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Do You Serve Shrimp With Tail Shells On?

I can't stand this "accepted" method of serving shrimp, it just seems like a really rude thing to do--making the guests go digging and maneuvering around, or leaving a perfectly nice last bite of shrimp on their plate.

Any thoughts???

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  1. No tails in my house. Tales, but no tails.

    1. Tails if appetizers/fingerfood like shrimp cocktail, but never tails if they are incorporated into a dish. I have read here that many people actually enjoy eating the tails.....

      4 Replies
          1. re: coll

            Lol, re: Eating the tail... for years, I've seen my husband do this. I tried a few weeks ago, liked it!

            1. re: tamagoji

              Yes, I frequently eat shell-on shrimp tails myself sometimes. It depends on how tender they are, as the texture can vary.

          2. Evidently, your guests don't know how to eat shrimp. One gently pinches the tail where it surrounds the last morsel of meat, while gripping the exposed meat with the teeth and pulling gently. The whole thing pops out intact. No "digging" or "maneuvering."

            8 Replies
            1. re: GH1618

              I do not serve shrimp with the tails on--ever!

              1. re: KSlink

                I believe you already made that clear.

                1. re: KSlink

                  Make sure you NEVER eat a Chinese dish with shrimp EVER AGAIN.

                  Your personal preference is your personal preference - it is not "RUDE", it is just that you seem to be incompetent with handling shrimp-with-tails.

                  1. re: huiray

                    It's completely possible to eat shrimp with tails with a fork and knife...without making a mess or breaking a sweat.

                    I've yet to perfect getting that last little bite out of the tail itself without using my fingers...but then if I'm using a fork and knife I'm probably also eating somewhere that the risk of ruining whatever I'm wearing is pretty high.

                    1. re: huiray

                      And just where does my post indicate that I am incompetent in handling tail on shrimp?

                        1. re: huiray

                          Actually, I was thinking of restaurant customers as guests, that's how I like to think of them--it helps in maintaining a positive mind set under grueling conditions sometimes! :)

                  2. re: GH1618

                    If it's in a stir-fry or pasta there's a lot of "maneuvering" with your knife and fork.

                  3. I'm sad that many people don't consider it acceptable to serve shrimp with the head on.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: FoodPopulist

                      The heads are served separately in sushi bars, with the tails, as ama ebi.

                      1. re: GH1618

                        I have to say that raw shrimp - both freshwater & saltwater - are something I've never been able to warm up to as sushi. The ones I've tried have been pristinely fresh, but there's something about the texture that just doesn't appeal to me.

                      2. re: FoodPopulist

                        I'm with you -- fresh Gulf shrimp, boiled with the heads on, refrigerated, and eaten in the company of good friends and rum drinks.

                        Don't wanna deal with the shells? You're not invited.

                        1. re: FoodPopulist

                          If they are fresh and alive, yes I serve the head. The problem is when they are dead. there is an enzyme in the head that starts changing the texture of the flesh to mush after they die. This is why the head is usually removed after they a caught.

                          the only side note I can add to this is serving the head itself. If I'm frying it, like at a sushi bar. I remove the the two armour plates that are on the side of the head. Otherwise, it's all edible.

                        2. Boy, I wonder what your reaction would be with shell-on shrimps ...

                          1 Reply
                          1. I prefer tail on for fried shrimp because I like to eat them. Cooked any other way I would rather the tail be removed.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: kengk

                              Same here. On fried shrimp, they have a very satisfying crunch.

                            2. No tails when I cook shrimp. BUT it makes me a little crazy to see someone LEAVE that last bite IN the shell when shrimp is tail on!?! One of those things Dad taught us when we were kids.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: kseiverd

                                When dining at home, that last bite belongs to the cats. And they know it, too!

                                1. re: kseiverd

                                  +1- that'tsthe sweetest little piece

                                2. Tails off. When shrimp are served with tails in say a pasta cream sauce, makes me annoyed.

                                  1. Tails on when serving "Shrimp Cocktail".

                                    Tails & shells (& heads) on when serving a steamed, boiled, roasted, grilled, or any other spiced "peel & eat" preparation.

                                    Everything off, buck naked, shrimp for any sauced preparation that would normally be eaten with cutlery - Jambalaya, pasta dishes, Gumbo, stirfries, etc., etc.

                                    8 Replies
                                          1. re: Bacardi1

                                            What about eating with chopsticks?

                                            1. re: huiray

                                              even better -- if you eat with chopsticks, you're guaranteed to be able to nibble the little section out of the tail!

                                            2. I prize that last section out with my teeth and consider myself a winner,because that's the best part

                                                1. See what I mean? I knew this would bring up some varying opinions.....some of us love it, some of us hate it.....obviously I don't need to explain which side of the fence I'm on.....but I thought it would be interesting to hear some other points of view...

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: KSlink

                                                    You might also be in interested in these existing threads on the exact same topic:

                                                    Shrimp Tails

                                                    Tail-on shrimp.

                                                    Tail-On Shrimp Protocol

                                                    Here's your shrimp - you finish the prep

                                                    Shrimp Tails; WHY do they Leave them ON ?!?!

                                                    Why do restaurants leave the tails on shrimp?

                                                  2. Depending on the dish, it's either tail off, tail on, shell on but head removed, or whole. When I'm cooking really fresh shrimp, I cut the heads off to make sure they're dead before cooking them.

                                                    Personally, I prefer them whole, or if shelled, with the tail on.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                      "Make sure they are dead"--LOVE THAT....

                                                      1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                        If you're just making boiled shrimp, leave the heads on -- the flavor is far better! I didn't believe it either til I had some extra shrimp and extra time -- it's definitely better with the heads.

                                                        And don't worry about the shrimp - if they're not dead when you dump them in the pot, they will be within seconds.

                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                          One of the dishes I make with really fresh shrimp is an Italian one where you stick a toothpick up the back of the shrimp, and broil them with breadcrumbs, olive oil and lots of black pepper. Shoving a toothpick up a squirming shrimp is a little too much for me. :-)

                                                      2. asians including my wife commonly cook and serve shrimp with the entire shell on. i said entire. and i dont mind eating the shell. dont even peel it off.

                                                        6 Replies
                                                        1. re: MarkG

                                                          I have to confess - I have no qualms at all about cooking them with the head on - I'm not even remotely squeamish about twisting the heads off fresh shrimp with my bare hands.

                                                          I'll save the heads for broth (if I don't boil them head-on) and savor every tasty drop.

                                                          But I find the texture of shell in my mouth to be incredibly unpleasant. (not even that it makes me sick -- akin to taking a bite of something and realizing that the waxed-paper wrapper is still attached. yuck.

                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                            When it's deep fried, the shells are much more edible.

                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                Only if there's still meat in it. lol! I don't want to be gnawing on some shells alone. lol!

                                                                1. re: Crockett67

                                                                  of course, if it's deep-fried, I'm probably going to be allowed to eat it with me fingers...which means empty little shells is all you're getting! :D

                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                              Twisting off the heads and sucking them out is the best way to savor every tasty drop.

                                                          2. I like eating the tails but if the shrimp are in a pasta dish, I remove them.

                                                            1. I totally agree with you K Slink. Never have understood the concept behind it. Tail on shrimp doesn't make the dish any more appealing. Not all tails come off easily either. It doesn't always come down to the diner's technique on how to properly "pinch" the tail. It has a lot to do with it being properly cooked, and the type of shrimp used. Also, I don't think the percentage of people eating the shell is really that high. I don't like having to set it aside somewhere on my plate. However, I am in total agreement with preparing "fresh" head on shrimp at home and getting every last bit of juice from the head.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Phoebe

                                                                Tails on. Love the flavor the shell imparts, but must agree that the tails have to come off for sauced preparations.

                                                              2. Rarely, but I usually cook them with shells on for the flavor. If I serve tails-on for serving reasons (cold app), the doggies get all leftover tail bits. Actually, I even take the shells and make a weak stock out of them, pour it over the doggies' dinner, and then dry out the used shells in the toaster oven for crunchy treats for the doggies. (Seeing a pattern here?)

                                                                1. Like BBQ ribs, boiled crawfish, or renaissance fair turkey legs, shrimp are meant to be consumed as messily as possible, in the impolite company of good friends. Make mine head-on, shell-on, stir-fried with chiles and ginger over white rice.

                                                                  1. Actually I love buying whole shrimp with heads and tails. They are much more flavorful when broiled/baked/stirfried and served whole.
                                                                    For shrimp cocktail I serve with the tail. Those in the know pinch the tail and it comes loose easily. It also makes for a nice "handle" when dipping in cocktail sauce.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Motosport

                                                                      and in paella? Can't beat the look and flavor of whole shrimp.