Is there anything "wrong" with farmed/frozen or processed prawns sold in Australian supermarkets? Not really, no. But there is a taste difference , and it can be a HUGE one. When prawns are processed and frozen the fresh water crystalizes in & around the flesh and dilutes the taste. Plus when they actually came out of the water or pond is literally anyone's guess.
Prawns should taste salty and sweet. When they come to us from the trawlers, they have been caught straight from the salt water, cooked, iced and driven to our cool room.
Sydney Rocks and Pacifics are as similar as beef & lamb. They both come out of an oyster shell, but that's where the differences begin. The Pacific oyster grows bigger and faster, however the taste is more bland. The Sydney Rock is creamier, more concentrated and more robust in flavor.
Interestingly, the Pacific Oyster was outlawed in NSW when it first infiltrated our waters in the 1980s. In an attempt to "save" the Sydney Rock, the Government declared that any crop containing more than 10% Pacific oyster catch would have to be removed from Port Stephens waters and burned. It was like burning someone's house down because there were too many carrots in the tomato patch.
The lunacy of that approach led to the destruction of millions of oysters, sticks, & trays, and the financial ruin of countless farmers. The surviving farmers discovered that taking the crops out of the water for 4 or 5 days would kill the Pacific catch, but the Rock Oysters would survive to go back in the water.
The cost of this practice for those who remained was huge and more farms failed under the weight of constant crop movements. Ironically the Government later abandoned the regulation and allowed Pacific oysters to be farmed and sold. This relief came years too late for some of Australia's oldest producers however and the industry was changed for ever.
Prawns come off the boats in either graded or ungraded batches. What does that mean?
Ungraded prawns means whatever comes out of the nets goes into the boxes, regardless of size.
The grading process removes small prawns leaving only decent sized individuals in the catch. So for example, you can pay a couple of dollars less per kilo, but have a percentage of your purchase that's too small to peel and eat. We don't like seeing people pay for product they cant use so we work with trawler owners who use a grading process on their boats. The only thing you want to throw away is the shells!