retailers, and he stated that most of his customers were still buying the product.

          2 Replies
          1. re: mrs bacon

            I saw fresh gulf shrimp at Berk Bowl (Oregon St.) recently, don't remember the price. This morning, I saw spotted prawns at the Richmond Ranch 99, they were $15.99/lb. There's a fish market in Oakland chinatown on 8th st (north side of street, don't remember the name) between webster and Franklin, that's usually a dollar or 2 less than the Ranch.

            I do notice that the spotted prawns are smaller in genernal in the last couple of yeas

            1. re: mrs bacon

              I definitely saw Gulf Flounder at Falletti's on Sunday night, which I hadn't seen before. Looked like they were making an effort to support Gulf fishing, so they could have the shrimp/prawns too.

            2. Cactus Taqueria on College had a sign up this weekend saying that all of their shrimp is now from the gulf.

              3 Replies
              1. re: JasmineG

                But that does not mean that is domestically fished. Most of the gulf shrimp I see in restaurants using is Mexican.

                1. re: chefj

                  They specified Louisiana gulf shrimp.

              2. Unfortunately, shrimp does not come with a "made in" label. If it did, you might be shocked at how much of the shrimp in our markets and restaurants comes from Asia. China and Thailand dominate the shrimp market. I read that 75% of the world shrimp supply comes from Asia. Ecuador and Mexico are the big producers in the Western hemisphere. Gulf shrimp is such a small supply, and relatively more expensive, so it doesn't make it into the markets as often.

                There are a few different varieties of gulf shrimp (pink, brown, white, rock, and royal red). Your best bet is to order online from a company in the gulf so you can get the exact kind you want and know that it is coming from the source.

                This wiki article has some surprsing facts on worldwide shrimp farming if you want to see some details.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Shane Greenwood

                  The Gulf Shrimping season is OPEN (Mississippi) and the catch is up over last year!!!!!!

                  Nothing likeWild fresh Gulf Shrimp. They are nothing like the crappy stuff from Asia farm operations. Raised in questionable conditions, treated with lots of chemicals, fed who knows what and then packed by child labor.

                  1. re: ospreycove

                    I hope you don't think I was comparing the quality of gulf shrimp to imported. I'm not. My post is about the relative supply of shrimp and how most of it comes from other countries. My suggestion is to avoid the imported shrimp altogether. It's hard to tell in the markets and restaurants where the shrimp really comes from, but most likely we are eating Asian shrimp around here (and supporting the horrible practices you mention). I recommend online ordering directly from the gulf to be sure the OP is getting the real deal and supporting gulf business.

                    1. re: Shane Greenwood

                      Shane, Yes, I know you favor the Wild Gulf Shrimp, and for good reason. Another problem for the shrimpers now is; during the oil disaster Shrimp production was halted, so imports got more distribution and with the prices on the imports being lower it will be hard to get all the distribution back that switched over to farm raised. The Gulf Coast never had an easy life, but now it is more difficult.

                  2. re: Shane Greenwood

                    isn't it now a requirement for seafood to be labeled as to whether it's wild or farmed, as well as the place of origin?...

                    1. re: Dawgmommy

                      Daw...Yes, but once it is converted by the restaurant, the designation or origin disappears.

                      1. re: ospreycove

                        right.... I was referring to buying at a store. I usually don't order shrimp at a restaurant, because often you don't get enough shrimp for the price and I always figure that I can do as well on my own, especially some of the more straight forward preps.

                  3. if Gulf shrimp isn't readily available out here, it's not because of sourcing issues. I was in Tallahassee, FL last week and head-on 16-count shrimp from Apalachicola Bay were selling at 5.99/pound. Word is that the supply is especially abundant this year (high water temps. and above-normal rainfall aiding shrimp pop. in the marshes).

                    that stuff is a delicacy. i'd give up a lot of things for a steady supply of it out here. i've seen it at Whole Foods periodically, but about 3x the price of what I get right off the boat down in FL.

                    1. Ports Seafood usually has Louisiana shrimp.

                      Ports Seafood Inc.
                      1440 Bancroft Ave, San Francisco, CA

                      1 Reply