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A popular ingredient of Japanese bento, Fried Prawn Bentō (海老フライ弁当 or エビフライ弁当 ebi furai ) is a common menu item at bentō shops.
Traditionally Kuruma Ebi was used, but since a decline in its cultivation, many stores have started using black tiger shrimp and Ise Ebi. It is thought that ebi furai was created around 1900 in response to the growing popularity of similar dishes such as Tonkatsu and minced meat cutlets in the Western food restaurants of Ginza and Tokyo.
Each prawn is straightened out flat, and a small incision made along its back. The gritty tasting digestive tract is then pulled out of this incision.
The prawn is then coated with flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs in that order, and deep-fried in hot cooking oil.
The head is usually removed before cooking. However if the prawn is fresh enough, it may be cooked and served whole. Some people prefer to eat the head, which becomes crispy.
Ebi-don (海老丼 or エビ丼, fried prawn and egg over rice) - the prawns are brushed with egg only, and placed on top of a bowl of hot rice.
Ebi furai is acknowledged as one of Nagoya's specialty foods mainly due to a joke made by the popular Japanese tarento Tamori about ebi furai being called ebi furyaa in the Nagoya dialect. Whilst this term did not exist in the Nagoya dialect prior to his joke, as foreign loan words generally do not change in Japanese dialects, it led a large portion of his audiences to believe that this was an extant variant used in the Nagoya area.
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