Giant Malaysian Shrimp

All about the Giant Freshwater Prawn

Originating from Asian countries and Austrailia. The name Macrobrachium means “big arm,”  as these shrimp host a pair of claws (called chelipeds). The males have more robust claws and in most cases are more valuable the larger the claws are. 

Around the 1970's China, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Thailand were the main producers of these Giant river prawn. 

They typically live in tropical waterways adjacent to brackish waterways. Most are amphidromous (having phases of life that occur in both fresh and saline water). Larvae mostly consume zooplankton and post larvae and  adults are omnivores eating algae, aquatic plants, insects, and other small crustaceans.

Aquaponics and Aquariums

These are not an animal for the casual Aquarist. Giant river prawns grow to nearly the size of a small lobster, with their claws growing up to twice the length of their body. Aquariums  would be quite fascinating and well worth the dedicated tank needed as choosing tankmates will be tricky. Several of these could be great for American hobbyists. 

Apart from the enjoyment of breeding  they are rapidly becoming a source of safe, nutritious, and sustainable seafood for people worldwide. In part due to their positive influence in aquaponics systems, ease of raising, fast growth rate, and  best of all taste. 


Careful handling is essential. Prawns can become "mushy". Take precautions to prevent crushing of prawns. Live prawn can be transported in aerated water in close proximity to harvest location. Otherwise prawns should be processed quickly by quick-freezing them at -10 °C and should be stored at -20 °C or below.  Do not store longer than 3 days on ice. 

Large blue claw male. Highly territorial tank mate. Giant Malaysian River Prawn.
Large blue claw male. Highly territorial tank mate. Giant Malaysian River Prawn.

Cooking Giant Malaysian Prawn

Just a bite can be life-changing!

The larger size freshwater prawn  are more expensive mainly due to the fact that they are meatier, have less shell weight, and have more shrimp head butter.

Prawns can be boiled, or

Best way to cook them is to:

 Take the Giant freshwater prawns, slice them in half, lay them on a hot grill with the shell facing down, no seasoning needed.

They should be grilled for about 10  minutes  over the charcoal, you should see the meat starting to whiten up and get firmer after a few minutes and the orange head oil should start to look like butter (aka head butter). Head butter tastes similar to shrimp butter with a creamy and rich shrimp flavor with a slight bitter taste. Many have exclaimed on how its the "Best thing they have ever tasted!" and "A bite can be life-changing".  

Freshwater prawn meat is sweeter and has a softer texture than lobster. They are sometimes served with a chili dipping sauce. 

Claw Delight

You can also cut off the large claws. Grill separately, de-shell the meat from the claws, then fried them up. This is a famous Thai dish known as pad cha. It has been said the claw meat tastes similar to crab meat.


Giant Malaysian Shrimp

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Harvested Shrimp