The debate between shrimp vs prawn is an old one. They’re sometimes confused with each other. But it is astounding to know that both are completely different.
Sure, both are crustaceans and decapods (meaning they have an exoskeleton and 10 legs), but both live in the sea and river beds and look very similar after being cooked. Some people believe they taste the same as well. However, even with all these similarities, shrimp and prawns are completely different, in terms of their habitat, size, taste, and texture.
When it comes to cooking, these two kinds of seafood are often used interchangeably. Depending on the country you live in, the terms “prawns” and “shrimp” are used to refer to both these types of seafood.
For instance, in India, “prawn” is the blanket term used to refer to both true prawns and shrimp. The same is the case in the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand, as well as most commonwealth nations. In the US, you’ll hear the term “shrimp” more often than “prawn” used to refer to larger variants of crustaceans.
Continue reading to learn more about the shrimp V prawn differences.
Shrimp and Prawns: Anatomical Differences
Anatomical differences refer to the difference in the physical appearance of shrimp and prawns.
The basic difference between shrimp seafood and prawns is their family order. Shrimp belong to a family named Pleocyemata—a suborder that includes crayfish, crabs, and lobsters. Prawns belong to the family of Dendrobranchiata.
But let us warn you, these scientific classifications are not of great help when you’re shopping for prawns or shrimp, since the physical appearance can be too similar.
Nevertheless, there are some physical indicators to identify them for your next seafood recipe. These differences are:
|Shrimps can bend their bodies more sharply. It’s a telltale sign.||Prawns are not as flexible as their shrimpy brethren.|
|Shrimps have two pairs of claw-like legs.||Prawns have three claw-like pairs of legs.|
|Shrimps have slightly shorter legs than prawns.||Prawns have longer legs than shrimp.|
|Mostly found in salt-water.||Mostly found in freshwater.|
|Often smaller than prawns.||Often larger than shrimp.|
Shrimp vs Prawn: Taste Comparison
Before diving into the world of amazing and delicious recipes using these two varieties of seafood, it is important to note their taste differences.
Please note that both shrimp and prawns are nearly identical in terms of taste and texture, and the difference may not be conclusive enough for most people.
For starters, prawns are more tender, and juicy, and have a sweeter aftertaste. They make an excellent choice for curries and stir-fries. You can also fry or grill them, and they’ll melt in your mouth. Their heavenly taste explains a lot about their often higher prices.
Shrimps are noticeably saltier and savoury (they’re literally marinated in salt-brine—sea—throughout their lives!). However, they are not as tender or juicy as prawns and have a bit more bite to them.
Experts suggest seasoning shrimp or prawns according to their origin when cooking. Freshwater prawns, which you can order online from Licious, may need more salting than seawater shrimp (naturally salty), which are also easily available online.
Shrimp vs Prawn: Which is More Expensive?
If we compare the cost of shrimp and prawns in India, prawns are more likely to be on the more expensive side. Nevertheless, shrimps are costlier in other parts of the world.
Prawns are bigger and preferred over shrimp because of their taste and texture, which explains the often higher price.
Due to their smaller size and saltier taste, shrimps are priced less than prawns in India. The variety of recipes made from shrimp is small as well.
Nevertheless, both fresh prawns and shrimp make for amazing additions to the list of every seafood lover’s dishes.
Order Fresh and Ready-to-Cook Shrimp and Prawns from Licious
At Licious, it is super easy to pick your choice of prawns and shrimp for all your seafood cravings. All our shrimp and prawns are caught daily by approved partners, are always fresh and never frozen (stored at 0-4°C until delivered), and are expertly deshelled, deveined, and hygienically packed. There are more than a dozen different varieties available on our website to choose from.