Posted by: Jeffsayyes | March 13, 2008

Sweet Shrimp – Wow, what an experience!

Tonight I went to Kohaku in Huntington Station. I had an experience I can’t stop thinking about.

I am proud of myself lately, I have been sitting at the sushi bar by myself, trying to talk to the chefs, eating whatever they want to give me. It’s been a learning experience. Every time, I tell them to give me what they want, one time I uttered ‘omakase’ and that was dangerous! I will post about that experience soon…. But usually I tell them one specific fish that I want that I have been reading about – and then give me whatever they want.

Today I told the chef I wanted “Sweet Shrimp.”

If you order shrimp sushi, you get it cooked, like from a bag of shrimp at the supermarket. If you order sweet shrimp, it’s raw.

The chef seemed happy I suggested it. He said ‘ohh, taste good.’ I saw him grab a limp shrimp and start to peel it. I was thinking at the time that I wished it was live, but whatever, I’m in north shore Long Island.

He prepared two boogers on a plate.
sweet shrimp

The shrimp were a different taste than I am used to. They were wet, not moist. They also tasted like the sea! Then after a bit I had a sweet taste in my mouth. I still can taste it actually. It is unnatural for me to accept this sea taste – but that unnaturalness is exactly what I am trying to discover lately.

A couple of minutes after I finished the bodies, the waitress brings me a plate. On the plate were two shrimp heads – fried.
What’s this?? I was totally surprised. I was so happy, I had no idea what to do.
“How do I eat this??” I asked the chef.
He said to just eat it. He explained it’s like soft shell crab, you can eat it.
You always hear that all the flavoring is in the heads of fish, shrimp, and lobsters. It is definitely true in this case. All sorts of textures and flavors going through that cranium. Wow, what an experience!

Now, it is customary to eat an entire sushi in one bite, not to bite it in half. When I ate the shrimp head, I bit it right in half. I didnt want to offend, but I really wanted to see the insides. Looking back I don’t think it’s even possible to fit an entire head in your mouth. What I saw inside was exactly what I expected to see in a shrimp head. What would you expect?


I had another eye-opening experience today. This one a little more subtle. Today the chef gave me all sashimi – no rice under the fish. On my final plate, he offered me a bowl of sushi rice. On the rice he put a few seasonings. Here’s what I discovered – That rice is really good! Sushi rice is different than regular rice, it is moister and sticks together. Put a dash of soy in there and that is a delicious bowl. Kudos chef!

Kohaku Yelp Page
Zen of Fish by Trevor Corson
Sushi Encyclopedia on amaebi (sweet shrimp)


  1. Hi there. Thanks for visiting my site. Your site is very impressive indeed! Incidentally I live at Mumbai, India so i guess you don’t have to go to NY to get salmon roe…you just need to hop continents 🙂 Loved the shrimp pictures. I am a Bengali (a community originally from Eastrern India). Shrimp head is considered to be delicacy amongst us and we love sucking out the ‘brain’. Sounds gross but is very tasty. We also often eat the heads of certain fishes which we add to vegetables or pulses.

  2. […] assortment of pieces including yellowtail, scallops and caviar, fatty tuna, salmon, sweet shrimp (no head) and a special roll. For an interactive picture of this dish, you can see my flickr […]

  3. Ah yes, the first experience with amaebi. It’s heavenly, isn’t it? I prefer it much more than the cooked shrimp sushi.

    Sushi rice is delicious! It’s seasoned with vinegar, sugar, salt, and a bit of sake. It’s also best served at room temperature and not cold (the chill masks the taste of the seasoning).

  4. Great post, I actually recently had Sweet Shrimp, but didn’t know you could eat the heads. So, I actually cited your blog in mine about that. I hope you don’t mind. If so, email me and I will remove at once.

    Otherwise thanks for the great description of the experience. And next time I will need to have some shrimp heads

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