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Shrimp, prawn, gamberi

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Shrimp vs prawn

difference between shrimp and prawn

Shrimp and prawn are two different animals. Both are decapods  -ten legs- but that’s where the similarity ends. For biologists that is. Anatomically the differences lay in the gill structure, side plates and claws. And whether they live in salt or fresh water.

If you don’t feel like having  close dissection, try this. Shrimp is smaller than prawn. Though some prawns are small while shrimp can be big. Confused? Sorry, there’s more.


It further depends on the country you find yourself in. In Australia it’s all prawn, in the USA shrimp. Except for the big ones. 

And things get wild in the kitchen. Where shrimp and prawn are interchangeable. Since they taste exactly the same. And once peeled, the difference is even harder to tell.

Both are rich in omega3 fatty acids and selenium. 

Shrimp or prawn

Italian confusion

confusion, question shrimp or prawn

Welcome to Italy. Where shrimp and prawn become…gamberi. Little ones are gamberetti, big ones gamberoni.

Italy’s largest food publisher Gambero Rosso chose a prawn as its symbol. Some say it this should be a shrimp since it refers to the Mazara shrimp.

Gambero rosso di Mazara

Mazara del Vallo

This shrimp bares the name of the Western Sicilian city of Mazara del Vallo. The fishing takes place all over the Mediterranean. They distinguish themselves by the intense red color. 

Gambero rosso comes in three sizes. The bigger the shrimp, the higher the price. The ones with eggs in the head are by far the tastiest. 

As it goes with expensive products, fake versions pop up. 

Shrimp or prawn in the kitchen

Whether shrimp or prawn, chefs love them. The texture is unique, the taste mild. No matter how you prepare them, there is one common advice. Take the vein out. This digestive tract tastes and looks bad.

Chef Guiseppe Costa gave us his Michelin star recipe. A Sicilian surf and turf recipe. Check out his raw shrimp recipe as well.

Giuseppe Costa - Tortello quadrato allo stracotto, gambero nascosto e porcino

Pasta with gamberi

pasta with gamberi -shrimp or prawn spaghetti italian style

Shrimp or prawn have a delicate taste. So don’t add too much seasoning or covering sauces. Not even tomato sauce.

Use the shells and heads to make a broth. Simply boil them in little water. 

Fry garlic in a pan and shorty before adding the pasta, add the shellfish. Use the broth and some of the cooking water to make it creamy.

When you are in a crazy mood, grate some bottarga before serving.

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