Fried shrimp and shrimp "poop"?

I lifted this comment from a Yelp review of Coni’s Seafood in Inglewood, CA. I’ve had ‘fried shrimp’ in several Asian countries and was curious as to what HO’ers think of this criticism:

"We receive our fried shrimp. Good feelings are starting to leave…

Pro: flavor is great
Con: we don’t know if this is normal…but *the meat was difficult to peel from shell and the shrimp still had the “poop”. *I don’t finish my share. I am disgusted but my boyfriend is starving so he finishes them off…not happy about the “poop” and having to eat crunchy shrimp exoskeleton."

The difficulty in peeling seems to vary. Usually I find that issue with smaller shrimp. But… I’m challenged as to how you could remove the ‘poop’ from shrimp if it’s cooked shell-on. Sometimes I’ve seen shrimp friend after the backs have been cut, which would allow for removal of the ‘poop’ from that area, but many shrimp have ‘poop’ at both back and ‘front’.

Is this a preparation/method issue, a cultural issue, a medical issue, or what?

I would say cultural issue. Chinese cooking has many preparations of shrimp with the shell-on, so you are correct that it’s impossible to remove the intestinal track on these occasions. I’m not a huge shrimp eater, but I’ve had de-veined and whole, untouched shrimp. There isn’t a huge difference in the dishes I’ve had.

I used to have a non-Asian co-worker who couldn’t touch whole chicken. She could only buy and cook skinned chicken breasts, or wings or thighs. Attach any other part of the bird, and she wouldn’t touch it. She found it gross. This is just what she grew up with, so go figure.

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I think un-deveined shrimp is pretty gross, but I know people who like to eat the shells and suck on the head, so I guess it’s a cultural thing.

When you think about what shrimp eat, the “poop” is nothing to be grossed out about. IMneverHO. I never devein them.

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My daughter is 40 and, to this day, she’s uncomfortable eating anything with bones attached. Chicken must be cut off the bone… and ribs??? No way, unless they’re ‘fall of the bone’ done and someone can de-bone them for her. She isn’t a particularly picky eater otherwise, so this has been something of a mystery.

She’d get pretty hungry in my house.


I have a friend like that. When he was a kid, after a childhood of chicken fingers, he tried eating a drumstick and found a vein near the bone. I guess this was too real for his young mind and horrified him for life. To this day (age 38) he refuses to eat anything on a bone. I call it ridiculous squeamishness.


That reminded me of this Oatmeal classic:

I almost never do – usually the “poop” is mostly mud from the bottom and while not pretty, also not usually even gritty.

Once in a while, though, I get some Gulf pinks that have really been wallowing, and they’re really, really dirty – so those get deveined.

I prefer to boil/steam shrimp with the heads on – the flavor is noticeably better, and there is no way on the planet to devein if you haven’t removed the heads!

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When it’s me doing the cooking, I don’t really like shrimp with big black sand/poop so I’ll cut the shells with kitchen shears & clean them…

That said, I eat them shell & all in Asian preps like salt & pepper style because they’re usually crunchy & tasty. I don’t believe I’ve ever found poopy ones in this type of prep.

The poop and the intestine part can be removed by cutting the shrimp open, or if cooked with with shells, using a toothpick to try to get rid of it. (not very easy and not always successful, and very time consuming). The sandy mud part spoiled the taste of shrimps when just steaming for example.


Leaving the shells on, many cuisine have this, not only Chinese.
I believe it’s just lazy when coming to getting rid of poop/intestine, too high labour cost to clean it, also too much washing away get rid of the taste. If you go to higher end restaurants, don’t have this.

I eat the shell of fried shrimp - delicious! And often sauteed shrimp, too, depending on the preparation.

I don’t think it is easy to remove the intestine, once the shrimps have been fried like this.

I usually devein the shrimps when I am cooking at home. However, I have no problem eating non-devein shrimps at restaurants. As for the front and back veins, the back is the intestine, and the front is the nerve cord, and most restaurants do not remove the nerve cord.

As for eating the crunchy shrimp shell, I cannot speak for Coni’s Seafood, but for Chinese cuisine, that is to be expected. If you were to try to peel the shell, then they will come and stop you and tell you to eat the shell.

Last time I was at a Chinese restaurant eating fried shrimps, I ate everything including the heads.

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I hafta say… I prefer the shells over the fried poop. The bigger the shrimp, the bigger the chute - no thx.

And deveining shrimp at home might just be my least “favorite” kitchen activity. Blech.

No shit!
As in, really, no shit. Ugh, for me.

A friend’s husband was grilling and, when asked, said there was no need to devein the shrimp. The shrimp were ‘organic’, as was the poop, I guess.

Mmmmmmm - organic poop. Only the best :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

I’ll eat shrimp shells - the fried heads of ama ebi are one of my favorite items when I go out for sushi. I’ll even eat a little shrimp poop when unavoidable. But I wouldn’t expect everyone to happily munch either down.

That was a pretty funny display of classic Yelperism. God bless their ignorant little hearts . . . .

Personally, I don’t give much of a shit whether shrimp are divined or not. Clearly, there’s nothing dangerous about eating them uncut or unpeeled. However, let’s be fair, equating partially digested plankton with human feces is rather silly.

Feel free to succumb to the “ick” and remove the vein when you prepare shrimp at home, but try to keep the bitching and irrational freaking out to a minimum when others don’t. Oh, and for chrissakes, stay out of the oceans - I’m pretty certain you don’t want to know how much plankton and fish shit you swallow with every wave.


LOL. This just reminds me that the lovely white sand beaches that everyone coos and raves about is in fact parrot fish poo. Yep, you go wallow and roll in that a little bit longer, next time you’re in Hawaii.

I’m usually a non-picky eater but I’ve never been comfortable eating shrimp shells. Suck out the head… yes. Shells… no. In the many years I traveled throughout Asia I don’t think I recall even the locals I ate with eating the shells, though I could have buried that part.

Is there a cooking method, or a size/type of shrimp that makes eating the shell more appealing/edible? Or is this in my head the way my daughter’s inability to eat mean on a bone is in hers? The second I get a piece of cooked shell in my mouth I’m unable to continue with the crunch process. I’m not sure I even see a reason to pursue this line of query but thought I’d ask since the topic moved in that direction.