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Balmain bug salad

This salad is a specialty of Sydney. Contrary to what any may might think, balmain bugs are not insects. Balmain bugs are a type of slipper lobster, not a true lobster, but they have a taste and texture similar to the real one.

If you cannot find balmain bugs, which are usually sold in fish markets along Australian eastern coast, especially Sydney, any crustacean will be a boog substitute. Substitute balmain bugs with prawns, shrimp, crab or lobster - use 1 lobster, cooked and prepared for this recipe.


2 t yogurt
1⁄2 clv garlic (finely chopped)
1 c tomato (cherry tomatoes, washed)
12 balmain bug (cooked and prepared)
1 T lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
1 onion (optional, red onion, sliced)
1 avocado (large, ripe, peeled and chopped)
1⁄2 c edamame (or mangetout, or snow peas)
2 T basil (optional, fresh leaves)
1 c salad leaves (optional, or to taste)
  seasoning (salt and pepper to taste)


Prepare the dressing

Make the dressing with yogurt, a little garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. Mix all the ingredients, whisking briskly to make an even emulsion. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

Mix the salad

Remove the meat from the balmain bugs and chop roughly. Toss in a bowl with cherry tomatoes, edamame or snow peas, avocado, onion alnd basil, if using.


Distribute the salad salad (if using) between two plates, place some balmain bug salad on top drizzle over the dressing. You are ready to serve!

Total time
20 minutes
Cooking time
Preparation time
2 servings


Balmain bugs are common in the fish markets along the eastern Australian coast. At 4 in (20 cm), they look like over sized prawns with a shape similar to a trilobites. The tail is the edible part, like prawns; heads and bodies can be used for stock. The meat is as sweet as prawns, texture slightly firmer than prawns.

Substitute balmain bug with cooked prawns, lobster or crab, peeled and chopped.


Australian cuisine

Slipper lobsters or shovel-nosed lobsters are related to balmain bugs.

very easy, healthy
salads, main course
Australia food recipes

Other Australian recipes