Thursday, April 9, 2009


I like to think we have good seafood in California.  Marisa and I are fans of seafood.  We've been in lots of places with impressive seafood: mexico yucatan and baja, the eastern us seaboard, japan, singapore.  We also eat a lot of shrimp, or as some people call them, "prawns".  I thought I was familiar with the extent of nature's prawns.

During our houseboat trip in the Keralan backwaters our captain stopped at the side of the river at a random shack.  At first I didn't know what it was for, but then I realized it was a fishmonger/seafood shack.  The captain was provisioning for our lunch and dinner.  I walked up to the fishmonger, and he reached behind him to a white plastic container filled with water.  Like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat, he pulled an ENORMOUS shrimp out of the water.  As you can see in the picture, the thing was as big as my arm.  It weighed 1 lb!  It looked exactly like the baby monsters in the movie Alien that attach themselves to people's heads.  Luckily for us, it was dead.  We bought it for $7 for our dinner.  It seemed pretty steep, but well worth it for eating the biggest prawn we've ever laid eyes on.  (The guy tried to sell us a second one, which would have been the biggest prawn we'd ever seen if we hadn't seen the first one, but 1lb of shrimp meat is enough for the both of us.)

Marisa has been making fun of me because I keep talking about the size of the shrimp.  I told some German tourists we met at the homestay about it and pantomimed it eating my face off like a head crab in Alien; they at least seemed amused.

As for the Keralan seafood cuisine, in the end I think we were satisfied, although the only extremely impressive aspect was the size of the prawn.  We had some great seafood curries.  We also had tasty fish fillets grilled with a masala spice rub (we bought some spices to duplicate this at home).  Since all we would eat was the fish, you could tell that it was really fresh and tender.  (Most restaurants claimed that the fisherman brought the fish in at 1am the previous morning.)

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