The "Godzilla Shrimp" is extremely rare, and it is said to be a sign of good luck to encounter one. It's formal name is the "Spiny Lebbeid" ("Ibaramo Ebi" in Japanese).
It certainly isn't a shrimp that any sane fisherman would hope to make a living on, with only one or two being brought in for every thousand shrimp, but it is extremely valuable shrimp to take to the market. Not only is it rare, its characteristic elasticity and sweetness make it a high quality food as well.
I visited "Corcho," a shop in Sapporo's Tanuki Koji, where I heard they had recently procured some of the rare shrimp.
It seems that Corcho was cooking with Godzilla Shrimp caught near Machike, Hokkaido.
One of the most apparent features of this shrimp is the thorny spines that protrude from the shell around its head. These can easily make the shrimp particularly painful to catch.
It seems that these shrimp are so delicious that many fisherman lucky enough to catch one end up eating it themselves! Locally they are often eaten as sashimi or grilled with salt.
This visit was my first chance to taste the rare shrimp, so I was really looking forward to it. I wasn't disappointed. I had heard about the texture but the elasticity and sweetness really surprised me! It was delicious!
I had a hankering for the taste of the Godzilla Shrimp in a thick miso based shrimp soup, so they were kind enough to prepare a "Ahijo" dish for me. The staff made sure to inform me that dealing with the spines proved dangerously hard work.
The miso shrimp soup was decorated with the large Godzilla Shrimp heads.
The luxurious taste of the shrimp and miso soup lingered in my mouth even after the meal was finished. The bread was delicious as well! (Made with Hokkaido produced wheat.)
Although it is rare to find the shrimp offered in restaurants, it seems that the likelihood of encountering Godzilla Shrimp increases in April. I know I'll be on the lookout!
Tanuki-koji 6-Chome, Inside the arcade.
(Hokkaido Likers Photo Writer - Itsuki)