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Apr 14, 2012 05:51 AM

"Tiger" or "Rock" Shrimp in Austin???

I'm a Yank uprooted to TX by the Army and oh my god do I miss Tiger Shrimp! Every store I go to sells White or Gulf Shrimp. Does ANYONE know of a place that sells Tiger (Rock) Shrimp? Fresh or frozen, I don't care. I miss eating shrimp so much but Gulf shrimp tastes very weird if you didn't grow up on it.

Any help would be wonderful! Thank you!

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  1. I would just visit the Asian supermarkets like MT. Pretty sure they will carry Tiger Shrimp.

    1 Reply
    1. re: lixlix

      did try MT today with no luck. But I'll keep my eye out on other markets. It's going to be a slow process. I'm up in Ft Hood but we try to go down to Austin every two weeks or so and load up on good groceries (pickins are SLIM up here, lemme tell you! lol)

    2. If you're talking about Carolina rock shrimp, those are not the same as what you'll find labeled as tiger shrimp. Tiger shrimp are just regular soft shell shrimp (every time I've seen them). Rock shrimp have very tough, hard shells not unlike an armadillo - a cross between a shrimp and a langostino. They are practically never served with the shell on for that reason and most often sold shelled at retail.

      It's the only thing I miss about South Carolina - cheap rock shrimp (or any rock shrimp, for that matter). I have never seen them outside of the lower east coast states.

      Gulf shrimp usually taste like iodine/bleach to me. I'd rather eat stewed asparagus than gulf shrimp. I buy the 2lb bags of frozen Hill Country Fare shrimp which are consistently good. HEB can keep their fleet of shrimping boats. As long as they still carry these imported ones, then I'm fine.


      1 Reply
      1. re: sqwertz

        I fully agree about the taste! The first time I had it I thought it had gone bad! So I tried it again from a more reputable source...neither I our hubby could stomach more than two pieces. Must have thrown out nearly a pound of it. I've never cared for white shrimp. But it may be the best I can get if gulf shrimp is what passes for seafood in texas :(

        Thanks for the clarification. Part of my family is from SC so thats probably where I got confused. Been interchanging them since I was a kid. Lol

      2. Lamberts has something similar on their app menu. Looks like they are half price during happy hour so might be worth a shot.

        Beer Battered Florida Rock Shrimp

        Edit: didn't read the whole thread correctly so this may not apply

        14 Replies
        1. re: ssouth

          South carolina creek shrimp are lovely and unmatched in the gulf. I feel the same about chesapeake crabs

          1. re: slowcoooked

            I think folks would be surprised how many "chesapeake" crabs are actually from the gulf...and how many of their shrimp are from vietnamese farms.

            1. re: ieathereforeiam

              I will happily eat Vietnamese shrimp if it means it won't taste like they left it sitting in the sun for 3 days before soaking it in bleach to hide the smell.

              1. re: Snoochies

                hopefully these changes in Vietnamese shrimp farming don't alter the taste you crave.

                I'll happily defend gulf shrimp. Gulf waters always test way cleaner than the Ches. Bay. the murky waters mean lots of food for animals like shrimp to thrive on.

                I'd venture to guess that you just aren't going to the right places to get your shrimp.

                1. re: ieathereforeiam

                  So far, Central Market and Whole Foods... both were disgusting. If you've got recommendations I may give it a try again when I'm feeling adventurous and I don't mind throwing away some hard earned money.

                  Honestly, though, I think Texans are just used to the taste whereas those of us from other areas have had better and can taste the strange flavors in gulf shrimp. It's like the water up here at Ft Hood. Locals don't notice that it either tastes of dirt or sweat socks. But people who have just moved here ALWAYS comment on it.

              2. re: ieathereforeiam

                I'm much more discriminating. MY shrimp are from Cambodia and Thialand (last I looked). Hrmpf!

                -sw (nose in the air).

              3. re: slowcoooked

                awww! I know just what you mean. There are so many things I expected to find down here that would be equal to, if not better than, the things back home but so far I've been greatly disappointed :(

                There are a few gems mixed in the muck. But often I'm appalled at what gets good reviews or recommendations around here. It's like people just don't have anything better to compare it to, I guess...which just makes me sad.

                1. re: Snoochies

                  I hear you ieat but having lived on the eastern shore of maryland there is a difference but you are right most dont know it

                  1. re: slowcoooked

                    I'm with you. I think all my summer vacations in SC (and a year in boarding school in NC) have left me kind of snooty about my seafood. But (as evident by those who LOVE their gulf shrimp) some people just don't know the difference.

                  2. re: Snoochies

                    Indeed, what a bunch of backwards yokels we are.

                    1. re: brentwood

                      not saying anything of the sort... but if you don't know what you're missing, how can you know how much BETTER it is? if I grew up on Gulf shrimp, I'd probably think it was fine as well. But if you've had shrimp from elsewhere (on a regular basis) you'd certainly notice the difference on the first bite.

                      1. re: Snoochies

                        OK, I'm calling you out. You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. I'll meet you anywhere in town and have you do a blind taste test and tell me the difference between types of shrimp - you will lose. I've worked all up the east coast and have eaten in many fine places per diem. I'm also a supertaster deluxe. If you are in Killeen, then I'm sorry for you and your family and why you are there in the first place, but I bet you can't taste your way out of a paper bag - whether it be from trees on the east coast or in SE tx. You haven't even brought up crawfish. How do you feel about crawfish?

                        The best shrimp I have ever tasted in my life, consistently, were farmed shrimp from Thailand. Go figure.

                        1. re: rudeboy

                          so you admit the best shrimp you ever had wasn't even from the gulf yet you're defending the taste of it anyhow? I'm not saying I can tell the difference between EVERY KIND OF SHRIMP out there. What I'm saying is the bizarre flavor of gulf shrimp is disgusting to someone who hasn't been eating it their whole life.

                          And no, I'm not a fan of crawfish. It has its merits and I know plenty of people who love it. But it's not for me.

                          As for being a "super taster" kudos. I can only say I know my pallet and I do have trouble finding things that meet my standards since we moved. But shrimp and beef are EXTREMELY different down here in TX and it does take some getting used to. I was here for MONTHS trying to figure out why the texture and taste (and even the color) of beef was so different in TX. I even bought a "freezer pack" of 140lbs from a company based in Round Rock because it was finally beef that LOOKED like beef to me. Then someone told me I'm probably sensitive to the difference between corn and hay/wheat/grass fed cattle. Which makes total sense to me. The midwest is mostly corn fed cattle. So it got me thinking and I pulled out one of my round rock packs to see where it was from (I had just assumed it was TX since everyone here is such a fan of keeping it in TX). And come to find out it was from IL. So no wonder it tasted more like the beef I'm used to. It was from practically next door to where I came from. But I'm sure a Texan who moved up to the Midwest would think the beef there tastes strange... well at least someone who's sensitive to the differences.

                          Anyhow, my point is that I'm sure gulf shrimp tastes perfectly fine and "normal" to those who great up on it. But from those who come from other areas and aren't used to the strange taste, it's rather disgusting.

                          It's like an Aussie asking an American to try Vegimite or my european friends who get their hands on Oreos and think it's the most disgusting thing they've ever eaten. To me they taste fine cause I grew up on them. But to someone who's never had it, it really tastes like nasty sour chocolate and weird plasticy cream.

                2. re: ssouth

                  Rock shrimp are also found on the east side of Florida.

                  I just tried to do a menu search for "rock shrimp" in Austin but the is gone. That's one thing (the only thing) I used that site for was to search local menus. It had searchable menus (for the places that "subscribed" to them). The reviews were all shills, though.

                3. It's simple really. The flavor profile of any sea creature is affected greatly by the local environment in which it lives and eats. Probably more than shrimp and crabs oysters drive this point home. The cucumbery Hama Hama's taste a whole lot different than gulf oysters. I love all of them. South Carolina shrimp taste different than gulf shrimp, I've found none I've loved more than theirs (maybe Maine pinks).

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: slowcoooked

                    First of all, I am a local, born and bred, central Texan. I agree that fresh shrimp are hard to come by, especially after Katrina and Rita which devasted the shrimping industry. The best, freshest shrimp is in Rockport. Drive there for a weekend, go to the docks and buy them off the boats. Otherwise, we are an inland city area and you get what you can. You can't compare a 5 hour drive between Austin and the coast to living in Maryland or South Carolina. Some local restaurants do go down and buy off the boats, so keep reading and appreciate what we have in Austin! Sorry about the rant.

                    1. re: raisncains

                      I get it's an inland city. And I'm not expecting seafood to taste like it just came off the boat. But does it have to taste like it sat in a landfill?

                      Anyhow, I'm from Ohio. Pretty darn landlocked. Still, EVERY grocery store but one chain up there carries Tiger Shrimp. It's a standard in any seafood department. But here it's impossible to find. I'd happily take frozen tiger shrimp if I could find it. I don't care if it's fresh off a boat. I just don't want it tasting like strange chemicals.

                      1. re: Snoochies

                        Well, you've got us, Snoochies. Fact is, there's no shrimp (or barbecue, apparently) in Texas that can compare to that found in Ohio and Carolina. That's the reason for the huge exodus of food lovers and cooks from Texas to Ohio. We are sorry that you have been dragged away from the booming food scene back east, and we are sorry that we can't compare. As you're already noted, we just don't know any better. I'm sure it's not easy to conceal your superiority in a situation like this, but could you please just show us mercy?

                        1. re: gilintx

                          Actually, there's no great BBQ in Ohio either. lol. Never said there was. But I thought coming to TX, mecca of BBQ there would be a pretty darn good place on almost every corner. Like I said, I guess I just don't care for TX BBQ. It's not nearly as good (to me) as all the other regional BBQ I've had. And screw it, I manage to live with it. We've both sworn off TX BBQ for a while (till we get up the nerve to head down to Lockhart one day) and if that fails, we'll go back to making it ourselves. no harm, no foul.

                          But I would still REALLY love to find some Tiger Shrimp. I'm sorry but to an outsider, Gulf shrimp is REALLY weird. And I'm not the only one who's said that.

                          1. re: Snoochies

                            You keep saying Tiger shrimp when I think you really mean rock shrimp. There have been numerous articles lately on the fact that black cannibal tiger shrimp are invading the gulf and killing off the local shrimp. So in a few years if you really want Tiger shrimp that may be all you will be able to find around here. And I suspect that your beloved rock shrimp would taste just as disgusting to a Texan raised on gulf shrimp if that was all that was available, so it goes both ways.

                            1. re: danny_w

                              I fully agree. That's my point. Things that taste good to one person don't necessarily taste good to someone else. That's why I said "if you weren't raised on it it tastes really weird"

                  2. I haven't even thought about Rock Shrimp in years, but when I was a kid, we'd drive in to "town" from Lago Vista and bring a cooler especially for the Rock Shrimp from Quality Seafood. It seems like they didn't get them in very often so you might call ahead before making the trip.