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May 18, 2012 12:18 PM

Crawfish Boil in Toronto


I am desperate to do a crawfish boil, but I live in Toronto and apparently they are impossible to source.

I've spoken to some pretty good seafood vendors and they all say the same thing: they're too perishable, too bulky, and not profitable enough.

I am wondering two things:

1) Aside from shipping them personally from the States (which is super expensive), does anyone know where to get crawfish in/around the Toronto area? (there are crawfish in our lakes, but nobody seems to catch them....)

2) If I can't find crawfish, can I use Spot Prawns? What's the difference?

Thanks for your help

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  1. If you don't require fresh, Ikea sells frozen ones (crawfish are also popular in Scandinavia).

    4 Replies
    1. re: elrik

      Frozen eh!? That could work. Thanks for the tip!

      1. re: elrik

        Is it always available in IKEA?

        1. re: warlock

          Whenever I have looked through the freezers I have seen them, so I would assume so.

          1. re: elrik

            Yeah, Ikea has a lot of them. The problem is that they are usually very heavily dill flavoured (they are essentially pre seasoned), and also it comes from China...

      2. I actually saw live crawfish at T&T two weeks ago. It was the T&T in scarborough though (on Steeles Close to Markham rd).

        2 Replies
        1. re: sweetie

          Thanks! I checked the T&T at the lakeshore and they didn't have any. Will try Scarborough.

          1. re: TheWord

            The live Louisiana crawfish are all sold out now!! It was a steal at $4.99 per pound! Live spotted prawns are $19.99 per pound!!!

        2. Saw crawfish at First Choice Super Market on Kennedy about a week ago. Didn't buy them because they looked so-so.

          Personally I use large good quality shell on / de-veined shrimp (fresh or thaw frozen first). Turns out fantastic !!

          Just as important is the spice blend, andouille sausage, and cooking method. Tried many many spice blends and the Louisiana Fish Fry Products "Crawfish, Crab and Shrimp Boil" is the best. Spicier and with a little more nutmeg, mace, allspice than Zatarains or Old Bay. Good luck !

          16 Replies
          1. re: PoppiYYZ

            Big daddys in toronto is having their crawfish boil on the 31 of may I confirmed over fb

            1. re: PoppiYYZ

              Hi PoppiYYZ can you tell me where I can buy Louisiana Fish Fry products here in toronto? Much appreciated thanks

              1. re: ohbabybtk

                Ha ha,

                Well let me tell ya.

                I just got back from Florida and brought back a 4.5lb bag I got through Amazon for $6. I haven't been able to find it in Toronto, so you'll need to

                1) order it :


                2) contact the producer directly :



                3) barter with someone who has 4.5 lbs !

                Really though, they stuff is amazing. Awesome in a shrimp boil too. I'll post the full recipe and method if you like.

                1. re: ohbabybtk

                  also if you dont want to order from the states you can order it from this place in Vancouver.


                  1. re: youdonut

                    Thanks a bunch... and yeah I would love to try the recipe... thanks again!

                    1. re: ohbabybtk

                      I've seen some Zataran's seafood boil at Bruno's on Avenue in the past. Perhaps worth a try.


                      1. re: ohbabybtk

                        Serves 2 :

                        Fill a large stockpot, preferably fitted with a basket insert (or pasta strainer) with 4L water, 2 Bay Leaves, 10 whole peppercorns, 1T salt, 4T Louisiana Boil powder, 1 Lemon halved, 1 medium Onion quartered, 1 Celery stalk quartered, 1-2 Jalapeno Peppers halved, 3 cloves of Garlic halved, good dollop of butter, and 1.1 Beers (you know what to do with the remaining 0.9 of a beer ;-).

                        Be sure there is enough room left in the pot to accommodate the remaining ingredients.

                        Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, then
                        Add 4 medium Yukon gold potatoes and simmer 20 min.,
                        Add 2 smoked Andouille sausages, halved and simmer 5 min.,
                        Add 2 Corn on the Cobb, halved and simmer 5 min.,
                        Turn off heat, add 1lb thawed shell on shrimp, and cover for 15 min.

                        The 10/20/5/5/15 and JUST simmering is key to getting everything cooked just right. Strain, remove onion, celery, bay,... (if you want), and serve in a large covered bowl to keep warm.

                        Adjust to your liking. I usually add more hot peppers.

                        1. re: PoppiYYZ

                          Sounds like a great recipe... Thanks a bunch!! I got one question tho... The recipe calls for 4 tablespoon of the Louisiana powder for 4 litres of water ... Is that enough powder?

                          1. re: ohbabybtk

                            I taste the liquid before starting to add the rest of the ingredients. It should be quite salty & spicy, but you don't want to overpower the ingredients or everything will taste the same. Throwing some extra powder in won't hurt thought.

                            Try making a batch and adjust to your liking.

                          2. re: PoppiYYZ

                            I promise, I'm not making fun of you, but I had to laugh at this crawfish boil. Most crawfish boils I've been to start with something like 100 pounds of crawfish, and go up from there. BTW - throw some big, fat mushrooms in the pot, and they will soak up all the spice and be delicious!

                            1. re: arashall

                              Ha ha ha, No offense taken ! I have cut it down and multiply depending on the size of the group, but I make small batches A LOT since it is soooo good !

                              I just bought a beauty 17L SS pot so I can make a bigger single boil (and more tomato sauce too) !! :-D

                              1. re: arashall

                                The local HEB in your hometown, Houston, has 30 plus pound sacks of live crawfish for 5 bucks American. It's Tuesday and they're getting rid of the weekend stuff that didn't sell for 1.49 a pound.

                                1. re: James Cristinian

                                  Cruel, so cruel. Hard to type this with the key board soaked in tears....

                                  1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                    I hesitated posting this, I've been to your fair city and troll the boards. Crawfish is a big deal down here, but the season is winding down. Come on down next March-May, we have all sorts of mudbugs, and a sprawling Asian town where they put there own spin on the bugs.

                                    1. re: James Cristinian


                                      Coming to Austin soon and hoping to layover in Hosuton for a night or two.

                                      BTW, how do you cook 'em up ?

                                      1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                        First, I purge them in the sink several times in fresh water changing it every five minutes or so. I boil a max of 2 1/2 pounds a time in my smallish kitchen with a bag of crab boil, Zatarain's or whatever is handy, some loose crab boil, lots of cayenne and some salt. The mixture is spicy enough when you are sneezing beyond control. I boil 5 minutes and soak 15. I eat them in a non-traditional way, eating some tails straight, but mostly eat them on French bread, squeezing the fat from the head into the bread with the tails and dipping in the juice, maybe a little butter. Sometimes I use fresh flour tortillas for the crawfish, but lobster always some tortillas and butter for the ones not done straight.

                    2. For those who want this and just can't get it in TO, you need to schedule a trip to Chattanooga either immediately or next spring.
                      Champy's not only has the best Fried Chicken east of the Mississip but does what Mrs. Sippi described as THE BEST boil she's ever had.
                      It really was incredible.


                      18 Replies
                      1. re: Davwud

                        Big Daddy's Crab Shack and Bistro on King Street in downtown TO is boiling them this Thursday.

                        1. re: Danybear

                          Haven't been to BD's in about 10 years but when I used to go I very much enjoyed it.


                          1. re: Davwud

                            Ni-ayy-ce ! Mushrooms added too. (In your best Arte Johnson voice) Veeeery interesting...

                            1. re: PoppiYYZ

                              Mrs. Sippi thought they were an interesting and welcomed addition. Mushrooms can soak up flavour very well and as such, they were excellent.

                              I should do a full review here. The bugs were incredible. While I have no problem with the earthy taste they have, these ones were less so. Still had a nice "Crawfish" taste and for the most part, were pretty good size. The manager said that when they came in the owner commented that they looked great.
                              Almost equal to the bugs was the sausage. A basic Cajun sausage from the distributor it was throroughly tasty but I wish there was a few more pieces.
                              The shrooms were next best.
                              The taters were perfectly cooked. They held their form well and picked up a bit of the boil flavour.
                              Last and most definitely least is the corn. While it had a good corn taste this stuff is cooked "Southern style" (for veggies anyway) which is to say, to absolute death.


                              1. re: Davwud

                                Thanks DT. Little worried Shrooms will impart an unwelcome flavor in the boil, but I'll definitely give them a try next time.

                                That's the beauty of my 10/20/5/5/15 and JUST simmering. Taters are cooked perfectly and corn cooked just enough to pick up the seasoning.

                                My best boils are in Florida, not cause of the seafood, it's because of the excellent fresh Andouille available at a little sausage shop there. Haven't found anything in TO that comes close. Even bought some File powder with the thoughts of making my own.

                                Do you or anyone else know where to get good fresh, lightly smoked Andouille in TO ?

                                1. re: PoppiYYZ


                                  When I need andouille I use Village Sausage from the place I get my Kobassa. It is kinda the same thing but from a different part of the world. It works great for Jambalaya or Gumbo. Really, anything you would fry it in. I just chop, add Cajun Seasoning and it's a reasonable facsimile.

                                  Mushrooms may impart their own flavour but because they're kinda earthy anyway, that flavour may fit right in.
                                  I thought the interesting thing about this particular boil is it almost tasted like there was Jerk seasoning in it. Had a rather pronounced and enjoyable all spice hit.


                                    1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                      Yup. On Bloor near Jane.

                                      They now have a main place in Mississauga. It's a shame cause the moved the smoker over there and it used to be your walk in and the whole place would have that awesome smoke aroma. If you got there early enough your kobassa would still be warm.
                                      It's still by far the best I've had in the city


                                        1. re: Luvtooeat

                                          Where is Starsky's??

                                          I can tell you that my family has been buying from Kingsway for years and years.


                                            1. re: Luvtooeat

                                              My 94 year old Polish Uncle says Beach Road in Hamilton makes the best Kielbasa in Canada (next to his of course).

                                              I swear he eats Kielbasa every day. He's got some super hero FOXO3 genes though...

                                    2. re: Davwud

                                      Hey DT

                                      Tried the andouille from the Butcher Shoppe in a boil and it worked VERY well. Best I've found so far in TO.

                                      The andouille is vacpacked fully cooked, smoked, with a mild paprika cajun taste. Tasty eaten straight and will work great in any boil, gumbo, etc.

                                      1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                        Is it house made or an imported brand??


                                        1. re: Davwud

                                          All made and smoked in house. "Retail Outet" is around the north side at the back and is more like a loading dock than a store. Guy there told me they have over 100 people working there and the packed triple parked parking lot backs him up.

                                          They make a ton of stuff from sausages, pork, turkey... Got some Kielbasa and hot Italian too, but haven't tried 'em yet. Big chunk of Kielbasa, 4 Andouille, and about 8 Italian for 15 bucks.

                                          1. re: Davwud

                                            Tried the Andouille from Medium Rare Premium Meat Boutique in Etobicoke. Very spicy, relatively lean, coarse grain, and a pretty good sausage. Unfortunately, it tasted more like a hot Italian than an Andouille.

                                            Butcher Shoppes's Andouille is WAY better IMHO.

                                            1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                              Just to make the record complete, tried the andouille from Sausage King in the SLM. They said they didn't make it, but get it from someone in Hamilton. Quite good, fine texture, mild spiced, and slight smoke.

                                              Very similar to Butcher Shoppe's and even packed the same (vac packed unfrozen in fours). BS is still better, maybe just fresher.