Shrimp (or prawn if you are in certain parts of the world), is arguably one of the world’s favorite seafood. It is extremely versatile and can be used in several different ways using a variety of techniques. Many of the top chefs in the world have worked hard to create shrimp dishes that they are proud of, and consumers love to eat them all year round! It is food for the young and old, and is available everywhere, whether it be on the coast or inland. So, let’s learn more about the humble shrimp.
About shrimp – interesting facts
One reason why shrimp is so popular and feature in so many dishes is that they are delicious and healthy. They are an excellent source of protein and are generally easy to cook. Shrimp is also easily accessible, which makes them affordable. Here are some fun facts about shrimp that you likely did not know.
- Shrimps are found all around the world and survive in fresh and saltwater.
- May 9 is National Shrimp Day, and October is National Seafood Month
- There are over 128 species of shrimp found today.
- And the most bizarre fact of all – all shrimp are actually born male and become females as they mature!
There are many different ways to prepare shrimp. One of the most loved methods is to boil or sauté them in garlic or butter. This method is called ‘scampi’ and can be found on many top menus.
Top shrimp producing countries.
Shrimp production and export is a big business, thanks to the worldwide and growing demand. Shrimp will feature in many good restaurant and café menus, and they are commonly prepared at eaten at the home in many places, especially around the holiday season. For this reason, overall exports of shrimps totaled US$19.12 billion in 2019, and this figure is expected to rise over the coming years. Shrimp can be exported frozen or fresh, salted or smoked.
Below are the top three countries that produced and exported the most shrimp in 2019. In fact, the top 15 exporting countries combined shipped nearly 90% of all shrimp in 2019.
India is the largest producer of farmed shrimp in the world. In 2019, India exported 2,82,584 tons of shrimp to the USA and other countries.
Ecuador is one of the world leaders when it comes to the production and exportation of shrimp. 2019 actually saw a record year for shrimp production, with 635,029 tons exported.
Shrimp sales are the biggest contributor to Vietnam’s seafood export value. In 2019 despite being down 5% from previous years, they still produced 1.52 tons and exported over 500,000 tons.
If we are talking purely shrimp production (not production and exportation), then Thailand and China would take the lead. Combined, Thailand and China account for nearly $75% of the worlds shrimp production. So, it is safe to say that if you want to sample some of the best shrimp in the world, head to Asia.
Top shrimp consuming countries
Interestingly, while three-quarters of the world’s shrimp is produced in developing countries (Thailand and China to be precise), it is the developed world that produces the most shrimp. The USA understandably consumes a lot of shrimp, however the number one country for shrimp consumption is Japan. Followed closely by the USA, and then most of Western Europe.
In the USA, shrimp is actually the most consumed seafood and can be found in all 50 states and in every corner of the country. On average, there are 4.4 pounds of shrimp consumed per person per year in the USA.
Best shrimp restaurants in the world.
One restaurant that prides itself on its amazing selection of shrimp dishes is the JB Hooks Steak & Seafood Restaurant at Lake Ozark, Missouri. They have their own Shrimp and Oyster Bar, and offer a varied menu featuring the beloved shrimp. Their most loved dishes include:
- New Orleans BBQ Shrimp
- Shrimp Cocktail
- Peel & Eat Shrimp
- Garlic Shrimp
They pride themselves on keeping their shrimp dishes simple to really honor the flavor of the seafood.
Jumbo Seafood is a chain of restaurants found all over Asia; however, they were established in Singapore in 1987. They have a reputation for serving the freshest seafood in Southeast Asia and specialize in delicious shrimp dishes. Their most famous shrimp dish is drunken prawn and cereal prawns (pictured). Cereal prawns are a Singaporean dish consisting of fried shrimp cooked in butter, crushed cereal, curry leaves and chili.
Madrid, Spain had always been known for its amazing selection of top-notch seafood, and if it is shrimp that you are specifically looking for you, you cannot look past La Casa Del Abuelo. Their two signature dishes include Gambas al Ajillo which is prawns cooked in a seafood broth (pictured). You also cannot go past the Gambas à la Plancha if you prefer a fresh and minimally cooked shrimp dish.
Best shrimp chefs in the world.
- José Andrés
Chef José Andrés is a Spanish-American chef who has worked at many world class restaurants throughout the United States. He is responsible for many amazing and delicious dishes, but the one dish he is most well known for is his Paella with Shrimp and Squid (pictured). This simple Paella dish is one of the top seafood meals in the world, and it contains a variety of different seafoods in it depending on availability. With shrimp being the hero of the dish of course. Available at Minibar by José Andrés in Washington DC
- Jean-Georges Vongerichten
When you think of shrimp, you may not necessarily think of salad. But if you want to try one of the best shrimp dishes in the world, prepared by one of the best shrimp chefs, you must visit French chef Jean Jean-Georges Vongerichten. His signature dish is Shrimp Salad with Champagne Beurre Blanc (pictured), and it may sound complex, but the intense flavor and simplicity of the dish will have you coming back for seconds. Jean-Georges has restaurants all throughout the United States and 12 other countries ranging from France, Morocco, and Indonesia.
- Gordon Ramsay
A list of the top chefs would not be complete without celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. There is a reason why Gordon continues to rate among the top chefs in the world. He knows his way around food, and this is especially true when it comes to seafood. He has many different restaurants around the world, and one dish you will find included in many of the menus is his famous prawn tostada dish (pictured). Gordon Ramsey will often feature shrimp dishes in all his restaurants, making the use of local ingredients and produce.
There is a good reason why shrimp is one of the most beloved food in the world, and this does not look to change anytime soon. There are so many ways of preparing shrimp that there will be a dish out there that will suit even the fussiest eaters. Whether you prefer your shrimp raw, boiled, in a salad, or even deep-fried, we all have one thing in common. We are lovers of the mighty shrimp!
Anna Grace Sims