Move over, Lobster. Langoustine is here.

July 1, 2015

For the longest time lobster was considered an indulgence, right up there with caviar and truffles. When cooked correctly it is sweet, succulent, and like most things, is made better drenched in butter. But now a new sea bug is in town, so move over, Lobster. The langoustine is here.

Langoustines are very common in Europe, found in many Greek dishes. But only of late has the langoustine found it’s way into many high-end restaurants in New York. Confused about what it is and what makes it so delicious/expensive? Read on to find out.

Langoustine with braised chicken skin from Viajante Restaurant, London. Picture from Flickr, taken by Jaume Escofet.

Langoustines look like cray fish. If you don’t know, cray fish are most commonly associated with being thrown onto a table and attacked by hungry southerners. The difference is that cray fish grow in fresh water, and langoustines grow in salt water. They are related to the lobster but are sweeter the smaller they are.

So, why are they so expensive? Langoustines are delicious and considered a luxury food experience now. They are hard to catch and hard to find. Langoustines are rare and have suffered a rapid decline, resulting in strict guidelines on how to catch them and how much you are allowed to catch.

This brings up a common but rarely talked about issue. This is not the only species that is threatened by over consumption and over fishing. Had the langoustine not been so delicious, I doubt that it would be regulated so strictly. Recently people have started realizing that we have to start finding more sustainable ways to farm and hunt food. You can see it on packaging as well as some restaurants websites where they boast their “sustainably sourced fish”. And of course, you can always ask.

It is a very good thing that there are fishing regulations in place for fishing for langoustines. What are your thoughts? Should we be paying a premium price to eat a fish that is already rare? Let me know in the comments below! See you next time.

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