What is Scampi?

by davbel on December 15, 2011

What is Scampi?  A question that according to the annual Google Zeitgeist list is the 2nd most asked “What is…”question.  Being the No.1 Scampi related site in the world I’ve put together a quick “What is Scampi” FAQ to answer all the What is Scampi related questions…

What is Scampi?

Scampi can be many things to many different people, but the true “Scampi” is actually the tail of the “Nephrops Norvegicus” which is more commonly known as the Norway Lobster, Dublin Bay Prawn (although its not a prawn!) or langoustine.  According to Wikipedia, the Nephrops Norvegicus is an orange pink lobster that grows up to 25cm in length and is typically found in the North East Atlantic, the North Sea and parts of the Med.

What Is Scampi

Hi, I'm Scampi. Love Me.

Scampi as defined by the UK Foods Standards agency is the wholetail of the Nephrops Norvegicus,  anything else must be labelled as “reformed Scampi”.

Typically Scampi is lightly coated in breadcrumbs, but can also be coated with batter instead and then deep fried or oven baked.  Normally a serving of Scampi contains multiple Scampi pieces and is served typically with chips (British chips), peas and Tartare Sauce.  It’s important to note that the quantity of Scampi, correctly called the “Scampi Count” can vary massively from establishment to establishment, so it’s necessary to keep a note of the Scampi count and only frequent restaurants where the count is higher than 9. Below are examples of a good Scampi serving and a poor serving.

Scampi and Chips

A typical serving of Scampi and Chips

Above image shows an example of a good Scampi count. This dish has 12 pieces of Scampi and would be considered to be at the higher end of the Scampi Count Scale (SCS).


Really poor serving of Scampi and chips. I'd send this back

This dish contains only two pieces of Scampi and would be a bottom of the SCS. V Poor.

What is Scampi FAQ

What is “Reformed Scampi”?

What is scampi - 1 Prawn Ring

Nothing to do with Scampi, it's the Iceland Prawn Ring!

Poor man’s Scampi.  It’s all the bits that are left over that don’t qualify as Wholetail Scampi.  Think of it as the Scampi equivalent of Spam, Pek or worst still, “luncheon meat”.  You will tend to find that Kerry Kattona types might buy it from Iceland Freezer stores along with their “£1 Prawn Ring”.

What is Scampi, is it made from Prawns?

Not true Scampi as defined by the UK Foods Agency.  The Nephrops Norvegicus is also known as the the Dublin Bay Prawn, but in truth it is more closely related to the Lobster or Crayfish.

How should I store Scampi?

Frozen Scampi should be kept frozen, ideally in a freezer.  However if you live in the polar regions, the outside temperature might be cold enough so you could store your Scampi outside, perhaps on a widow sill or wall, but definitely out of reach of any frozen Scampi loving animals.

How should I cook Scampi?

Oven bake or deep fry it.  Oven bake is the preferred solution as it’s much more healthy, but in any event, I’d strongly advice you follow the instructions as printed on the packaging

Is it Safe to buy Scampi Bites from Iceland?

Probably not.  I wouldn’t.

Are the Americans Correct to call it Shrimp Scampi?

NOOOO, no way, absolutely not.   Remember they invented “Cheese In a Can” and this:

Whole Chicken In A Can

Yes, a whole chicken in a can. WTF?


Pork Brains With Milk Gravy in a can?

Pork Brains With Milk Gravy in a can? OMG!!

Are the French Correct About What Is Scampi?

No. About nothing.  Never.

Scampi N Lemon Nik Naks

Scampi N Lemon Nik Naks. Obviously they are "down wit tha kids" as they use "N", rather than the correct "and"

Are Scampi Nik Naks Made from Scampi?

The short answer is no.  Although Scampi Nik Naks are delightful, they are not actually made from Scampi.  Scampi Nik Naks are a corn or maize based snack that is supposedly flavoured like Scampi.  I can however confirm that they taste nothing like Scampi and if you ever eat some Scampi that tastes anything like that, you should immediately put the contents of your mouth into the bin and seek medical advice.

Scampi Fries

Scampi Fries. Crispy Golden Pillow Shaped Pockets of Scampi? Not really.

Are Scampi Fries made from Scampi?

Although Scampi Fries are the upmarket relation to Scampi Nik Naks, even these delicate golden brown pillow shaped parcels contain 0% Scampi.  But they are nice and much more preferable to Nik Naks.  Although Nik Naks are good too and I enjoy the occasional bag of them, it’s just that as far as Scampi themed snacks are concerned, Scampi Fries are the winner.

Who Invented Scampi?

Some might argue that Scampi was invented, or rather created by God.  Others might tell you it evolved over millions of years, into what we now know as Scampi.  However all these are summations are incorrect.

Scampi was created by Youngs in the UK in 1946.



Hopefully after that little lot, all of your Scampi related questioned have been answered, but if you have any questions that I haven’t covered here in our What Is Scampi?” feature, then feel free to ask and we’ll do our best to answer!


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Fran Hale September 17, 2012 at 6:15 pm


barry newitt November 28, 2016 at 12:28 am

Informative,entertaining and a delight to have a few chuckles whilst receiving the info searched for.Thank you.

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