I never really knew how to eat fresh lobster even though I love the taste of it. My way was to hammer it to pieces and dig out the meat with my fingers and whatever instrument I could find on the table – certainly not a pretty sight. All that changed when I visited the Lobster Pound in Halls Harbour, at the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia. My guide Monica talked us through each phase of eating a lobster, from starting at the claws to sucking out the juices in the little claws, separating the back from the body and eating the ‘tomally’ (liver). It was a wonderful experience and the lobster was absolutely the best I’ve ever had.
The tides at the Bay of Fundy
The Lobster Pound is a restaurant at the Halls Harbour Wharf. Everyone comes here for two things – to eat lobster (of course) and to witness the amazing tidal range of which the Bay of Fundy is famous all over the world. The tides are indeed incredible – during the course of two-odd hours, the harbour went from empty (filled with boats lying on their sides or leaning against the walls) to several meters deep!
How to eat fresh lobster – step by step instructions
Ok, back to the lobster! Monica took us through each step meticulously. The first step was to twist off the big claws and crack them open. These are my favourite parts of the lobster – the meat is abundant, easy to get to and supremely tasty. The next step was breaking off the tail from the body. We did this by arching the tail back until it cracked. We then broke off the flippers from the tail and used a little fork to dig out the meat – it’s easier to get it out if you keep the tail arched. The next step was removing the back (shell) from the body. To my surprise, the back came off rather easily. Here’s where you’ll find the ‘tomally’ or the lobster’s liver. Some people swear that this is the best part of the lobster. I wasn’t too enthusiastic – perhaps it’s an acquired taste. I prefer the big claws. The slightly more difficult part followed: breaking the body in two to retrieve the meat there. You basically have to hold the lobster’s body with all your fingers, then use your thumbs to pry open the body. If you do it right, you can get some good chunks of meat here as well. As a final step, we broke off the little claws from the body of the lobster – there are some yummy juices in here which can be sucked out.
A summary can be found on the placemat at the Lobster Pound:
Each of us received a bib which we tied around our necks but to our great surprise, we didn’t make a big mess – not if lobster is eaten the right way.
There were two small dipping bowls at my side, one filled with vinegar and the other with butter, but the lobster was so fresh and tasty, I preferred eating it plain. Here’s the lobster I was served:
It was a great honour for me to learn how to properly eat a fresh lobster in Nova Scotia, easily one of the best lobster areas in the world. I mean, it’s the perfect place for a ‘how to eat lobster’ lesson! Many people view eating a lobster as a tedious process but here in Nova Scotia, the delicious meat just makes you want to keep on going. Moreover, the large chunks of meat you can dig out makes the effort absolutely rewarding.
The biggest lobster I’ve ever seen!
After dinner, we were taken on a short tour of the storage facilities. Our guide explained how lobster is caught and how they’re stored. The highlight was when he showed us his prize catch; easily the biggest lobster I’ve ever seen!
He gave us one tip: if the lobster you’ve ordered is boiled or steamed, it should arrive at your table with its tail curled. A tail that isn’t curled is a sign that the lobster was not fresh at the time it was cooked. This is important because lobsters decompose very rapidly. For this reason, the lobster has to be fresh moments before being cooked (or frozen).