Wednesday 15 June 2011

Scampi vs. scampi

I am sure there is some psychological term for this, but ever since I heard the news that there is a looming scampi shortage, all I want is scampi; and lots of it.  

As I was munching on some last night, I remembered the first time I ordered scampi in England and thought I might be kind enough to save any other American newcomers the potential confusion. 

When most Americans think of scampi, they probably envision a heavenly dish of shrimp/prawn in a cholesterol busting garlic butter sauce maybe with some white wine and possibly served over some pasta or with a hunk of bread to soak up all the buttery goodness.   This is what I wanted when I ordered scampi in a pub (ok, it was a Harvester restaurant if I'm honest, and probably an early bird special if I'm really honest):  
American Scampi; Photo: Jon Sullivan

Talk about a school girl error!   This is what I ended up with:  

British Scampi; Photo: FishFanatics
British scampi are equally delicious, breaded, fried, fishy bits... maybe sort of comparable to large popcorn shrimp, but they arent shrimp at all.  British scampi is supposed to be meat from the tail of the Norway Lobster (sometimes called a langoustine) and if you see it sold as "whole tail scampi", this should be what you get, but otherwise it could be any form of breaded and fried fish/shellfish chunks.  Tip: Stick to the whole tail stuff if you can. They are usually served with chips (french fries) and peas if you are unlucky enough to not get a substitute (I hate peas!). Dip them in tartar sauce and they are tasty tasty! 

Do you think I can clear out enough space in my freezer to stock up on scampi to get me through the pending shortage!?


  1. I had no idea that they were little lobster tails! Maybe I'll order them next time after all...I do miss the "normal" Red Lobster style scampi though...

  2. Thanks for the warning on:
    a) the difference in meal titles
    b) the scampi shortage!

    One time I ordered chili in an English restaurant. And it was not chili. I'm still not sure what it was supposed to be.