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Why is shellfish so expensive in France?


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Lobster at 89 € / kilo? Shrimp at 55 € / kilo? (Cunningly expressed at the marketplace as 5.5 € per 100g.) What gives? It's not like these are manna shrimp from heaven. I can get shrimp for 9 € / 300g at Picard or 4 € / 400g at Leader Price, and I wager they're the same quality of farmed Indonesian shrimp...

I'm used to meat costing a king's ransom as compared to the US, but seafood is outrageous. I once bought a single wild salmon steak and it cost me something like 20 €. I have to move to the 19th arrondissement, I think.

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Lobster at 89 € / kilo? Shrimp at 55 € / kilo? (Cunningly expressed at the marketplace as 5.5 € per 100g.) What gives? It's not like these are manna shrimp from heaven. I can get shrimp for 9 € / 300g at Picard or 4 € / 400g at Leader Price, and I wager they're the same quality of farmed Indonesian shrimp...

I'm used to meat costing a king's ransom as compared to the US, but seafood is outrageous. I once bought a single wild salmon steak and it cost me something like 20 €. I have to move to the 19th arrondissement, I think.

Outrageous! Where pray tell did you see those prices?

I'm curious only in the interest of avoiding the place.

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Speaking of salmon...I have not been able to find anything but bland, rubbery, flabby farmed salmon in Amsterdam lately...are you guys getting anything better? This is off-topic, I'm happy to take this question somewhere else...but since you mentioned expensive salmon...

Edited by markemorse (log)
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All the salmon down here is farmed in Norway, sells for about 22 Euros per kilo. That seems to be a relatively "normal" fish price here, 22-28 E/k being the range I usually see. I think of it as a special treat, although beautiful fresh sardines and squid are still very reasonably priced.

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A popular fish merchant at my market was telling me that all his salmon was wild, even the slabs that were tangerine orange-colored, and a deal at just 6€/kg. Um, ok. I've been buying mostly sardines, which are inexpensive and good for you. And their harvesting isn't damaging to the environment.

I, too, wonder who buys those 90€ lobsters?

I've wanted to try one, but don't feel like blowing the money. I can't imagine anyone buying a couple and taking them home for dinner.

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Lobster at 89 € / kilo? Shrimp at 55 € / kilo? (Cunningly expressed at the marketplace as 5.5 € per 100g.) What gives? It's not like these are manna shrimp from heaven. I can get shrimp for 9 € / 300g at Picard or 4 € / 400g at Leader Price, and I wager they're the same quality of farmed Indonesian shrimp...

I'm used to meat costing a king's ransom as compared to the US, but seafood is outrageous. I once bought a single wild salmon steak and it cost me something like 20 €. I have to move to the 19th arrondissement, I think.

A friend who visits Paris every three months and routinely shops at the Poncelet market(s) for seafood and fruit said to me recently: "Boy, what sticker shock." I think that like noticing kids' heights, when you're living in a place, you don't really see the gradual price creep, but coming back after 90 days (March-June) away, it's more apparent.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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I, too, wonder who buys those 90€ lobsters?

I've wanted to try one, but don't feel like blowing the money. I can't imagine anyone buying a couple and taking them home for dinner.

Yikes, I know. Having grown up on the North Fork of Long Island, I miss them (and get my fill when I go home for a visit).

Also, making New England clam chowder here is a big deal, for me - a real "special occasion" dish. It's something I love to make, but I believe clams cost around $6 a dozen (approx. a kilo) in New York, as opposed to 25 € a kilo, here.

Though I have not tried using the cheapie little "coques." Why are they so much less expensive than "clams" and "palourdes"?

Edited by sharonb (log)
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Sharon, do try making chowder with cockles. You won't regret it. They are the tastiest little shellfish though so inexpensive, and a favorite of seafood chefs like Le Divellec for fumets and broths. The clams you buy in France are not so good as American clams anyway. And palourdes are too expensive, should be eaten on the half-shell or just opened in a marinière.

Coques should be soaked for a few hours in cold salted water to get them rid of any remaining sand but they're well worth trying.

I make New England chowder with mussels too (when I can lay my hand on good mussels) and it's really good.

Edited by Ptipois (log)
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I checked at a local Hypermarket today & salmon from Norway was 12.50 - 14.90 per kilo depending upon the cut. Farmed trout are cheaper yet at 9.70/kg.

Sardines especially the filleted ones are still the best bargain at about 6.50/kg.

Haven't seen real wild salmon for a while.

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I just got back from Galerie Lafayette market today in the 9eme, right next to my apartment and they had lobster at 39 euro/kilo.. and they have a pretty good markup on their products i thought.

most of the seafood looked about average, other then some pretty tiny bad looking scallops and a fantastic slab of wild atlantic salmon but i don't remember the price on that.

Whats the best market in Paris to shop at that doesn't have such a big price markup like le bon mache or lafayette? I've visited le Marche des Enfants Rouges but more then half the booths were closed, because its august i guess.. i heard Marche President Wilson is good but haven't gotten a chance to check it out.

Edited by Le Peche (log)
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So, quick question, are you LA pêche (peach), or LE péché (sin)?! :)

humm.. good question. i've only been in paris for 2 weeks so my french is pretty horrible still, but.. my old chef used to call me Peaches so thats why I picked this name, haha.

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Camping at Carentec , Brittany last week I payed €4.30 a dozen for medium oysters but i had to shuck them myself back at the tent . :biggrin:

What a pleasure.

Martial.2,500 Years ago:

If pale beans bubble for you in a red earthenware pot, you can often decline the dinners of sumptuous hosts.

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Slabs of half a salmon (Norwegian) at 8.5 Euro/kg at the super market today. Didn't buy any as we're stocked up. Past history says that their salmon is not bad at all.

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