The Ultimate Guide to Amaebi: Discovering the Exquisite Flavor of Sweet Shrimp

Shrimps called amaebi are becoming more and more well-liked among sushi fans. The word “amaebi” means “sweet shrimp” in Japanese, which is appropriate given that this particular species of shrimp has a very sweet flavor that distinguishes it from other varieties. Amaebi is frequently served raw in nigiri, sashimi, or other dishes.

Japanese sweet shrimps sushi or ama ebi sushi with wooden plate

Although it can be prepared in a number of ways, including as grilling or shrimp tempura, it is most frequently consumed raw.

The head is frequently fried and served alongside the raw body, while the tail and body are usually served whole.

A kind of shrimp known as an amaebi thrives in the Canadian Pacific’s deep waters.

They are located 500 to 2000 feet under the surface. People who are concerned about overfishing should be aware that there are plenty available, allowing you to indulge guilt-free.

The sustainability of the sushi is less at risk because they are a highly productive species.

Everything you need to know about amaebi, including its taste, preparation, and where to acquire it, will be covered in this article.

What is Amaebi?

Shrimp of the amaebi variety are highly prized in Japanese cooking.

Nigiri sushi Amaebi arranged on a tray

The Japanese word “amaebi” (which translates to “sweet shrimp”) describes this seafood, which is prized for its delicate flavor and sensitive texture.

The unique white dots on its tail have earned it the name “spot prawn” at times as well.

Amaebi is frequently served raw in the form of sashimi or nigiri sushi, although it can also be grilled or fried.

When eaten as sushi, it frequently comes with wasabi, soy sauce, and occasionally ginger. Being a delicacy, the shrimp head is frequently fried and eaten with the tail.

The limited availability of amaebi—typically from late spring to early summer—is one of its distinctive qualities.

This is due to the fact that it is a cold-water fish that is taken from the deep waters off the Canadian coast. It is highly valued in Japanese cuisine due to its scarcity and high demand.

Amaebi must have a bright red color, a firm texture, clear eyes, and a clean, oceanic smell when being chosen.

For optimal freshness and flavor, it should be kept on ice and consumed right away.

Overall, because of its distinct flavor and texture, amaebi is a highly sought-after component in Japanese cuisine.

Due to its high demand and limited supply, it is a cherished delicacy that will delight any sushi enthusiast.

Amaebi Varieties

Shrimp of the amaebi variety, usually referred to as sweet shrimp, are frequently offered in sushi restaurants.

RAW sweet shrimp nigiri sushi

Amaebi comes in a number of different kinds, each with a special flavor and texture.

Sweet Shrimp

Spot prawns, another name for sweet shrimp, are a variety of amaebi that are highly prized for their delicate texture and sweet flavor.

Close up of sashimi of Alaskan pink shrimp (amaebi) from Hokkaido.

Usually collected in the wild, these shrimp are frequently served raw as sashimi or nigiri.

The fact that sweet shrimp are sweetest early in their life cycle is one of their distinctive characteristics.

They are often caught at this young, vulnerable stage, which gives them their sensitive texture and sweet flavor.

Sweet shrimp are frequently served as sashimi with the head still on. This is due to the head’s presence of a creamy, delicious material that sushi lovers strongly value.

The heads may even be deep-fried and served as a distinct dish at some sushi establishments.

Overall, sushi aficionados greatly value sweet shrimp for its distinctive flavor and texture.

Sweet shrimp is always a hit, whether it is presented as sashimi, nigiri, or in a sushi roll.

Amaebi in Japanese Cuisine

Sweet shrimp, also known as amaebi, is a common component in Japanese cooking. As amaebi sashimi, amaebi sushi, or amaebi nigiri, it is frequently served raw.

fresh amaebi

The Japanese terms ama, which means sweet, and ebi, which means shrimp, are combined to form the phrase amaebi.

The texture and sweet, delicate flavor of amaebi are highly regarded. To improve its flavor, it is typically served with wasabi and soy sauce.

In rare instances, the amaebi’s fried shells and heads are also offered to give a little crunch to the dish.

Amaebi is typically captured in chilly waters throughout the winter when the water temperature decreases, like those around Hokkaido.

It is also well-liked as pink shrimp and spot prawns. The two most prevalent amaebi species are California spot prawns (Pandalus platyceros) and northern shrimps (Pandalus borealis).

Amaebi is a common ingredient in many Japanese meals, including sushi, sashimi, tempura, and soup. Additionally, it is used as a garnish for foods like grilled fish or soba noodles.

Amaebi is a flexible ingredient that can be utilized in many different ways thanks to its sweet and delicate flavor.

Amaebi Nutrition and Health Benefits

Amaebi, sometimes referred to as sweet shrimp or spot prawns, are a favorite component of sushi and other Japanese cuisine.

Amaebi shrimp sushi Japanese style

Lean protein, which is important for maintaining and regenerating muscle tissue, is present in good amounts in it. Raw amaebi has only 60 calories per 1-ounce serving and about 6.3 grams of protein.

A mineral necessary for healthy bones and teeth, phosphorus is another nutrient found in abundance in amaebi along with protein.

Approximately 10% of the daily required intake of phosphorus for adults is provided by a 1-ounce serving of raw amaebi.

Amaebi also contains a lot of vitamin B12, which is necessary for DNA synthesis and healthy neurological function.

Raw amaebi provides around 40% of the adult daily requirement for vitamin B12 in a 1-ounce serving.

Amaebi is also a good option for folks who are watching their fat intake because it is low in saturated fat. With only 0.2 grams of carbohydrates per 1-ounce serving, it is also low in carbohydrates.

Overall, amaebi is a wholesome dish that offers a variety of essential nutrients for the body.

It is a fantastic option for people looking for a high-protein, low-calorie snack that can enhance their general health and wellbeing.

NutrientAmount per 1-ounce serving
Protein6.3 grams
Fat0.5 grams
Carbohydrates0.2 grams
Phosphorus10% of daily value
Vitamin B1240% of daily value

Frequently Asked Questions

Alaskan pink shrimp (amaebi) sashimi from Hokkaido

What is amaebi?

Amaebi is a type of shrimp that is found in cold waters, primarily in the northern Pacific Ocean. It is known for its sweet taste and delicate texture, which makes it a popular ingredient in sushi and sashimi dishes.

How is amaebi prepared?

Amaebi can be served raw or cooked, depending on the dish. It is often served as sashimi or nigiri, where it is thinly sliced and served with soy sauce and wasabi. It can also be cooked in a variety of ways, including grilling, sautéing, or boiling.

Is amaebi sustainable?

Amaebi is considered a sustainable seafood choice, as it is abundant in the wild and is not overfished. However, it is important to choose amaebi that has been caught using sustainable fishing methods, such as trap or pot fishing, to minimize the impact on the environment.

What are the nutritional benefits of amaebi?

Amaebi is a good source of lean protein and contains essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B12 and phosphorus. It is also low in saturated fat and calories, making it a healthy addition to any diet.

How does amaebi compare to other types of shrimp?

Amaebi is known for its sweet taste and delicate texture, which sets it apart from other types of shrimp. It is also typically larger in size than other shrimp species, such as tiger shrimp or white shrimp.

Fresh Amaebi (Sweet Shrimp) Sashimi Set served with wasabi


A form of sweet shrimp that is widely prized in Japanese cuisine is called amaebi, to sum up. It can be grilled or fried, but it’s typically served raw in dishes like sashimi, sushi, or nigiri.

Sushi enthusiasts adore amaebi because of its distinctively sweet flavor.

It’s crucial to look for fresh, high-quality shrimp when buying amaebi. Although amaebi can be rather pricey, the investment is worthwhile because of its distinctive flavor and texture.

It is crucial to handle amaebi with care and adhere to the correct food safety regulations when making it.

Overall, amaebi is a specialty that sushi fans all over the world savor. Japanese cuisine holds it in high regard as a cherished ingredient due to its sweet flavor and soft texture.

The taste buds of anyone who tries amaebi will be delighted whether it is served raw or cooked.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.