Unlocking the Secrets: How to Distinguish Different Types of Shrimp in Vietnam’s Export Market

Welcome to the captivating world of Vietnam’s shrimp export market, where the ocean’s finest delicacies are brought to your plate from the enchanting waters of this Southeast Asian gem. In this exquisitely detailed article, we invite you to embark on a journey that will not only expand your knowledge but also help you distinguish and savor the various types of shrimp available in this bustling market. With each succulent bite, immerse yourself in the rich flavors and unique characteristics that set each type of shrimp apart. Let’s delve into the mesmerizing world of Vietnam’s shrimp varieties.

1. Whiteleg Shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei)

Our first stop on this aquatic adventure is the Whiteleg shrimp, often hailed as the most popular and dominant species in Vietnam’s export market. With its lustrous white appearance and subtle sweetness, the Whiteleg shrimp has won the hearts of seafood enthusiasts worldwide. Cultivated in vast coastal farms, these shrimps boast impressive growth rates, making them readily available throughout the year.

Physical Characteristics: The Whiteleg shrimp showcases a sleek, white body with faint pink accents, enchanting its admirers with a delicate appearance. They possess five pairs of legs, with the front pair adorned with small pincers that they gracefully wield.

Taste Profile: Their tender flesh offers a mild sweetness, making them an excellent choice for various culinary preparations. Whether grilled, steamed, or stir-fried, the Whiteleg shrimp promises to delight with every delightful bite.

2. Black Tiger Shrimp (Penaeus monodon)

Venture further into the depths of Vietnam’s export market, and you’ll encounter the mesmerizing Black Tiger shrimp. As its name suggests, this magnificent creature dons striking black stripes across its regal orange body. Treasured for its bold flavor and impressive size, the Black Tiger shrimp stands as a testament to the ocean’s grandeur.

Physical Characteristics: Admire the Black Tiger shrimp’s majestic appearance, characterized by its large size, tiger-like stripes, and vibrant orange hue. Their strong, muscular tails propel them gracefully through the sea.

Taste Profile: Renowned for its intense flavor and succulent meat, the Black Tiger shrimp serves as a gourmet delight. Grilling or sautéing these giants highlights their exquisite taste, allowing you to experience the ocean’s opulence.

3. Sea Tiger Shrimp (Penaeus semisulcatus)

Our next discovery in this voyage of flavors is the captivating Sea Tiger shrimp. With a resemblance to its Black Tiger cousin, the Sea Tiger boasts a regal appearance. Although not as common in the export market as other varieties, its taste and allure remain unparalleled.

Physical Characteristics: Gaze upon the Sea Tiger shrimp’s enchanting blend of colors—pale blue-green hues complimented by stunning stripes. Their distinguished tails, adorned with red and white bands, add to their oceanic allure.

Taste Profile: The Sea Tiger’s taste is a symphony of flavors, with a balance of sweetness and brininess. Their exquisite texture makes them perfect for a variety of culinary preparations, capturing the essence of Vietnamese coastal cuisine.

4. Flower Shrimp (Penaeus indicus)

As our journey continues, we encounter the delicate and charming Flower shrimp, known for its diminutive size and intricate patterns. Although not as well-known as some of its counterparts, this shrimp holds a special place in the hearts of those seeking a unique gastronomic experience.

Physical Characteristics: Embrace the Flower shrimp’s dainty form, embellished with intricate patterns on their translucent bodies. Their petite size makes them a delightful addition to decorative dishes.

Taste Profile: While small in size, the Flower shrimp offers a burst of flavor with each bite. Their subtle sweetness and delicate texture make them perfect for adding flair to salads, soups, and creative seafood platters.

5. Giant Freshwater Prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii)

Prepare to be awestruck by the magnificence of the Giant Freshwater Prawn, a true spectacle of Vietnam’s aquatic diversity. Thriving in freshwater environments, this majestic creature commands attention with its impressive size and robust taste.

Physical Characteristics: The Giant Freshwater Prawn boasts an arresting appearance with its large, muscular claws and stunning blue-green coloration. Their size sets them apart from most other shrimp varieties.

Taste Profile: Renowned for its rich and savory taste, the Giant Freshwater Prawn is a prized delicacy in Vietnamese cuisine. Grilling or roasting enhances their remarkable flavor, making them an exceptional treat for seafood enthusiasts.


In conclusion, Vietnam’s export market offers a bountiful array of shrimp varieties, each with its unique charm and flavor profile. From the elegant Whiteleg shrimp to the majestic Giant Freshwater Prawn, every bite is an opportunity to explore the wonders of the ocean.

As you embark on your own culinary adventure, remember to savor the intricate details that distinguish each shrimp type. The diverse seafood tapestry that Vietnam offers is a testament to the nation’s rich culture and love for gastronomy.


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