I have never used dried shrimp before.
About a month ago I bought a package of dried shrimp that I found in the refrigerated section of my local Asian grocery. I did not see that it said "keep refrigerated" on the package until a few days ago. Since these are dried shrimp in a sealed package, I figured they would probably be ok. I opened the package today, the shrimp look fine but smell extremely pungent. I assumed there would be a strong fishy smell, but these have a smell that I can only describe as alcoholic; very strong and sharp.
My instincts tell me "do not eat." I am wondering if this is maybe just how they smell. Comparing it to shrimp paste, the smell is similar, but the dried shrimp leave me with much more of a kicked-in-the-face feeling when I smell it.
I suppose I could go buy another package of shrimps, but where's the fun in that :)