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Jan 2, 2012 12:21 PM

Shrimp: wierd, mothball-like taste

OK, admitedly, I've never eaten mothballs but this is the closest I can come to describing the taste and aftertaste of fresh shrimp from two different reputable purveyors (in Philadelphia) now. Has anyone else noticed anything like this, and if so, can you shed any light on it? Is it some kind of preservative?

I have done a google search without any info to speak of. My husband claims that he doesn't detect anything different, so I suppose it's possible that it's in my head... but I don't think so. Thanks in advance for any feedback!

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  1. I bought some shrimps from Philadelphia, but I am sure these shrimps from East-Asia, either China or Vietnam. Either way, I don't notice any mothball taste.... what does mothball taste like anyway? Never tried one.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      I don't know...Like I said, it's the best description I can come up with. This occurred twice in the past several months, but I did not notice this "off" taste with one source, so I guess I'll stick with them. Thanks for your response!

      1. re: 60s Girl

        Are these frozen shrimps? What form was the shrimps in when you bought them?

    2. Sometimes people will pour bleach in with the shrimp to keep them from turning... It is fairly common and pretty nasty...

      1 Reply
      1. re: Clarkafella

        That or the ammonia taste that can be found in bad shellfish

      2. sounds like iodine to me, which can also be intensified with sodium bisulfite as a preservative.

        1 Reply
        1. re: cocktailhour

          Yeah, iodine, is it a weird metallic taste?

        2. These were fresh shrimp purchased from a fish stand at Reading Terminal Market and also from a very reputable "natural foods-type" grocery store. They may have been previously frozen however... I don't know for sure as I didn't ask and they weren't identified as such.

          I suppose it could accurately be described as a wierd metalic taste, yes.

          So it could be bleach or iodine then? Is this becoming more common practice? I've never experienced it before!

          1. OK, I've tasted moth balls (please, no jokes about how I fit my nose between those little legs) when I was about 3 years old and got into my grandparents' coat closet. I thought, hey, if it smells so good, it must taste even better!
            One stomach pumping treatment later and I learned my lesson ;-)
            Having said that, I find the iodine that has become ever more present in shrimp to be distinctly different, but if you can describe it as "metallic", it's likely the source of the off taste.
            I've seen some of those shrimp at RTM with their lobster-like size! Is that what you bought?

            2 Replies
            1. re: monavano

              ramona, actually it NEVER would have even crossed my mind to make that joke. (poor thing, i think that moth ball ingestion did affect you!). LOL. oh great, now you made me think of "shweddy balls." schweddy moth balls. (thank goodness for chowhound. this is why mr. alka hates me being on here).

              1. re: alkapal

                I think I learned that joke about the same time as "say hi to your knee" and "spell I CUP". I did OK after the camphor extraction from my belly. My pretty dress, not so much.