Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Camarón vs Gamba

Once again, I was stuffing my face with my Spanish amigos (I'm surprised I don't weigh 400lbs by now!), and mi amiga de España taught me a new word - Gamba.

Gamba is apparently the word you need to order shrimp in Spain. I say that you need this word, because she went on to tell me that the word camarón (or camarónes) isn't used in Spain. To be exact, she said no one in Spain will know what you're talking about. Hopefully she was exaggerating, but if she wasn't, at least now you'll be prepared.

As I delved a little deeper into the subject I also got an education on shrimp. It seems that all shrimp are not created equal, and neither are their names:

Langostino: King prawn
Gamba: Prawn
Camarón: Shrimp

I'll leave you to discover the differences between them. As for me, all I need to know is how to ask the waiter to bring me these tasty creatures on a plate.


  1. i prefer calamares! :D

    just wanted to ask, how long have you been learning spanish? without the studying part, of course :)

  2. Hey Sam!

    I've been fooling around with Spanish for about 3-4 years now.

    What about you? And if you don't me asking, how did you come across my blog?

  3. Hi, there are subtle differences between a camarón and a gamba, tough to notice at first hand. A gamba is your common, run-of-the-mill shrimp. A camarón is a Caridea, which is like a small shrimp. They seem similar but are of different species.

    So this is a (type of) gamba:

    whereas this is a camarón:

    By the by, if you ever come to Mexico, nobody will ever understand the "gamba" word; I once went to a fancy, international restaurant with a (spanish) friend who ordered a gamba ("bring me whatever dish is full of gambas") and to his dismay and my delight he was served with gumbo. To this day when I see him I sing him the "jambalaya on the bayou song", haha.

    Finally, in my opinion, both gambas an camarones are extremelly disgusting, I don't know why people eat 'em; I always picture people eating them singing the Hakuna Matata mantra (slimy but tasty, or how did it go?).


  4. the year I was in Spain I only heard
    Langostino y Gambas

  5. Camaron is a kind of shrimp (smaller). This word is used in the south of Spain (Andalucia and Canary Islands) but most of people say 'gamba' for everithing.
    Shrimp: Gamba
    Prawn: Langostino