Everday life in Spain Spanish Food and Drink

Sucking the Brains Out of Prawns

prawns, Spain

Update: in retrospect wish I’d waited until April 2nd to publish this, as it may be met with some scepticism today, but people really DO do this! Besides, December 28th, ‘El dia de los inocentes’ is joke day here in Spain, not April 1st.

My Spanish wife Marina, who many of you will know from our videos and podcasts, has, like her mother and endless other Spanish people, a most alarming approach to eating prawns.

I’m talking about the prawns that are cooked as they come, and need careful peeling to reveal the, to my mind, evil tasting nugget of white flesh inside. The first maneuver in this peeling process involves pulling off the head, and while most people will discard this immediately (often straight onto the floor if standing at a bar), Marina will raise prawn-head to mouth and, with an almighty swoooooosh, suck out it’s fried little brains.

Ben: “Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuchhhhh, how can you DO that?!”

Marina: “Shut up! Joder, It’s the best bit!”

OK, so clearly I can’t say I’ve tried sucking the brains out of prawns, so don’t really have a leg to stand on, but I do know this:


Prawn-brain sucking is up there with eating pig jowls, lamb brains, and anything’s testicles. It’s a psychological barrier that just isn’t going to be crossed!

Then again I used to say that about Morcilla, pigs-blood-sausages, some stuffed with rice, all rather delicious.

The question is: Would YOU suck the brains out of prawns?

Note about this post: This is a short excerpt from a new book I’m writing, that tells the story of our last few years in Spain, and covers many of the things, like this, that make Spain so Spain. To help with the writing process, and to be first to find out when the book is ready, sign up for our newsletter in the top right-hand corner of this page.