Ground Shrimp Sightings!


This Friday, and for the next couple of Fridays until Easter, many of the Mexicans in LA will be trying very hard not to eat any animals. Err, make that land animals, since it’s open season on the water loving critters! It’s supposed to be part of a yearly ritual involving some crazy vato named Jes√∫s, but I think it might also be gang related.

Whatever the case, you’ll notice many of the finer restaurants frequented by Mexicans will be prominently featuring seafood dishes on the menu, like the 1.29 fish sandwich at Jack in the Box. But if you happen to be at a real Mexican restaurant, (i.e., one frequented by Mexicans) you might want to ask if they have the wonderfully simple dish of “Tortas de Camaron” (Tohr-tahs deh Kah-mah-roen), a seasonal delicacy of fried ground shrimp and egg, covered in a spicy red chile sauce and tender nopalitos, yum! Something about that sharp beachy flavor of the ground shrimp mingling with the other earthy ingredients, makes me quite content in temporarily giving up my vegetarian diet. It’s rarely on the actual menu (if you’re lucky you might spot a mention on a hand drawn sign) as it doesn’t get much respect, it’s just something you expect to eat during lent, so you’re expected to ask for it.

It’s considered a poor persons dish so it doesn’t get much notice outside the places that make it, kinda like how mac and cheese used to be, but I bet some adventurous readers (and eaters) of this site might want to know about the seasonal tortitas de camaron. It’s easy to find this plate on the Eastside but I’m sure there must be places that supply it west of the LA River as well, just ask around. Don’t make me go out there to find ’em!

P.S. I wrote about this dish last year on my site and did some reviews, in case you want some suggestions from places to find it in LH.

6 thoughts on “Ground Shrimp Sightings!”

  1. Wow I always thought it was Tar-tahs duh Kah-mah-roooooooney. What an idiot I am. Thanks for straightening out this salty gringo’s bad pronunciation El Chah-voh! :)

  2. I love this…one of the most entertaining posts in here in a bit. As a recovering catholic I am sure more than a few popes are spinning in their graves over the “vato” reference. The food of poverty is most commonly called “comfort food” and that looks really good!

  3. Man, I love shrimp and I love Mexican food, but for some reason the idea of “ground shrimp” is just not going down well. I think I have to go find some so the tastiness can quell my doubts.

  4. If only El Chavo could correct all the bad sounding Spanish we hear around these parts, starting with the way most people pronounce the city!

    I haven’t had tortas de camar√≥n yet this Lenten season, but remember thinking when I was a kid that they certainly didn’t look shrimp. I like ’em with frijoles de la olla (I’m not a fan of too much chile).

  5. Will,
    That’s funny, I do hear some of my gaba friends pronounce it as camaroooney, probably cuz the plural of camarones lend itself to that sound.

    Somehow I think comfort food for the rich might not include shrimp powder!

    Yeah, it’s an acquired taste, but it might hit you in the right spot, you never know! Or you might retch, it’s all good.

    Not a fan of chile!?! Have the reps for Taco Bell been working you over? ;)

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