Lent is when seafood is consumed more than any other time of the year.

A spike in delivery orders for seafood can be expected over the weekend as Catholics all over the Philippines abstain from eating meat. As this year’s Holy Week is spent indoors due to COVID-19 and the enhanced community quarantine, how will this affect the number of orders for seafood delivery? How will restaurants respond to the challenges of seafood delivery? Here are some useful tips for possible seafood runs. 

Fish and shellfish

As a general rule, cooked seafood should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours. For cold seafood like sushi and sashimi, you can place the container in a plastic bag with ice to make sure it stays fresh. 

Overcooked fish can be tough, dry or flavorless. When preparing fish for delivery, take into account that after being removed from the hot pan, fish will continue to cook so delivery time has to be scheduled wisely to ensure that the fish won’t arrive overcooked. If fried, it is best to separate the fish from the sauce or dressing so it does not become soggy. 

For clams, mussels, and oysters, check each piece thoroughly. These shellfish open their shells once cooked so make sure to get rid of pieces that are not open to minimize the risk of food poisoning.

Scallops and shrimps

If refrigerated, cooked shrimps are safe to eat for up to three to four days. You can prepare shrimps in advance and when the time for delivery comes, you can simply reheat it before combining it with other ingredients. 

Like shrimps, scallops are safe to eat for up to two to three days as long as they are refrigerated. Once reheated and assembled with other ingredients, it shouldn’t stay at room temperature for more than two hours so delivery time has to be less than that. However, if scallops look and feel slimy when left at room temperature for less than two hours, it’s best to get rid of it. 

Lobsters and crabs

Both lobsters and crabs are safe to eat up to at least two days when refrigerated and stored in an airtight container. These are two seafoods that you can prepare beforehand as prep time can take some time. 

Once cooked, lobsters and crabs only remain fresh for an hour at room temperature, so either plan the delivery time around that window or refrigerate them immediately if they have been cooked for advanced preparation. 

For lobster that has been shelled and is going to be served with other dishes, it should be wrapped tightly with foil to create an odor barrier. Lobsters can be wrapped or packaged with their sauces or dressing—it will not affect the texture of the meat nor will it make it soggy. However, it will be up to the restaurant to decide if this will be an efficient and clean way to package a lobster for delivery.