Shrimp Heads as Homewrecker
October 7th, 2010 by plumpdumpling

Dr. Boyfriend and I both have birthdays this month, and we want to eat delicious foodz on our special days. For mine, I made us a reservation at The Wright, which is the restaurant inside the Guggenheim Museum. (Click on the link and look at how beautiful it is! I don’t care how good the food is, ’cause I’m going solely for the decor.)

For his birthday, he was thinking about going for an elaborate sushi dinner at the best place in town, but it just so happens that I saw a Momofuku Ko reservation open for that day and decided to snatch it up and try to convince him it was time to go.

In case you’re unaware of the ridiculousness of getting into Ko, it involves logging into a reservation website precisely at 10 a.m. every day, selecting lunch or dinner and the number of people in your party, clicking on every available timeslot, and finding out that they’ve all been taken in the time it took you to move your mouse to them. And you can do this over and over again for weeks without ever getting a reservation. Each night’s spots fill up literally before the clock hits 10:01.

But I got us one! And it’s for lunch, which lasts an extra hour . . . and costs an extra $50! For a total of $175!(!!)

The other ridiculous thing about Ko is that Chef David Chang famously doesn’t allow photos. My blogfriend Chubby memorably drew her meal on a notepad with a Sharpie, but other than that, you rarely, rarely see any of the food they serve. So to be honest, I had no idea what I was getting into.

The website says, “We try our best to serve delicious American food,” which I imagined meant, you know, lots of red meat. But then Dr. Boyfriend IMed me with this:

And then he sent me this photo from VIP in the City:

Which is just mean, right?

We spent the next two days dancing around the issue of me not wanting to eat shrimp heads while I secretly showed the photo to everyone I knew and asked if they thought I could handle it. Their answers ranged from “shrimp heads are delicious” to “those freaky tentacle things scrape the top of your mouth and make you BLEED”, but I kept going back to what Kamran and I always say about challenging foods, which is that anything you’re being served in a fine dining establishment is edible at the very least and more than likely is actually life-changingly delicious.

This morning, Kamran announced out of nowhere in the midst of my watching “The Biggest Loser” before work, “If you’re not going to eat that shrimp head, you can go ahead and cancel our Ko reservation.”

I said, “I’m going to try to eat it! I really want to eat it! But I can’t control the weird things my brain tells me about eating shrimp eyes! An irrational fear is still a fear!”

And he said, “The way you’re reacting to this is making me seriously consider whether or not you can handle what they’ll serve us at Per Se.”

I said, “Don’t threaten me with Per Se! Shrimp heads are objectively gross!”

And he said, “If you feel that way, cancel the Ko reservation. And while you’re at it, cancel The Wright, too.”

So we broke up.

No, just kidding. So I went to work, and we apologized to each other over IM, and he sent me a more recent review that didn’t include any shrimp heads whatsoever. There’s a chance I might have to eat the dreaded SOFT SHELL CRAB, though. I’m so scared.

27 Responses  
  • Serial writes:
    October 7th, 201010:41 amat


    • plumpdumpling writes:
      October 8th, 20102:59 pmat

      This sounds like a country side dish that might be served alongside chicken-fried steak and grits.

  • Heesa Phadie writes:
    October 7th, 201010:57 amat

    Hahah…hilarious. Eat the darned shrimp heads if they serve it. I’m sure you won’t regret it. I actually love eating crunchy things like that. What a great intercourse between the two of you…I was laughing the whole time. “Don’t threaten me with Per Se! Shrimp heads are objectively gross!”…too good.

    Happy birthday to both of you! How old are you each turning? I can’t wait to hear how Momofuku Ko turns out.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      October 8th, 20104:00 pmat

      As Kamran said, “It’s Momofuku Ko, not some random joint”, so I’m going to try my best to eat them. But I will almost assuredly give them a bad review just for spite. Crunchy, yes! Eyes, no.

      Thanks! I’m still deciding if I’m going to start lying about my age or not, so let’s just say that I’m going to be in my late 20s, and Kamran’s going to be in his early 30s.

  • caropal writes:
    October 7th, 201010:59 amat

    Soft shell crab is delicious. I at mine in a sandwich, though, so I didn’t have to cut it up or anything. There were claws sticking out of my mouth at times, and it was AWESOME.

    • caropal writes:
      October 7th, 201011:04 amat

      ATE mine in a sandwich.
      I spilled coffee on my keyboard last week. I need to proofread for sticky-key-effects, obviously.

      • plumpdumpling writes:
        October 8th, 20104:03 pmat

        I spilled a whole glass of water on my keyboard last week and really expected it to quit working immediately and to hopefully shoot out sparks. It did neither. Electronics are amazing.

        Well, not yours. But mine.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      October 8th, 20104:02 pmat

      That’s what scares me! They look like SPIDER LEGS! I’m even sure I’ll think they’re delicious. I just don’t want to eat SPIDER LEGS.

  • Alison writes:
    October 7th, 201011:35 amat

    I love soft shell crab! Usually there are no eyes there after cleaning. I did a 4-H project with them (crabs not eyes) once in 4-H that I will tell you about _after_ you have them (don’t worry it’s not even that bad of a story, but just in case).
    The shrimp look tasty! Eyes are hard to get past but the little legs look crunchy – in a good way.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      October 8th, 20104:06 pmat

      YES! First mention of 4-H in this blog, and it wasn’t by me! Hott!

      (I can totally imagine there being a 4-H project on eyes available, by the way.)

      I’m going to make sure I don’t re-read this post before next Saturday so I’m not reminded of this story you have to tell me. The legs would be great if they were made of anything but LEG. I keep surprising myself by thinking about how I wouldn’t even mind slurping the brains out of that thing but would totally hate snapping off the legs with my teeth.

  • I’m Not Wrong About Shrimp Heads Being Inherently Gross, Right? — Unapologetically Mundane writes:
    October 7th, 201012:04 pmat

    […] READ IT. […]

  • bluzdude writes:
    October 7th, 20101:39 pmat

    “Shrimp heads shrimp heads/
    Eat them up, yum!”

    Objectively and undisputedly gross. I love shrimp but I’d have to put the kibosh on shrimp heads.

    Surely they serve more than shrimp heads at this establishment? Perhaps you can try the ocelot noses instead.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      October 8th, 20104:17 pmat

      That song was probably sung in my house over a million times while I was growing up.

      I would basically eat any mammal part before any seafood part. It’s a chef’s tasting menu where they serve you whateeeeeeeeever they want to without your prior consent. So while there will definitely be plenty of things I like, they could be a hell of a lot of shrimp heads.

  • Anthony writes:
    October 7th, 20102:21 pmat

    Although they may not appear to be tasty they truly are, the extreme crunchiness and shrimppy flavor makes them one of my favorite things in a good Japanese restaurant. Yes, the tentacles and antennae may scrape the roof of your mouth and sometimes cause bleeding but so can Captain Crunch and several other heavily sugared but yummy breakfast cereals. Mostly they’re just salty crunchy goodness, mostly.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      October 13th, 20108:16 pmat

      Don’t even try to appeal to the crunchy-stuff-lovin’ side of me! I will eat an entire bag of shrimp chips before I eat one of these things.

      And now that Kamran’s apologized over IM for making such a big deal about the shrimp heads, I’m going to print the conversation and whip it out during dinner if one ends up on my plate.

      Also, Cap’n Crunch it’s full of BRAIN GOO AND EYES.

  • Jessica R. writes:
    October 7th, 20102:26 pmat

    I know eating soft shell crab is a mental thing. Because once it gets in your mouth, it’s actually delicious. I have to admit, I really hope you eat the shrimp heads and that they are delicious. Either way… I HAVE TO KNOW.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      October 13th, 20108:19 pmat

      I always think that if I ever find myself in a situation where I have to eat soft shell crab in order to, like, keep some terrorists from kidnapping my sister or something, I’ll just cut each of the legs off first so it’ll look less like a spider.

      But in an Asian-y restaurant, you know they’re not going to have a knife for me, and I’m going to end up hacking at those things with a chopstick. Pretty embarrassing.

  • Tessa writes:
    October 7th, 20102:29 pmat



    PS: Brad says he is fine.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      October 13th, 20108:20 pmat

      Thank you. Maybe I should go vegetarian for the week just to avoid this.


  • Noel writes:
    October 7th, 20103:43 pmat

    Ew. So do you know/remember the part in The Little Mermaid when Ursula slips all of these shrimpish things down her throat and just gobbles them whole? When I was a child, that would freak me out SO much that I am still squeamish about eating any kind of raw and/or whole shrimp to this day. Ew.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      October 13th, 20108:38 pmat

      Ha, I totally do remember that, but it must not have freaked me out at the time, because I was totally eating all sorts of popcorn shrimp as a kid. I don’t know what happened to make me anti-seafood. Maybe it was a later Disney movie, like The Lion King, which just made me want to go on safari and eat all the baby animals.

  • The Pretender writes:
    October 11th, 20107:56 pmat

    Glad you found my blog. In fact I was the guy who went with Chubby to Momo Ko when she did all those drawings.

    With regards to shrimp heads and soft shelled crabs, just close your eyes if you have to. They’re usually fried so well that you won’t be able to tell anything texture-wise other than deep-fried goodness.

  • Bachelor Girl writes:
    October 11th, 201011:29 pmat

    You know I’m an adventurous eater, and you know I love seafood. BUT.

    The Guy loves shrimp heads. LOVES them. And I could only bring myself to taste one teeny, tiny bite.


    And I can’t do soft shell crab. It reminds me too much of eating a tarantula.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      October 13th, 20108:52 pmat

      Wait, so did it actually taste disgusting, or was it a mental thing? Not that a mental thing can’t manifest itself in your tastebuds. Oh, man, now I’m really scared.

      At least I can rest assured that you will now be forced to fry these things up for your husband for the rest of your life.

  • Jenny writes:
    October 13th, 201010:17 amat

    So, this is a few days late, but on The Best Thing I Ever Ate on Food Network, Duff Goldman’s favorite fried thing was…. SHRIMP HEADS! I’d suggest watching it, if you haven’t, and seeing how much he loves them. It’s on the FN site, under best thing show, and the fried episode. Hope this helps! Oh, and I myself have eaten soft shelled crabs, and they are DELICIOUS. Just a ton of crabby goodness. Enjoy!

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      October 13th, 20109:00 pmat

      Okay, I LOVE that he specifically says sarcastically, “Ooooooh, look how crazy I am, eating a shrimp head,” because that’s exactly what I thought before I watched the video. “Yeah, yeah, he’s not even a real chef, so of course he had to try to outdo everyone else on the show.”

      Huh. So, after watching the whole piece, I’m actually slightly . . . interested? . . . in eating one. Oh, god, don’t let Kamran read this. It’s just that I don’t actually mind shrimp flavor anymore . . . and it WOULD be cool to write about . . . if I lived to write about it.

      Thank you, I think.

  • Mark writes:
    October 13th, 20103:24 pmat

    Shrimp heads are one of the best things on earth. I always got them fried at good sushi(like shrimp crisps) restaurants until I tried them grilled as recommended by the sushi chef. Even better. So shrimpy and crunchy and good.

    Also shrimp exoskeleton is one of the only natural sources of glucosomine condroitin in the world. So it is good for your joints.

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