Daily routine at Las Ballenas beach are the fishermen with their catch of the day.
It appears that Dominican fish are far more tastier in Samana (north coast) where they swim in competition with the Atlantic ocean waves instead of wallowing in the tepid Caribbean sea of the south. Las Terrenas is also the place to be for a surfeit of lobster.
Seeing all this fresh and divine seafood that is leaping out of the Caribbean every day, I really wondered what we were eating?! This is the Dominican Republic and things slightly differ from Spain. Yes the fish-names were in Spanish, but they by no means matched the ones I’ve come across before in Latin American countries or Spain. Like e.g. in the Dominican a “red snapper” is called a chillo. In Mexico the same is huachinango – a classic of the Veracruz cuisine. Is it langosta or is it langostino? That’s the question and that was a bit confusing.
The translation of lobster is langosta! But which lobster? I had some heavy “lobster” discussions with a french sous-chef of a local restaurant. He stated that a Caribbean lobster is what they in France call a langouste. In English that that could translate as a crayfish, but for me that was a river thing. After sending some images it became more clear to me. The sous-chef stated: “That’s a caribbean spiny lobster”.
The well known Maine lobster is different. Maine lobster is one the most delicious treat of every summer season and beyond. And there’s even a way to take the taste to a higher level, and that’s by making it Maine!? For Maine Lobster is probably one of the sweetest, most flavorful lobster one can have. It’s been an integral part of the coastal region for decades—not only is it sustainably harvested, but the fishery also sustains the coastal communities of Maine.
And during the hotter months of the year bring a special, seasonal treat: the New Shell Lobster, this is a softer-shelled Maine catch harvested between the months of June and November. Their taste recalls the crisp, cold, clean waters off the coast of Maine, with a texture that is tender and a flavor sweeter than many other lobster around.
And here’s another one, alive and kicking, straight out of the lagoons in southwest of the DomRep, the Laguna del Rincon. We call this crayfish. Hmm! Weird.
Langostino, to me and perhaps you too, aka a baby lobster (or crayfish?) came at its best at a very basic beach restaurant near Las Galeras on the Playa de Rincon. I’ll confess to actually having felt slightly nauseous after consuming a hugely generous portion of langostinos. Caught minutes before in the ocean, boiled and grilled, the sweet little things bathed in a lush, rich sauce of cream, garlic, thyme and parsley – plus other ingredients that will remain forever a secret to me. But what an experience this was. Plus the vibe was really very cool, a gentle breeze blew in from the Atlantic and the handpicked coconut to kick off was perfect.
But in the end, is it that important how we linguistic label things? You say shrimp, we say prawn. Does it taste different, probably not!