If you love shrimp, Nagoya is an amazing place to visit.
Aichi Prefecture has one of the highest shrimp consumptions in the country. This is probably because shrimp can be easily fished in the Ise Bay. And because seafood tastes best when it’s fresh, it is often found on the plates of the locals.
It all goes so far, that the official fish of the Aichi Prefecture is the tiger prawn. Not really a fish, but okay. I understand!
And what better way to try some of the delicious regional prawns than by having a go at a local Nagoya specialty called Ebi Furai.
What is Ebi Furai
Ebi Furai or Ebi Fry is fried shrimp or is sometimes translated as shrimp fritters. Traditionally made from tiger prawns, but nowadays more often than not using black tiger prawns or even up to 30 centimeters long Japanese spiny lobster (Ise Ebi).
The prawns are battered in Panko bread crumbs and then deep-fried to perfection. Crispy outside and juicy, but not at all fishy, inside.
Ebi Furai vs Ebi Tempura
If you are now wondering what the difference between Ebi Furai and Ebi Tempura is, let me clear this up for you.
Both are deep-fried shrimp. No question about it. But while Ebi Tempura is bettered in a mixture of flour and water, Ebi Furai uses the characteristic Japanese Panko bread crumbs.
This gives the shrimp a very different outer texture, and different flavor.
The two dishes are also enjoyed with different flavoring altogether. While Ebi Tempura is either served with salt or a dipping sauce called Tentsuyu, Ebi Furai is either served with tartar sauce, Tonkatsu sauce or as a Nagoya specialty with a Hatcho Miso sauce.
The Origin of Ebi Furai
It is believed the popular dish might have been invented in Tokyo sometime in the middle of the Meiji Period (1868-1912). The Meiji Period saw many new ‘westernized’ dishes appear for the first time on restaurant menus, and the Ebi Furai was no exception there. But the real origin is unknown.
Fried shrimp is by no means a dish limited only to Nagoya and can be found at restaurants and Izakaya all over the country.
Ebi Furai as a Nagoya Meibutsu (a local specialty) was popularized by accident in the 1980s when a then-popular comedian made fun of the way Nagoyans pronounce Ebi Furai. This lead to an association of Ebi Furai with Nagoya, and the rising popularity of the dish in the region.
Where to Eat the Best Ebi Fry in Nagoya
While you will find Ebi Furai on almost all Izakaya menus in Nagoya, and local restaurants and coffee shops, especially as a popular lunch option, there are a couple of places in Nagoya specialized in the dish.
At these restaurants, Ebi Furai is taken seriously. If you love shrimp try one of them while you are in the city.
This restaurant has the word Ebi in its name, which tells us that it is specialized in shrimp. At Ebidote Shokudo you will find a whole menu of differently prepared shrimp and prawns.
The highlight is Japan’s biggest Ebi Furai (at least that’s what they claim). And with up to 35 centimeters it really is a gigantic fried shrimp.
The different fried shrimp dishes are either served as sets or on rice bowls with different sauces, such as tartar sauce, Tonkatsu sauce and, of course, as is typical for Nagoya Miso-based sauce.
You can also get different shrimp Donburi, such as shrimp Tempura or Ebi Furai on a bowl of rice.
Ebidote Shokudo is conveniently located inside the Esca Underground Shopping Street on the west side of Nagoya Station.
Maruha Shokudo started operation in 1950 in a town on the Chita Peninsula. It calls itself a Seafood restaurant, and aside from its very famous Ebi Furai it also serves some other seafood dishes as well.
If you have come to try Ebi Furai at Maruha Shokudo try the Ebi Furai Teishoku. 2 big fried shrimp are served on a bed of cabbage together with a bowl of rice, a dark red Miso soup, and some pickles. There are also sets that include Sashimi or a salad topped with shrimp.
Another specialty at Maruha Shokudo is the Maki Ebi Furai, a fried shrimp wrapped like a Maki Sushi roll and cut into bite-size pieces.
Other dishes include different kinds of fish, prepared in different ways, either as Sashimi, grilled, or boiled and of course fried.
Their original shop is at the tip of the Chita Peninsula and cannot easily be reached with public transport. But that’s no problem as you will find multiple shops have opened in Nagoya. Either visit the modern shop inside the Lachic Shopping Mall in Sakae, with fantastic airy views and a great atmosphere or the one inside Nagoya Stations Umaimon Dori.
There is also a shop at Nagoya Airport, for your last chance to eat some delicious Ebi Furai before your flight home.
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Sat + Sun 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Address: 3-6-1 Sakae, Naka Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 460-0008
Website (Japanese only)| Google Maps
This chain of coffee shops which originated in Nagoya in 1947 is the place to go if you want to see the more traditional side of Japan and if you want to know what a coffee shop used to be like in post-war Japan.
Konparu is famous for one thing (and it’s not their coffee) it’s their delicious Ebi Furai Sando. A sandwich filled with fried shrimp, egg, and cabbage, and a delicious special sauce. With a price tag of 980 yen it is definitely not cheap, but so delicious that it’s worth every yen.
Ebi Furai Sando goes very well with a freshly brewed hot coffee.
The original location of Konparu is inside the Osu Shopping District and inside it feels like time has stood still for the past 70 years or so.
Other locations include the underground shopping malls at Nagoya Station called Meichika, and Sakae called Mori no Chikamachi with a total of 8 shops dotted across the city.
If you want to kill to birds with one stone you can visit Misokatsu Yabaton. This is probably the most popular Miso Katsu restaurant in Nagoya, but also serves delicious Ebi Furai and other fried dishes such as fried asparagus and Korokke.
If you cannot decide, take the set with a small Miso Katsu, Ebi Furai, and fried asparagus roll. You won’t regret it!
Misokatsu Yabaton has so many shops in and around Nagoya, chances are you will find one close by. The highest density of shops is around Nagoya Station and Sakae area.
Final Thoughts on Fried Shrimp in Nagoya
Ebi Furai is not the only shrimp specialty in Nagoya. Don’t forget to try some Tenmusu, mini riceballs filled with a small shrimp Tempura. And as a souvenir from Nagoya, buy a pack of Ebi Senbei, shrimp rice crackers!
By the way, you can try Tenmusu as well as Ebi Senbei during a Nagoya Meshi Food Tour, a 3-hour tour that introduces travelers to the local Nagoya cuisine as well as history and culture. If this sounds like something you might be interested in check out the details and book your tour today!
For general information on travel in Nagoya, read the Nagoya Travel Guide.
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In love with Japan and its amazing food, Lena wants to share her passion with the world. That’s why she started Nagoya Foodie. To teach about Nagoya, her adoptive home online through blog posts and offline through unique food tours.