Scallops are available at Whole Foods Market or any grocery store with a good fish selection. While fresh scallops may be harder to find, frozen scallops are very common. Some butchers sell seafood. Look for speciality fishmonger shops as well. Ethnic markets often have a wider selection of seafood than other grocery stores.
To buy the freshest scallops and other seafood available, the website LocalCatch.org allows users to search through their database for local fresh-caught seafood. Select a species and search radius, and the site displays the results in order of distance. Fresh sea scallops are more common near Atlantic coastal regions.
Scallops are available in several forms, such as wet-packed, dry-packed, diver-caught and frozen. They are available in the shell or shucked and cleaned. Dry-packed and diver-caught scallops are usually of higher quality than wet-packed. Frozen scallops undergo texture and flavor changes that many chefs find unacceptable. Bay scallops are a smaller, sweeter variety of sea scallop.
Look for scallops that are moist, firm and uniform pearly-white in color. Avoid scallops that are soaking wet or completely dry, mangled or mutilated scallops, or scallops that have a strong fishy odor. Damage of this sort is evidence of improper handling.