General Discussion

Chinese Ingredient Substitutions

Seafood Substitutions in Chinese Cooking


Live your best food life.

Sign up to discover your next favorite restaurant, recipe, or cookbook in the largest community of knowledgeable food enthusiasts.
Sign Up For Free
General Discussion 34

Seafood Substitutions in Chinese Cooking

sivyaleah | Jul 24, 2012 05:49 PM

We ordered from a new Chinese take-out this evening, and I decided to get Lobster Fried Rice as one of the dishes, something I can't remember ordering in ages.

I'm fully aware the "crab" isn't really crab, it's the imitation product and I stay away from it. But from my experience, when I see "lobster" on a Chinese menu - invariably that IS what I get.

However, when I opened the container it most certainly was not. What I saw, appeared to be crayfish tails. And surely didn't taste like lobster either.

I called the restaurant to verify/complain. I got a song and dance first, about how it was indeed lobster; "baby lobster" because grown up lobster is too much money. I'm like, there is no such thing as baby lobster, and proceeded to tell her they were crayfish which are freshwater - not saltwater. Then she goes on to tell me every Chinese restaurant uses this product, that "big" lobster isn't used anymore, anywhere because of cost. I'm like, look, I don't like being rooked - it would be much better if you just call it "seafood fried rice" or something else, but don't make people think you're getting lobster if you aren't. I would have ordered something else in that case, would have been happy with my usual pork fried rice, or even a vegetable one for that matter. I didn't need to spend the extra money on something which wasn't even what it's touted to be.

She just didn't grasp this - not surprised - but said she would mention it to her boss. So, that was that.

Anyway - am I the uninformed one? Am I just used to going to better restaurants that do serve real lobster and this was an unfortunate lesser quality place (it was my first time ordering from them, I was taking a chance) or, was I being handed a story? I mean, there wouldn't even be that much lobster meat that would have to go into a pint of fried rice in the first place. I see lobsters on sale in the supermarket all the time, especially this time of year, for like $5-6 a pound. At that price - I can't imagine they wouldn't be able to use the real thing since they are charging a premium for the product anyway.


Want to stay up to date with this post?

Recommended From Chowhound