U5 Prawns

With the travel agents being in Okachimachi, after booking my flights I did some shopping at the fabulous fish market called Yoshi-ike.  Among the amusements I picked up were some giant (U5 i.e., less than five to the lb) prawns.  They were fresh enough to eat raw, but I chose to make the English curryhouse-style “butterfly” deep-fried variety. 

U5 For some idea of scale, the circular chopping board is 34cm in diameter.

butterfly.jpg Sadly my karhai for deep-frying wasn’t big enough to acccomodate even two of the prawns at one time, so they ended up curled a bit as I packed them in the oil.  They came out quite good, although they are so ludicrously large even as a starter between two diners I think three prawns would still have been a little too much.

Anyway I highly recommend a visit to Yoshiike if you like your fish.  The quality is as good as Tsukiji, they are open till late at night, all the produce is properly labelled with origin and price, the prices are much more reasonable than the bland big name supermarkets, they will gut fish while you wait if you buy them whole and there is even free ice to put in with your fish if you have a long journey home.  However, being in the Tokyo shitamachi (and the rather peculiar atmosphere of Ueno as well) if you are used to shopping in big depato the staff may come across as a little surly; however they know their fish and you will not be messed around with regarding quality or price.

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4 responses to “U5 Prawns

  1. Adam, I moved to Tokyo from California 3 months ago. I am an expat here for 2 years.

    I am seeking fishing opportunities..i did a bit of rock cod, salmon, stripper, tuna and steelhead fishing in california and would like to continue here…
    thanks for any advice you can provide

  2. Hi Dan,
    I don’t have any experience of big game fishing here myself, but there are many opportunities for tuna, yellowtail, mahi mahi and the like in the Kanto area. Personally I go for smaller targets such as Japanese whiting (shirogisu), goby (haze), flounder, red sea bream and the like using traditional techniques.
    Why don’t you send me an e-mail sometime to:
    adamDOTtsuribakaATgmailDOTcom
    and we can discuss things further.
    Cheers,
    Adam

  3. Hi,

    I am new to the prawns terminology but sure would love to know what is U5?
    Someone mentioned U5 to U6 is tough but what does this really mean? Would you help please?
    Thank you>

  4. Hi Dennis,
    As far as I understand it ‘U5’ is a fishmonger’s term literally ‘Less than (the ‘U’ means ‘under’ ) five prawns to the pound (lb)’ in practical terms prawns that weigh about 3 to 4 ounces each.
    Adam

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