New culinary innovations may soon be bringing shrimp to the kosher kitchen — or at least, the next best thing.
US company New Wave Foods has developed a vegetarian alternative to the strictly non-kosher dish, made primarily of red algae and a plant-based protein powder.
The company claims their product, titled “Shr!mp,” has the same taste, and even the same texture and shape, as the original.
Founders Dominique Barnes and Michelle Wolf originally envisioned Shr!mp as a sustainable means to combat the environmental damages of the shrimping trade as well as its human rights abuses: The industry is said to employ hundreds of de-facto slaves in developing countries to peel the delicacy for Western markets.
But a secondary upshot of this is that observant Jews worldwide may soon be able to begin enjoying the kosher alternative to one of the food products they’ve always been denied.
Shr!mp is expected to become available in 2017, and several UK kosher restaurants have already said they will serve it, as long as it gets certification.
“You can already buy kosher versions of crab sticks, so why not?” Sam Kay of White House Express told the Jewish Chronicle. “As times and trends change, so does the kosher palate which is now much more extensive than it once was.”
But several rabbis also warned that there would still need to be a discussion on whether the substitute was halachically acceptable.
“There are some moral questions that need to be answered. Firstly, is it right to get around the Jewish tradition in this way?” Berkshire Rabbi Jonathan Romain told the Daily Mail.
“Secondly, there is the problem of giving the wrong impression. If you are in a restaurant eating this, you know you are eating fake shrimp — but someone else might look over and think you are eating the real thing. They might then get the impression it is acceptable to do so.”