A Note on “Fresh” Shrimp

Most all shrimp sold in our fish markets are frozen on the trawler and delivered to the market frozen. Rarely can I find fresh shrimp, meaning shrimp that have survived catching without being entombed in ice. Alert your fish store that you are in search of truly fresh shrimp and take advantage of them whenever and wherever you find them. As for the standard “fresh” shrimp, meaning those frozen when they reach the market, judge their relative freshness by a lack of odor and a glossy shell. Buying them still frozen means they’ll be “fresher.”

Let me emphasize that here and throughout this book, I am talking about “fresh” shrimp that has been delivered to the market in the shell. Shrimp that have been stripped of the shell by the packer and frozen “in the nude” are totally inappropriate to Chinese cooking—lacking most any taste and texture. If your fish market shells them upon thawing, that is one thing, but never buy shrimp that are shelled and then frozen. They will not be worth what you pay for them.

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