Known also as Sakura Ebi, Cherry Shrimp or Cherry Blossom Shrimp, these are tiny shrimp caught from a certain bay in Japan, the name of which eludes me at the moment. As you might gather, they are named after cherry blossoms, because of their similar colour. There are may ways to eat Sakura but if you live outside of Japan, you will have to make do with the boiled and then sun-dried variety, which is the variety which I use, and refer to.
OK, enough about the background. So what is so special about Sakura? They have a light crispy texture, and more importantly they retain (for an eternity compared to other crispy food) their crispiness even when put into liquid. This is because other crispy food is made crispy artifically by removing water through heating. If they get re-hydrated, they become decidedly uncrispy. Sakura on the other hand are naturally crunchy because they are crustaceans. This makes them the ultimate sprinkle-on-top food.
Where can you find Sakura Shrimp? At any Japanese food specialty store or Japanese supermarket. Don’t confuse Sakura Ebi with the more common Chinese shell-less dried shrimp. Those can’t be eaten without lots of cooking, and in general are unsuitable for Western cuisine. If you would like a recipe which uses Sakura Shrimp, try my Angel Hair with Sakura .