Shrimp Tails

Can someone please explain to me why the shell is left on the tail of a shrimp when it’s served in a restaurant?  And what’s the proper etiquette for getting the shell off?  Cutting it?  Using your fingers?  Biting it?

I don’t understand.  Someone help.


5 thoughts on “Shrimp Tails

  1. I wish I knew. I always assumed they left them on so it would slow down the eater. If it takes an extra 30 seconds to peel off the shell, during that time your body is acknowledging that it ate something, and you’ll feel full before you can really stuff yourself on shrimp. If it’s all-you-can-eat and the shells are on, it takes longer to eat the same amount. (The stuff you learn watching your first husband gorge himself on AYCE shrimp.)

      • Maybe it also applies to appetizers? (Now I’m thinking of shrimp cocktail.) I much prefer the places that take the shells off. You get more flavor in the shrimp that way–it’s a total waste to sprinkle the shrimp with Old Bay when the shell’s on–and it’s just more convenient. When I cooked shrimp at home, I made a habit of shelling it before serving, so no one had to do any peeling.

        And yes, there’s a talent to getting that tiny little bit of meat out of the very tail end of the thing. Drove me nuts when the people around me would just bite it at the tail and waste that little bit. I mean, the shrimp died, dude; at least make its sacrifice worth it. But I suppose that tiny fragment left fed something, somewhere. (Have you *seen* the seagulls over Fresh Kills landfill?)

  2. LOL…I don’t have an issue with shrimp tails. I’m talented enough to grasp the tail just above the shell between my teeth and gently pull. All the meat comes out in one nice piece. Alternatively, it’s perfectly acceptable to split the tail shell open with your fingernails to get to the meat. 🙂 I have no idea why they leave them on.

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