Is there an easy way to make shrimp tacos without spending a lot of money on ingredients?



702551 March 29, 2018
Another way to reduce the dent in your wallet would be to stretch the shrimp by mixing it with a cheaper product.

Smaug's suggestion is useful.

Another option would be to mix in a quantity of a firm, white-flesh fish that isn't pricey, maybe something like tilapia.
702551 March 29, 2018
Most taco ingredients are inexpensive; remember that tacos originate from Mexico where it is not considered to be fancy cuisine.

Unsurprisingly the cheapest taco ingredients in my area are found at Mexican grocery stores. I can get high-quality commercial tortillas very inexpensively. They are fresh (usually made that day); often the bags are still warm. Other common ingredients such as cilantro, onion, and lime are also modestly priced at these markets. Most will be conventionally farmed which makes them cheaper than organics.

The main variable here is the protein (meat, fish, or seafood typically).

We all accept that seafood is generally more expensive than pork.

For shrimp, you'll have to make your own decision on how/where/what you source as your ingredient based on a multitude of factors, some of which we will cover.

There are many types of shrimp. Typically the ones with better flavor command a higher price, as do live shrimp. If you go to Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, you'll see stands selling maybe 10-20 different kinds of shrimp, many of them alive.

Even the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch app shows over two dozen different kinds of shrimp. The typical American market will only offer a few kinds because the average American consumer isn't a seafood connoisseur and simply sees all of them as generic "shrimp."

Here in the USA, the cheapest shrimp are usually the tiny little bay shrimp. This is usually a precooked, frozen ready-to-eat product. I personally don't care much for bay shrimp, but that will be the cheapest, easy-to-find option.

Most other shrimp are graded by size and the larger ones command a higher price per pound. Since you sticking these in tacos, there is no reason to buy jumbo shrimp at a premium, simply to chop them up.

Also, you have a decision to make concerning sustainability. Shrimp are grown and harvested all over the world, in a wide range of methods. A handful of fisheries are sustainably and responsibly managed. Most are not. They are grown in places that damage the environment, the labor is treated poorly, the shrimp are overfished, etc.

The cheapest shrimp will undoubtedly be from sources with very questionable sustainability. High quality, sustainably and responsibly farmed shrimp will be more expensive.

Use a source like the aforementioned Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch app (or website) to educate yourself more about the various kinds of shrimp and what sustainable options you might have before you make your purchase decision.

Of course, the cheapest way to get great shrimp is to befriend a shrimp farmer or fisherman!


Best of luck.
Smaug March 29, 2018
Mixing cooked shrimp with a jar of red salsa (Pico de Gallo aka Salsa Mexicana, the tomato based type) will make a pretty decent taco filling- other salsas would probably work too.
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