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Crawfish vs Lobsters

Down in Louisiana, we love our seafood. If it comes from the water and is edible, we will find a way to make it delicious and uniquely ours. While most people wouldn’t even consider something like alligator or turtle, Louisianans will not only eat it, but actually make it something others travel to our state just to try. 

One of the things that is uniquely Louisiana is the crawfish.  Boiled, baked, or cooked into a delicious etouffee, crawfish are one of the most versatile foods available. However, many people still look down on this miniature crustacean, and consider it to be a lesser dish than their salt-water cousins.

Crawfish vs Lobsters

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Crawfish have been called many things – one of these things being the “poor man’s lobster”.  Both crawfish and lobsters share many similarities. 

  • They are similar in appearance.
  • They are prepared in a similar fashion.
  • They both taste delicious.

However, one is considered to be a delicacy, while the other is more associated with down-home cooking.

The truth is, crawfish and the northeastern Maine lobster have much more in common than other creatures – including many that are actually called lobster. In fact, they are so close in taste that there was a recent incident in which a New York restaurant was using crawfish in place of lobster in their lobster salad – and no one noticed 

So, what are the biggest differences between lobsters and crawfish?

Appearance

If you placed a Maine lobster next to a crawfish, the only major difference most people would notice is the size. In fact, crawfish really do look like baby lobsters. Crawfish average in size from two to six inches in length, while lobster can grow to more than twenty inches.

Habitat

This is probably the biggest difference between the two crustaceans. Lobsters spend their lives in saltwater, including oceans and seas, while crawfish set up shelter in fresh water, such as streams, rivers, and ponds. However, despite the salinity difference the actual living habits of the two creatures in quite similar, with both living under rocks and in crevices. And both feed exclusively on anything they can find on the bottom of their water habitats.

Preparation & Flavor

 To be honest, if the crawfish and lobster are prepared in the same way, it is almost impossible to tell the difference between the two – though, one could argue that the life of the lobster in salt water will make for a subtle difference.  However, the biggest difference in flavor has little to do with the creature, and more to do with regional preparation. Lobster is usually boiled and steamed – and usually just the tails - then often dipped in butter. Crawfish are usually boiled whole in spicy Cajun seasoning and served whole in a pile with potatoes and corn. Just be sure to suck the heads.

 And there you have it, the biggest differences and similarities between crawfish and lobsters. Both are quite delicious, so whether you are visiting the Northeast or the Southern states be sure to take advantage of the local cuisine. And if you would like to experience a little bit of Louisiana without the travel, we offer live, Louisiana crawfish delivered right to your door!