Japanese Crustacean Species 3: Squiila-Mantis Shrimp-Shako-蝦蛄

A tropical squilla!

Squillae as found on Japanese markets.
Note the dun color as they come from dark northern seas!

The Squilla or “Shako” (蝦蛄in Japanese) is a delicacy that appears on the sushi bar counters from April to Summer, although different varieties can be found in Hokkaido markets (Otaru City in particular) almost all year round.
You will discover it under names such as “Shaku” and “Gazaebi”.
They are actually caught in almost all Japanese seas, but the best are supposed to originate from Hokkaido.

Served boiled or steamed on their own, they make for a great snack!

Like any crustaceans, they can be eaten in many ways.
The Japanese favor the small kind with a violet back. I had the opportunity to buy some very large specimen in Otaru, and eat them just boiled and served with rice vinegar mixed with a little Japanese mustard, or in salads.
They almost disappeared from Tokyo Bay in the 1960’s but reappeared in the 1970’s. Most fishermen in the Kanto (Eastern Japan) area will place them in boxes themselves to sell them directly at fish markets. The market value can vary wildly, but look for the genuine harbor markets and buy them yourself.

Simple nigiri with boiled/steamed squilla

Naturally, they are most popular as nigiri sushi. Customers jokingly ask for “garage” (in English) as “shako” also means (different kanji, of course: 車庫) “garage”!

Seasoned with “tare” sauce.

An unusual offering with grilled squilla!


The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

4 thoughts on “Japanese Crustacean Species 3: Squiila-Mantis Shrimp-Shako-蝦蛄”

  1. Bonjour, je suis absolument fan de votre blog et après l’avoir lu pendant des mois je m’aperçois que vous êtes français ! Il n’est pas évident de trouver votre contact sur vos pages et cela m’a échappé… Je suis actuellement au Japon pour quelques mois – je suis journaliste en reportage ici et je tiens aussi un blog d’ethno-gastronomie – et je pensais passer par Shizuoka prochainement, en grande partie pour écrire sur le wasabi… Et, si cela est possible, pour vous rencontrer, vous avez apparemment beaucoup à m’apprendre sur le sujet !
    Bien à vous,


    1. Cher Camille!
      C’est tres simple, appelez-moi sur 0941977698!
      Mon mail est [lapin trait d’union dragon aeropage vc point tnc poin ne poin jp]
      Je me ferai un plaisir de vous faire tout visiter ce que vous voudrez!
      Bien amicalement,


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