If you’re a lover of seafood, get ready to have your world changed by ama ebi – ebi shrimps. This sweeter variation on shrimp will surprise and delight you. If you’re a fan of raw international delicacies, you would do well to try amaebi. Read on to find out more.

Amaebi come from very deep in the ocean. It is said that their natural habitat is somewhere between 500 and 1,000 feet below the surface in of the ocean. That’s pretty deep! They have a soft texture coupled with a flavor that is delicious and lingering. Their flesh is tinted red which has garnered them the second name Akaebi. You can get them in many places, but amaebi from Hokkaido taste best.

One thing to know about amaebi is that it is a distinct shrimp because it is served raw. Yes! Completely uncooked. It has an appealing and appetizing taste. Like other seafood, Amaebi has a lot of nutritional benefits. Most enjoy it in sushi form.

Sweet Shrimps – All you need to know

Sweet shrimps are delicacies named for their tantalizing and finger-licking taste. They are either called amaebi, sweet shrimp or spot prawns. Unlike most meals which become delicious only after being cooked, sweet shrimps are adversely affected when cooked. Amaebi is special in that it is naturally and instinctively delicious; hence, they are served raw.

The Canadian Pacific houses sweet shrimps with a particularly swift reproduction rate. Apart from the Canadian Pacific, which is ranked as the location that has the best shrimps’ species, the Pacific of the U.S is almost just as good.

Strangely, shrimps are hermaphrodites, that is, they start out as males and become females later in life. Sweet shrimps are scooped up at the early phase of their lives when they are still males. This is so because in that state, they are at the apex of their sweetness. They are served in twos because of their small size.

Although the females are also eaten, they are not the main priority because their sweetness doesn’t match that of the males. The Japanese sometimes cook the female of the species at the time when they are bearing eggs, as the eggs contribute a sweet flavor to the shrimp.

To recognize healthy sweet shrimps, check for two things: they should be translucent and semi-transparent or clear. Sweet shrimps that are pink or which have their tails curving into their bodies are not good to eat. The best amaebi have little to no black spots on their heads.

Preparation of Sweet Shrimp

If I may say, sweet shrimp is ambrosial; in other words, delicious. I know you might be baffled by the fact that sweet shrimps are served raw. You can cook them, sure, but if you do, you must ensure that it does not stay long in the heat, because the texture and the flavor will rapidly deteriorate.

Sweet shrimps can be served with sushi or vinegar rice, ginger or wasabi. The head has a particularly exotic taste compared to the other parts. They are sometimes fried with potato starch and eaten as a delicacy with the tail.

Health-wise, this dish has a strong footing.

Per piece, sweet shrimp contains 6.3 grams of protein, about 60 calories and low-fat content. These nutritional benefits are only given when eaten uncooked.

Live amaebi should not be exposed to tap water. The chlorine present in the water kills them.

What Do Sweet Shrimps Tastes Like?

Now that we’ve gone into amaebi and their various traits, let’s get into what this delicacy really tastes like.

As with one’s first encounter with any seafood, this is bound to taste strange at first, and it’s difficult to know the taste without experiencing it. But the closest point of reference is sweetness. Personally, I feel it has a juicy taste and sweetness. Others would say differently, however.

Those who have eaten many different species of sweet shrimps claim that the shrimp tastes different based on its ocean of origin. Yes — its being Canadian or Japanese has an influence on its taste. Imagine what a taste-test would be like, with a whole line of amaebi from different parts of the ocean!

Sweet shrimp have the taste of fresh ocean.

Some claim that they have the taste of fish with a small chicken taste. Others have had it prepared crunchy by the chef, which would necessarily change everything. The world of amaebi is evidently vast and multitudinous. It is also important to state that the longer the sweet shrimp stays in the freezer, the more the taste changes.

All in all, though, the majority consensus states that sweet shrimps have the taste of fresh oceans, fish and a little taste of chicken. Above all, the fact is this: the better the chef, the better it tastes.

What Are the Health Benefits of Sweet Shrimps (Amaebi)?

Sure, sweet shrimp tastes good; but what about the nutritional benefits of this delicacy?

Most kinds of seafood are very nutritious; they aid the functioning of the body in various ways. For fans of seafood, sweet shrimps are particularly beloved due to the fact that they are nutritious and have superb taste. Below are some of the benefits of sweet shrimp.

  • Reduced Calories: A sweet shrimp contains about seven calories. Smaller shrimps have a higher caloric content than big sweet shrimp.  If you are watching your calories, it’s better to have bigger shrimps rather than the smaller ones.
  • Good at Preserving Skin, Nails and Hair: Shrimp has a lot of protein which aids in the preservation, development and betterment of the nails, skin and hair. Eat sweet shrimp: keep looking beautiful.
  • Anemia Prevention: As we all know, a deficiency of red blood cells can lead to several negative effects such as weariness and pallor. The intake of sweet shrimps prevents the under-performance and damage of red blood cells in the body.
  • Energy Booster: Shrimp consumption will consistently intensify one’s performance level in every activity. This is because it contains iron which is one of the best methods of increasing your energy.
  • Nutritional in Nature: Shrimps have minerals which develop and enhance our immune system. They also provide antioxidants, useful for countering cancer-causing free radicals.
  • Fat Processor: Sweet shrimps also contain vitamin B3 which is a fat processor. Not only that, it processes proteins and carbohydrates into energy. Vitamin B3 is also an active protector of the skin.
  • Helps With Depression: Omega-3 and fatty acids in amaebi help with depression and restore your gleeful mood.
  • Prevents Aging Prematurely: Sweet shrimps have a good number of carotenoids which are known as astaxanthin. This carotenoid is good for the prevention of aging skin. It is an attacker of any substance that induces premature aging. Shrimps contain different types of healthy fat. Yes, you are heard right: healthy fat. They are omega-6, monounsaturated fat, omega-3 and polyunsaturated fat.
  • Fights Against Cancer: Prostate cancer is prevented with the intake of shrimp. According to scientific research, human beings need a 48% selenium intake daily. A shortage of this substance increases the risk of cancer.
  • Weight Loss: Shrimp is perfect for those trying to cut down on pounds because it has zinc, protein, fat, carbohydrates and magnesium.
  • Keeps Brain Healthy: Shrimp has iron which is of great importance to the brain. Where there’s good blood-flow, there’s ample oxygen going around, aiding the performance of the brain.

Culinary Tips for Shrimp

One of the things you should avoid is frying the shrimps. Frying may taste good every else, but it takes away and extract the nutritional benefits you would gain from sweet shrimps. Steaming works, as it does away with some of the cholesterol. Barbecuing tends to do the same, as well, and it preserves the nutritional contents.

How to Prepare Sweet Shrimps (Amaebi) For Sushi

Are you keen on finding out how to cook sweet shrimp?  Let’s have a look!

I am sure your curiosity about amaebi has been piqued, and you’re probably researching local Japanese restaurants to see if they serve this miraculous fish. Well, what if I told you you can prepare it yourself? The world is your oyster! Try everything once. With sweet shrimp, you can do it how you like, whether you end up with raw shrimp sushi or a cooked meal.

  1. Straighten the shrimp with one hand, then with your other hand, put a skewer (wooden) in between the shell and the body. As you have done for the first shrimp, do the same for others.
  2. Put a little salt inside a pot of boiling water, then place the shrimp to cook for about 30-35 seconds. Then carefully, stir the shrimp in the pot to ensure it is evenly cooked. Afterwards, stop the cooking of the shrimp and place it in an ice bath.
  3. Peel the shrimp, remove from skewers and remove the tail and shell.
  4. On a cutting board, lay the shrimp and get a knife to cut off a small portion of the head and the tail. Open up the body like a butterfly.
  5. Place each shrimp in a bowl of ice water to remove every remnant like shells, veins and other unnecessary dirt. Then dry the sides of the shrimp before placing on sushi.

Ebi Sashimi

One cannot talk about amaebi without mentioning Ebi sashimi (one of the most popular ways of having amaebi).

Ebi sashimi is a sliced raw food. It is a very popular meal in Japan. Most seafood is always eaten as sashimi, but some other meats are also served as sashimi. Sashimi and sushi are two different delicacies that are always confused with each other. Unlike sushi, Ebi sashimi does not contain vinegared rice.

Sashimi can be found in various restaurants, particularly in places known as izakaya — pubs in Japan which serve food, catering to those who want a drink or a snack after work. Shrimp sashimi is also close to ebi nigiri; when shrimp is prepared for nigiri, the first thing to do is to cook the shrimp, peel and remove remnants. Then the cooked skewer is put into the shell for straightening. Then the skewer would be removed and the shrimp placed on your rice.

Types of Sashimi

There are various types of sashimi. Some are more popular than the others. The popular ones can be found everywhere in Japan.

  1. Maguro: Maguro can be gotten in most restaurants that sell sashimi. Almost all parts of the fish are consumed. Akami is the most popular part of the fish. It is the reddish, lean loin of the fish. After the akami the next-most popular is the fatty meat, which comes in two degrees. Maguro is always served in two grades which are chutoro and otoro meaning premium and medium, respectively.
  2. Sake or Salmon: Salmon is also a variety of fish which is made as sashimi. It has a glowing flesh which is delicious, tender and fatty.
  3. Saba: Saba is mostly served grilled when it is in season. Saba is always available for sale in sashimi restaurants. Its flesh is oily which makes it have a smooth texture and a distinctive, bold taste.
  4. Kat suo: a major additive for fish stock, kat suo is a vital variety of fish in Japanese cuisine. Like others, it is served as sashimi, but it is also popular as a dish called katsu no takaki.
  5. Amaebi (shrimp): Out of all the varieties of shrimps present in Japan, the most popular, reputable and most served is amaebi. Amaebi contains a sweet and fishy flavor. When served, most parts of its shell are not present, but their tails are left intact as many people love the tail. Niigata and Hokkaido have the highest consumption of sweet shrimp.

Ingredients for Preparing Sashimi

Some ingredients with which you can prepare sashimi are salmon, sake, sea urchin (uni), scallop (hamachi), shrimp, ebi, tuna, fatty tuna (otoro), tabo (octopus) and aji (horse mackerel). Other ingredients apart from the aforementioned are:

Vegetables As:

  • Avocado: it is mostly served as avocado sashimi because its texture is very close to fatty salmon.
  • Bamboo shoots.
  • Japanese radish: out of all the types of vegetables used, the flavor of this vegetable is better than others especially when used immediately after harvest.
  • Konnyaku/yamafugu.
  • Yuba.

You can also make sashimi with meats such as pork, wild meat, mimigaa (cooked pork’s eats) beef, poultry, offal, okinawa (goat meat), chiragaa and horse meat. Sashimi is a very versatile dish!


If I haven’t convinced you to try amaebi (sweet shrimp), then nothing will. Remember: not only is it delicious and loved by everyone in Japan, the country of sushi, it is also packed with nutrients. What can go wrong? Try this mouthwatering seafood!


Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.

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