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Dec 24, 2010 03:21 PM

Is Shrimp in Agua Chile (grey/ raw shrimp) safe to eat?

Ok so I just had this dish agua chile for the first time at my girlfriend's families house. It is basically a type of ceviche in which they slice the shrimp in half and soak one half of the slice with a blend of chiles and lime. Now what scared me about this dish was that the shrimp only sat in the lime mixture for 5 minutes before it was served, and only half of the fish was covered. I have no problem eating shrimp ceviche once it turns pink, nor eating sweet shrimp sushi, yet this had me hesitant. The shrimp was grey. For some reason I always thought that you should never eat raw shrimp.

so my question is that is it safe to eat raw shrimp from mexico in which only one half of the shrimp have been cured in lime juice for 5 minutes. They all looked at me like i was crazy when I wanted to wait until it started to turn pink.

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  1. I'm not usually squeamish, but I think I'd have passed on this. I'm with you, I'd prefer to have shrimp ceviche that sat long enough to "cook" the shrimp.

    1. Farmed shrimp have that eerie gray color, and there are new shrimp farms in Mexico. I avoid farmed shrimp. But the robust wild pink shrimp from Veracruz and the bay of Campeche? I'll eat that ceviche all day long.

      1. Is ama ebi frozen or something to remove the threat of bugs? I'm just wondering why sweet shrimp are ok as opposed to shrimp that have been ceviched.

        9 Replies
        1. re: gordeaux

          Shrimp are frozen to preserve freshness (?) from sea to plate, they are not subject to parasites and worms that plague pelagics.

          1. re: Veggo

            Maybe I'm reading something wrong? The op says they are ok with eating sweet shrimp sushi, but ceviched shrimp that is not cooked long enough is not ok. Is it because the shrimp was from Mexico?

            1. re: gordeaux

              Op needs to 'splain it to us, Lucy. To me it sounds like a sloppily prepared ceviche de camaron with inferior shrimp.

              1. re: Veggo

                I don't think it was sloppily prepared. This preparation is common in Mexico and is referred to as agua chile. Common enough that even Bayless did a section of this "agua chile" on one of his shows. Different than a normal ceviche with chile, lime, and a lil bit o tomato.

                1. re: gordeaux

                  I'm familiar with the dish, I don't want to get too familiar with grey shrimp. I fear that as shrimp and fish farming develop more in Mexico, that many restos will go for the cheaper. The same way that Mexico used to have the most delicious bacon, and now it all sucks.

                  1. re: Veggo

                    Shrimp pulled from Mexican waters (Sea of Cortez, I'm talking) is, in fact, grayish when pulled out of the ocean. Always has been.
                    Not sure i'd eat it, it seems a little too raw for my taste, but there's nothing wrong with Mexican shrimp from the ocean as long as they aren't raw or marinated to the pink stage.

              2. re: gordeaux

                Mexico had nothing to do with it, it was because it was normal shrimp. I have never seen a sushi spot serve raw regular shrimp, it is always cooked. This reinforced my fear that you are never suppose to eat raw shrimp.

                I was trying to illustrate the point that even in sushi restaurant they don't serve raw regular shrimp, while at the same time they do serve some special type of shrimp that is super expensive called sweet shrimp. I alway's though the price was so high because it was a shrimp that could be eaten raw.

                1. re: blaz4me

                  Sweet shrimp is always served raw, with the heads fried to a delicious crisp and served shorty later. Yes, it's a pricey item as sushi goes, but worth it.
                  Shrimp aren't born regular or special, but swift transportation and careful preparation command a premium price, as with many treats from the sea.

                  1. re: blaz4me

                    I'm not sure what species your sushi joints use for ebi or ama ebi, but there are certain species that are commonly used for ama ebi. Spot prawns are caught in so-cal / Mexico, and are used for ama ebi. What species were prepared for your agua chile?