All About Scallops And How To Know You’re Getting The Real Deal

"Scallop" is the term applied to the meaty portion of clams or mollusks. As one of the more popular kinds of seafood, it can often be imitated or overpriced. Read on to learn more about scallops to ensure that you are getting the real deal every time.

The two most common types of scallops are the bay scallop and the sea scallop. Bay scallops are smaller - usually a half inch wide with a pale pink or light beige coloring and a soft texture. Sea scallops are much larger - commonly two inches in diameter and chewier than bay scallops but still tender. Most sea scallops are harvested via machinery, but diver sea scallops are harvested by hand. Divers sifting through the water’s floors is safer for the environment but also poses a higher price tag on the scallops found.

When purchasing scallops in the market, look for packages that are marked with a “U” and a range of numbers signifying the number of scallops per pound. As noted above, diver sea scallops will be pricier than other scallops and more bay scallops can be purchased per pound than sea scallops due to their differing sizes. Scallops can also be packaged in two different ways - wet-packed or dry-packed. Wet-packed scallops are packaged in a brine solution so as to extend their shelf life. There is nothing wrong with purchasing wet-packed scallops, just be sure to rinse them well before use. Dry-packed scallops are fresher and packaged without any solution, so they need to be used soon upon purchase.

Keep in mind when purchasing scallops that scallops are in fact animals. As the meat portion of bivalves (clams, oysters, mussels), no two scallops will be shaped the same. They should all differ in size and have distinct grain patterns. Fake scallops will all look identical, usually as perfect cylinders, and be more solid and dense because they are cut out of a mold. Imitation scallops can be found in stores and should be properly labeled as such.

If you are looking to have scallops with your meal, try NoJa where they can be added to a steak or purchased as a meal with delicious Gulf shrimp. It’s NoJa’s attention to detail and our focus on farm-fresh ingredients that has allowed us to continue to serve this area for so long. For an intimate meal in one of the Port City’s longest-running restaurants in Downtown Mobile, make a reservation to NoJa. We have both indoor and outdoor seating in a secluded area, just steps from Dauphin Street in LODA at 6 N. Jackson Street. To reserve a table now, call 251-433-0377. Learn more about our cuisine and offerings at or on our Facebook page.

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