Shellfish Shellfish are invertebrate aquatic animals that have a shell and are used as food. It includes various molluscs, crustaceans and echinoderms and is found in both fresh water and salt water.


Squid: Eight arms and two long tentacles, there are many species of squid consumed. It may be sold as calamari. The ink is used as food coloring.
Shrimp: With a narrow tapering body encased in a shell and a curled tail. The flesh turns pink and sweet on cooking.
Lobster: Called the king of crustaceans, it has a white firm’s meet which is sweet and succulent.
Crayfish: They resemble small lobsters. Only the tail and claw are consumed.
Crabs: Tough shell with a soft, flavorsome, sweet and succulent flesh characterize crabs, where the females are sweeter.
Oysters: Oysters have a salty flavor and succulent texture.
Mussels: They have shiny shells and tender, nutritious flesh.
Cockles: Heart shaped small shells that have a morsel of flesh which can be consumed raw, steamed or boiled.
Scallops: Delicate taste with a range of sizes, it has a round white firm flesh.
Prawns: Prawns have sweet, firm, meaty flesh and are cooked in or out of their shells.


Shellfish dishes are present all across the world in almost all cuisines. It is an important source of protein. In Japanese cuisine, shellfish as well as their roe are used in different dishes. Sushi is prepared using both raw and cooked shellfish.

Lobsters are famous in the U.S as a delicacy. It is mainly eaten across the American East Coast. In the Gulf States, shrimping is a famous and a very important industry.

Raw oyster bars are also an indulgent feature of shellfish consumption. Oysters are opened, iced and served. The liquid inside the shell is called the liqueur.

Nutritional Value

Shellfish are a low fat high protein food and are a rich source of Choline and Omega 3 fatty acids.

Shellfish are a good source of zinc, a mineral essential for growth and development, energy metabolism and immune function.

It is a rich source of Vitamin B-12 which is a water-soluble vitamin necessary for health of nerve cells and red blood cells.

Caution: Certain types of Shellfish can cause severe allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis in people. Shrimp, crab and lobster cause most shellfish allergies. To prevent a reaction, strict avoidance of shellfish and shellfish products is essential.

Did you know?

Despite the name shellfish, they are not a kind of fish.

Recipes using Shellfish

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