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Planet Food Special: Shellfish

Pink-Prawns-by-The-Farmstrs,-Flickr

Shellfish are not a kind of fish, but are simply water-dwelling animals. Many are actually closely related to insects. Nowadays, shellfish such as oyster, mussels, clams, scallops, crabs, and the all-time favourite lobsters are a common part of the indigenous cuisines throughout the world.

In this Planet Food special, we join Merilees Parker, Bobby Chinn, Angela May, Brianna Barnes, and Zoe D’amato as they travel worldwide fishing for some of the most mouth-watering shellfish recipes.

We begin our journey in Asia, in Bangkok, where seafood consumption continues to increase at an exceptional rate. In countries like Thailand, seafood including shellfish has become a staple diet for the locals. The use of herbs and spices is common throughout Asia and in Thailand, the juxtaposition of sweet, sour, hot and salty flavours is what it makes Thai cuisine so distinct. Nowhere is it more noticeable than in their national soup tom yam goong which uses local fresh prawns.

Crab-Curry-by-Roberto-Verzo,-FlickrIn the Greek Islands, a local delicacy is octopus, as Angela May finds out in the beautiful fishing village on the Island of Lesvos.  Crabs make up 20 percent of all shellfish caught, farmed and consumed world-wide. They are found in all of the world’s oceans. While many crabs live in fresh water, there are some that live on land, particularly in tropical regions. While in Sri Lanka, Bobby Chinn cooks up a Sri Lankan crab curry.

Another relative of the crab which has been turned into a seafood delicacy are barnacles, as Bobby finds out on Portugal’s south west coast from a local barnacle enthusiast.  An old time favourite shellfish food has to be clams which are eaten raw, steamed, boiled, baked, or fried and Zoe D’amato goes fishing in Eastern Canada for some very large species.

Scallops-by-Annie-Eats,-FlickrScallops make another delicious shellfish. They have a sweet-flavoured muscle that is often served lightly cooked, but can be eaten raw as bobby finds out form Japanese world-class chef, Toshiro Konishi.  Toshiro has lived in Peru for over 30 years and he’s been fusing Peruvian and Japanese flavours to create some of the most incredible taste sensations.

One highly-prized shellfish is oysters, but in the 19th century, they were plentiful and cheap and were considered the poor-man’s diet. Oyster lovers will insist that they’re best eaten raw, with a squeeze of lemon juice. In Ireland, Bobby Chinn samples some with a pint of Guinness.

Another shellfish enjoyed by fish enthusiasts is the lobster. Eating lobsters was also once considered a mark of poverty.  Nowadays, lobster delicacies are enjoyed throughout the world. In the coastal town of Brunswick in Canada, Zoe D’amato finds out how to catch, cook and crack the lobster.

Lobster-Dinner-by-Dennis-Ramos,-Flickr

Recipes

Places Mentioned - Greece and the Greek Islands, Portugal, Sri Lanka

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Bangkok

Thailand

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Crete

Greece and the Greek Islands

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Eastern Canada

Canada

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