As a child (this is in the late 70s in the Midwest (realizing that Madison is fairly multi-cultural)), I recall having shrimp chips - and that is indeed what they are called (not those weird multi-colored puffy styrofoam-like things). They start out as thin wafers that have the texture and feel of some sort of plastic and slightly translucent. The colors were varied (but had no effect upon the flavor). However, upon tossing them in the deep fryer they puffed out to form the more familiar consistency, shape and color (at least, to those who purchase them in bags at an Asian market).

Upon recently finding some and being reminded of their existence I looked up some shrimp chips on Google. The ingredients are along the lines of:

And the review from for one brand reads "They have sort of a styrofoam consistency, and they're not too fishy. They're oddly addictive."

Looking even further, it is possible to find recopies for these for your own kitchen (this time from

  1. Pound the shrimp, prawn, or lobster to a paste.
  2. Bring water to a boil - add salt and pepper.
  3. Pour boiling water onto the tapioca flower and stir quickly
  4. Add shrimp and knead as if it was a dough (dough should be on the hard side). Add water if necessary.
  5. Shape into cylinder(s) 1 inch in diameter.
  6. Place rolls between two layers of cheesecloth.
  7. Steam at high temperature for 45 minutes.
  8. Remove cheesecloth, and place on a cooling rack to dry (1-3 days)
  9. Cut with a sharp knife into thin slices (think American coins)
  10. Place on cardboard and dry in the sun until brittle
  11. (At this point, they keep in a can for long periods of time)
  12. Deep fry in oil at 360F - chips should be ready in seconds

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