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Sakai City’s Food Specialties

Fukui Sweet Shrimp and Japanese Mantis Shrimp

When visiting Sakai City, there is one seafood delicacy you can’t miss: shrimps! Known for their exceptional sweetness and texture, they acquired high respect nationwide.

Fukui Sweet Shrimp – Too Great a Temptation to Resist

A Concentrate of Sweetness: Fukui Sweet Shrimp’s Appeal

Fukui Sweet Shrimp is caught off the coast of Fukui Prefecture between May to June and September to January. While four fishing ports in Sakai City contribute, Mikuni stands out for its unparalleled volume, accounting for over 70% of the prefecture’s catch. Fukui Sweet Shrimp is characterized by its melt-in-your-mouth texture and rich sweetness, hence its widespread recognition. It’s not only selected by long-established restaurants in Sakai City, but also finds its way into Michelin-starred restaurants in Kanazawa City and Ginza in Tokyo. Curious to taste the exquisite flavor of Fukui Sweet Shrimp firsthand?

Elusive Delicacy! Japanese Mantis Shrimp

Japanese Mantis Shrimp – Versatile Flavor and Exquisite Sweetness

Japanese Mantis Shrimp (scientific name: Nectocrangon toyamaensis) is a rare delicacy only found along the Sea of Japan coast in Fukui Prefecture. Due to its limited catch and short shelf life, it’s often referred to as a “phantom shrimp” and rarely seen in markets. If you’re visiting Fukui Prefecture, don’t miss out on both kinds of shrimp! Unlike regular shrimp, Japanese Mantis Shrimp has a brownish shell and a robust appearance. Its flavor has intense umami and a refined sweetness. There are various ways to enjoy Japanese Mantis Shrimp like raw as sashimi, which shows off the shrimp’s firm texture and sweetness.

How Fukui Sweet Shrimp Is Caught

The Secret to Its Deliciousness Lies in a Special Fishing Method

Fishing for Fukui Sweet Shrimp employs a special netting method to minimize the catch of other fish species, where a net called “maedare” is lifted from the seabed to prevent the inclusion of unwanted fish while ensuring immaculate shrimp catches. This method maintains the shrimp’s pristine appearance and contributes to the conservation of marine life by reducing bycatch. Upon landing, the shrimp undergo strict sorting based on size (divided into gravid, large, medium, small, and extra small) and quality. Those awarded the label “Fukui Sweet Shrimp” must be medium-sized (approximately 12 grams) or above, harvested within 24 hours, and of excellent freshness.

The Life and Habits of Fukui Sweet Shrimp Is Almost Unknown!? Interview With Fishermen

In Fukui Prefecture, Fukui Sweet Shrimp and Echizen Crab are fished in abundance. Fukui Sweet Shrimp begin spawning during winter at around 250 meters deep in the sea. Afterwards, they move to depths of around 700 meters, and once their shells begin to harden about a month after molting, they gradually migrate to shallower waters (400-500 meters) from around early May. With a lifespan of about 11 years, they initially mature as males before undergoing a sex change around ages 5-6, in what is called sequential hermaphroditism. Freshly caught Fukui Sweet Shrimp are delightfully firm and chewy, while those aged for one or two days develop a richer sweetness. We aim to continue our fishing activities while preserving this precious natural resource.

Kazumi Hirano
Representative Director of the Mikuni Port Fisheries Cooperative

Delicious Ways to Appreciate Fukui Sweet Shrimp

All the Recommended Options: From the Classic Sashimi to Tempura and Miso Soup!

First, try the shrimp’s untouched flavor as sashimi! Freshly caught Fukui Sweet Shrimp is deliciously plump. While eating it freshly caught is recommended, aging it for a day enhances its flavor, offering a silky sweetness. For those craving a grand Fukui Sweet Shrimp meal, try a shrimp rice bowl! Other mouthwatering options include frying them up or turning them into miso soup – the broth extracted from the shells makes it taste sublime. For adventurous eaters, don’t miss out on the greenish-blue shrimp eggs or the “ebi miso” cooked from shrimp innards from inside the head.

Enjoy Exquisite Sweet Shrimp! Interview With Uoshiro

We cherish tradition while striving to offer even tastier Fukui Sweet Shrimp dishes. Since we’re close to the port, it’s a breeze to pick exactly what sweet shrimp to use for each dish. At Uoshiro, we serve shrimp from head to tail, especially highlighting the flavorful ebi miso. The freshness of the shrimp makes it taste exceptional, and is something you won’t find outside of Mikuni. When grilled or fried, the aroma of the shrimp shell comes out. When eaten raw, the creamy texture of the shrimp stimulates the palate in a completely different way. We would love for our customers to try all the different shrimp dishes we have available! Shrimp can be found all over the world, so we see plenty of diners from various countries enjoy it raw without any hesitation. If you want to truly appreciate the sweetness of sweet shrimp, we extend our invitation to visit us in Mikuni!

Mariko Matsuzaki
Proprietress of Uoshiro

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