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Sep 14, 2011 06:07 AM

Crawfish in Montreal???

Hi everyone!!

Does anyone know where I can get crawfish (preferably live) in Montreal?? I have also tried ordering online but most of them only ships inside US.. If anyone know where I can get these I would be extremely grateful!!!

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    you can buy them at They ship to Canada. I ordered from them a few years ago and had no complaints.

    17 Replies
    1. re: jonhall

      That link doesn't seem to work...don't know why, maybe this one:

      I ran a couple of restaurants for a few years and had a string of fish mongers. My standing order: if and when you have live crawdads, contact me ASAP and reserve some....over 20 years and zip, nada, goose egg, nothing, the BIG 0, dry, crickets.
      Norref had a kilo pouch of frozen bugs which were OK, but quite small. Other than that, not much in the way of crawfish. Some frozen tail meat also kicked around, but I wasn't interested.
      I remember years back when my folks bought a mess of crawfish. Lo and behold, they were St. Lawrence River bugs....

      I concur with jonhall, try American companies and see who will ship to MTL. Only thing is, they're seasonal and depending on who you talk to, you might or might not get live bugs. Frozen crawdads aren't bad. I know from a party standpoint, it just aint the same, but in a pinch, they'll do fine.
      I ordered live ones from Kyle Leblanc
      and had them shipped to Champlain NY (theres plenty of drop-ship places accepting any type of shipment in this burg - if'n need one, just shout).
      They MIGHT have shipped to Montreal, but were unsure, so we just made the trip to Champlain.
      Funny, last time a guy named Skoony showed us the shipping box and asked what it was.
      "60 pounds of crawfish." we answered.
      "60 pounds of CRAWFISH?"
      "Uh,... yeah."
      Imagine the northern NY state accent here
      "What're ya gonna do with 60 pounds of BAIT"
      "We're cooking them up, Louisianna style."
      "You're gonna eat 60 pounds of bait?"
      "Yessireee Bob Skoony!"
      Meanwhile, a woman with Quebec plates was loading what looked like boxes of shirts in her van. Skoony says "Hey mam, these guys are gonna cook 60 pounds of crawfish bait and eat it!". She looks at us, disgustingly, but I try my best to ease her and explain "Don't worry, they're kosher."

      Let us know your exploits!

      1. re: porker

        Oh yeah, FWIW, the Price Chopper in Champlain and Plattsburg carries them thawed and will also haul out 5 lb bags from the freezer if asked.
        They USED to be good, but about 4-5 years ago, the quality went downhill so much that I don't even bother anymore.

        1. re: porker

          Hey Porker, since you've had experience with the mud bug, if you purchase them live, are you not supposed to "purge" them for a day (maybe less), to allow their digestive tracts to empty? If so, how does one do this and must all live crawfish be purged?

          1. re: Haggisboy

            IMO, purging is optional so I'd say all live crawfish don't necessarily have to be purged. Just like cleaning shrimp, some people insist on removing the "vein", or digestive tract, or "shit track", call it what you will. Others like me, don't mind seeing or eating this.
            We never bother purging when cooking live ones and nobody seems to mind. They go from the sack to the boiling washtub.

            On purging, according to Kyle Leblanc,
            How to Purge (clean) Crawfish
            1. Take crawfish out of bag and place into ice chest.
            2. Fill ice chest with water. Let sit for 10-15 minutes (not longer).
            3. Pull plug in ice chest and let water drain. Spray off crawfish with garden hose.
            DO NOT let them sit in cold water for a long time or they will die!

      2. re: jonhall

        Yeah, I had added a period at the end of my sentence and they added it to the link. These guys ( la crawfish company) are great and I have ordered from them on more than one occasion. The only problem is, we aren't in crawfish season so you will have a very hard time finding them live. I too work in restaurants and asked for live crawfish all the time, the best I could get too was frozen tail meat. It worked in the restaurant for Jambalaya but when trying to do a crawfish boil, it doesn't cut it.

        1. re: jonhall

          I find the talk here of crawdad tail meat to be curious. Whenever I've seen shows on the Food Network where they visit some southern joint that features them, I've always heard it said that the tails and claws are a waste of time, and that the best eating is in the head and upper body. Folks just snap them in half and suck the head.

          1. re: Haggisboy

            The claws are a waste of time. Sure, when feasting on a pile of bugs, theres always a few that have seemingly gigantic claws, so you break them and dig out the meat. Still, you say to yourself, "it ain't worth it."
            The tails, well, they're worth it. Sure the head fat is tasty, but it isn't very much either, just an easy step in eating the crawdad
            They say "pinch the tail and suck the head"!

            1. re: porker

              I know they aren't crawfish, but on an episode of the Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Duff Goldman, of Ace of Cakes fame, raved about deep fried shrimp heads. Basically the part that gets tossed. Some bar/resto was making batches of these things and folks were scarfing them big time. I tried to find the video online, but no luck.

              1. re: Haggisboy

                I eat shrimp bodies when they're crispy enough - think Chinese salt&pepper shrimp. The heads seem dangerous. I like sucking the heads like crawfish, but that exoskeleton barbed sword ahead of their eyes seems kinda threatening...again, if crispy enough, I guess they'd be good.

            2. re: Haggisboy

              Haggisboy, I live in Texas and can assure you that the tails are always eaten, as that is where 90 percent of the meat is. Porker, you are leaving some good food on the table if you discard the large claws. We save them and eat them leftover a day or two later. As for the heads, I like putting some tail meat on un-buttered French bread, put a few tails on it, and squeezing the fat out of a few heads, kind off a mini crawfish po boy.

              1. re: James Cristinian

                I love the process of eating shellfish. Too many times I hear people saying stuff like "I don't like eating blue crab (or crawfish or sea snails etc etc) 'cause its too much work."
                For me, its part of the fun, digging and sucking the meat outta the small legs and bodies of blue crab, or crawfish.
                With that said, even I have a hard time finding the rewards from crawfish claws, but I see your point!

                Just curious, what brings you to the Montreal board?

                1. re: porker

                  I agree with you about the "too much work" part. Here in Houston, the blue crab has become "too much work" for the locals, and crawfish is king to the tone of I'm guessing 95/5 percent. Only our sizeable Asian, mostly Vietnamese, community still embraces the blue crab, plus crawfish as well. I came to the Montreal board by seeing this post on the discussion forum. I enjoy seeing what is going on in the rest of food world, and I'll chime in now and then if I think I can offer something to the topic. Back to crawfish and crabs, my wife is Hispanic and in her upbringing was taught to leave nothing to waste. She takes the crawfish claws to work for a tasty snack. There's actually a fair amount of meat in the claws, and they're nice and spicy cold, or heaten up. She gets every morsel of meat from crabs, crawfish, and lobster, where we've found the knuckles to be best. You should see her dismantle a chicken wing or breast.

                  1. re: James Cristinian

                    James and Porker:

                    A year ago I was taken to dinner by friends and for lack of choice I ended up ordering Alaskan King Crab legs. I asked one of my friends if she wanted to try one and was told that she didn't want anything to do with any shellfish that one had to "work" at getting the food out. I half heartedly agreed with her in that it was king crab legs. These bad boys are so common here that you can practically find them at gas stations (just kidding). Seriously, what do they do with the rest of the king crab? James, if you and your wife ever get the idea to move to a virgin territory and open a seafood resto, move to Montreal and open a place that features southern US food like crawdads, crab, catfish (not that Vietnamese stuff), whole belly fried clams, etc.

                    1. re: Haggisboy

                      Hiya Haggisboy,

                      I'm no expert, but I did open and operate 2 restaurants in 16 years. Your suggestion does sound appealing and did occur to me on several occasions. But I seriously feel for a successful restaurant you need to be in the right place at the right time. The foods you mention happen to be some of my favorites and sometimes its difficult to understand how they're not everyone's cup of tea. With that said, I dunno if Montreal will accept such a restaurant (is Montreal the right place? If yes is now the time?). My heart says yeah, its gotta work, but my mind tends to be a bit more skeptical.

                      Kinda like BBQ - Montreal could use a *real* BBQ joint (and I'd love to do one...), but I'm not sure of the bottom line.

                      And yeah, what do they do with the rest of the crab? Make dog food and fertilizer? I will say that when I've had KC legs, the bits of body meat were always a bit on the funky side. Was this the natural flavor (which I doubt) or because it is exposed during shipping and storage (not protected by the shell)? But shouldn't there be a hell of a lot of meat in there? Or does that go to the canner?

                      Blue crab seemed to be on the menu of most restaurants in Chinatown, now only a few. Even then, being on the menu doesn't mean its available. I'm wondering if its falling out of fashion even here...

                      1. re: porker

                        If you ever do a start up, drop me a line. I'll be glad to help out!!!

            3. re: jonhall

              Kyle Leblanc claims "The Only Crawfish Supplier to Offer Live and Boiled Crawfish Year Round!"
              I may put them to the test for my birthday in a couple of weeeks...

              1. re: porker

                Funny how this thread popped birthday is coming up and it might be high time for a Cajun theme...

          2. Just FYI,
            I tried a coupla companies, but they were out of stock. I called Kyle Leblanc and he has them (they're being shipped now along with crab and head-on shrimp for a weekend boil).
            Thing is, the only Canadian cities he ships to are out west (served by Southwest Airlines). I had them shipped to Champlain, jjust over the border.
            I asked Kyle why he had live crawdads year round when others don't. He has a HEAVY southern drawl and said "Well I been doing this longer than anyone else, just about 10 years before anybody, and I drop-ship from many, many places."

            16 Replies
            1. re: porker

              I was just looking at the Price chopper flyer from Plattsburgh New York , they have crawfish on sale 3Ibs for 8 dollars . Not sure if you can bring them over the border or not

              1. re: scratchyquncy

                "Oh yeah, FWIW, the Price Chopper in Champlain and Plattsburg carries them thawed and will also haul out 5 lb bags from the freezer if asked.
                They USED to be good, but about 4-5 years ago, the quality went downhill so much that I don't even bother anymore."
                -top of thread.

                bringing them across the border isn't a problem.
                I still have seafood boil smell on my hands from yesterday's feast. I'll post pics and a bit of a backstory soon.

              2. re: porker

       I ordered crawfish, crab, and head-on gulf shrimp. They send me the fed-ex tracking info. OK, one is originating from Houma, Louisianna. The other Lake Oswego, Oregon. Oregon?! WTF?!
                I google Lake Oswego crawfish. Lo and behold I discover the Tualatin Crawfish Festival
                the oldest crawfish festival in the US and in a perpetual fued with Breaux Bridge, Luisianna as crawfish capitol of the world...
                But are they gonna be good?
                I get Kyle on the phone and he says they're "deep lake crawfish, almost mini-lobsters, and good".
                OK so I had my heart set on Louisianna red bugs, I guess I'll have to see for myself.
                Picked them up Friday and had the boil yesterday.

                It was fantastic.
                2 washtubs over a roaring fire, seafood boil spices, live crawfish, crabs, head-on shrimp, corn on the cob, little red potatoes, and knackwurst, all thrown into the pot. Mrs. Porker made gumbolaya and jalapeno cornbread for good measure. The beer flowed like wine. We gorged.

                James Cristinian: these bugs are a different species than the Louisianna red, and some of their claws were impressive and well worth cracking. The meat came out intact, just like a Maine lobster claw. This was never the case with their red cousins where there really isn't much meat in the claws.

                  1. re: porker

                    You sir, are legend, and I had known where you live, I so would've crashed that party.

                    1. re: Haggisboy

                      Looks amazing! Hold frequent events until you feel it in your gut that it's the time for you to open shop! Count me in on your first event! ; )

                    2. re: porker

                      YOWZA! I bet you're LEGENDARY in your circle! Good stuff!

                      1. re: porker

                        Wow, I've only eaten crawfish once in my life, cooked and frozen from Ikea. We didn't even wait till they were completely thawed to eat them but they were delicious! They were tiny though. I'd love to do that myself but I bet it must have cost an arm and a leg, how much did it cost you total for the crawfish and shipping?

                        1. re: Chocolatesa

                          The entire shebang (40lbs crawfish, 10lbs crab, 8lbs shrimp, shipping, 10lb knackwurst, 30 corn, 10lb potatoes, the wife's gumbo, jalapeno corn bread, crab boil seasonings, 6l white wine, 4l red wine, dozens and dozens of beer, 4 desserts, coupla bottles of booze, liters of soda, cutlery, paper bowls, favors) was somewhat expensive, costing about $1000, or about $60 per person for 16 people. It could have fed at least 10 more and I made 2 crawfish pies and froze 4 freezer bags with leftovers, plus beer for about 2 months of poker nights...
                          Crawfish alone would be about 20-25% the total amount.
                          An arm and a leg is relative....It was my birthday, the experience priceless. (I do a crawfish boil 1-2 times per year sometimes with buddies, sometimes alone).

                          Cruise the web for suppliers;
                          as mentioned above and others
                 etc etc
                          You can get varying amounts of crawdads for different prices, and yeah, the shipping costs (overnight live) can give fright.
                          Just make sure of the shipping, if you need it shipped to Montreal, or are willing to make a cross-border pick-up.

                            1. re: porker

                              I used the people for my first crawfish boil in June at my sports bar in Oswego, NY. Charged $40 per person for crawfish(90#), shrimp(30#), and alligator meat(10#) for jambalaya. Ordered too much crawfish. The Louisiana people say to judge 3# of crawfish per person but I noticed that New Yorker's don't quite wolf them down like Louisianans. This company's product and service was great. Only problem is that they are only available in the spring(March-June). I highly recommend them.

                          1. re: porker

                            Haggis, kp, Jae, hungryann, and choco,
                            PM me and we can talk.

                            1. re: porker

                              Talk? If it's about finding crawfish here in Montreal I want in too lol

                              1. re: porker

                                At the expense of looking like a complete dolt, I don't know how to PM on this site.

                                1. re: Haggisboy

                                  How could you? Chowhound doesn't have a PM function.

                            2. The original comment has been removed
                              1. I had no idea crawfish got that big... I used to catch them in Lake Papineau by flipping over the rocks when I'd go on summer trips with my parents. They were never much bigger than the palm of my hand, if that.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: OliverB

                                  Yeah, I used to do the same just south of MTL in the St. Lawrence. Used to catch crawfish and salamanders. The crawfish are quite small, but they are a different species from the western white river crawfish or the southern red swamp mudbugs...

                                2. I have been told by a friend of mine that a new fishmonger on Harwood in Dorion just past the Premier Moisson has freshwater live crawfish for sale. I know they aren't the same as the ones from Louisiana but it might fill your fix. Unfortunately I don't have the name nor address of the place, only that it's on Harwood. Next time I drive by I'll see if I can get at least the name an address if someone else doesn't write it here first. Price was I believe $4.60/lbs and I you wanted large quantity to just give him a couple of days to get them. If anyone buys them before I write back, let me know how they are.