General Discussion

Tail-On Shrimp Protocol

ElsieDee | Apr 11, 200702:23 PM     20

I'm sure it's happened to most of us, at one point or another: we order a dish containing shrimp and they're presented with the tails-on. But what is the accepted manner of removing the tails (presuming that you don't prefer to eat them - some do, some don't)?

1 - Stab the shrimp with your fork and basically bite-off the flesh to the base of the tail? Then what happens to the tail? Does it fall back onto the plate/table/your lap?

2 - Secure the shrimp body with your fork and then cut-off the tail using your knife? What if you're eating a soupy or well-sauced dish and the tail ends-up floating around the dish? Or (as usualy happens with me, 'cause I'm just not that coordinated) does the tail go shooting-off onto the table - onto your lap - or (as happened the other night, and yes I was mortified) become airborne and land in your dining companions glass of wine?

3 - Secure the tail with the side of your fork (basically holding it down against the plate) and then using a knife to cut-off the body?

4 - Using your fork to attempt to cut through the body at the base of the tail (not always practical if the shrimp are at all over-cooked)?

Other questions:

If the shrimp is fried, is it permissable to pick-up the shrimp by the tail and eat it with your fingers?

When eating fried shrimp (including tempura), is one expected to eat the tails?

When eating a "shrimp tempura roll" do you eat the tail? (And just how do you get that section of the roll, with the tail sticking out of the end, into your mouth, anyway?)

Is it permissable to "peel open" the tail to get that last succulent bit of meat?

Where should you place the tails after they've been removed?

And just what is the rationale of leaving the tails on, especially if the restaurant goes through the trouble to peeling and deveining? Is this tradition? Is it rude to remove the tails prior to serving? (Seems to me, at least in cooking at home, that it's a lot easier to remove the tails when peeling and deveining rather than trying to keep them on. But maybe that's just me.)

Just wondering.

Want to stay up to date with this post? Sign Up Now ›

More from Chowhound

The Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving

The Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving

by Kristin Donnelly | The best way to cook a stress-free dinner is to think ahead, which is why we've created this comprehensive...

19 Great Thanksgiving Desserts That Aren't Pie
Food and Cooking

19 Great Thanksgiving Desserts That Aren't Pie

by Caitlin M. O'Shaughnessy | When the usual pie lineup feels boring and uninspired for your dessert repertoire, you've got to make...

An Ode to 5 Thanksgiving Foods That Are Better from the Package
Food Trends

An Ode to 5 Thanksgiving Foods That Are Better from the Package

by Kelsey Butler | Nostalgia is a factor not to be discounted when it comes to food, and these five holiday staples sometimes...

Better-Than-Homemade Goodies That Can Be Ordered Online

Better-Than-Homemade Goodies That Can Be Ordered Online

by David Klein | Mail order cookies, cakes, pies, and other sweet treats are better (and more prolific) than ever...

Get fresh food news delivered to your inbox

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week.