Japan has many of its own shellfish.
I would like to ask you, who said oysters are only good in months with an R? That’s just in your country, right?
We have one of them, the best season is in midsummer.There are some shellfish in Japan that defy your common sense.
Today, I talk about shellfish in Japan.
- Nimaigai (二枚貝)
- kamenote (亀の手)
- Makigai (巻貝)
- Awabi (アワビ / あわび / 鮑)
- Kaki (かき / 牡蠣 / カキ)
- Mategai (マテ貝)
- For Sushi
“Nimaigai” means clams. “Nimai” is 2 pieces. “Kai” or “Gai” means shellfish and clam.
These clams are called “Asari”. We often eat clams with soup, grilled or Sakamushi (Steam with Sake) at Izakaya or home.
Clam chowder is sold by Knorr, but it is not very popular.
”Hamaguri” means orient clam. “Hama” means beach and “guri” “kuri” means malone. This named after this shape.
Usually Asari is 2-3 cm wide, but Hamaguri is 5-7 cm. This texture is as same as clams.
“Shijimi” means Corbicula. Shijimi contains so much zinc that we drink it as miso soup when we are tired. It is good to drink after drinking a lot of Sake to avoid a hangover.
Scallop. It is eaten with sushi, sashimi, or smoked fish as a snack for sake…some people eat into curry.
“Kamenote” means turtle palms. But this is not real palms, of course😊 “Percebe” in Portugal, exclusive shellfish.
“Makigai” means shellfish. there are many kinds of shellfish in Japan.
We usually makigai with grilled with soy sauce, simmered or soaked into salty sauce with seaweeds.
This is “Sazae”, Turban shell. We eat them as Sushi, Sashimi or “Tsubo-yaki” (grilled it with Sake and soy sauce)
There is an anime “Sazae-san”. This is a Japanese animation that has been around for over 50 years, which airs on Sunday nights at 7:00 p.m.
So it reminds us to have to work for next week…horrible.
There is a term as “the Sazae-san Syndrome”.
Do you have such a program in your country?
Babylonia Japonica. We eat Sushi, Sashimi, or steamed with Sake. It has a crunchy texture and sweet taste. Especially, it goes well with local Sake, kind a Junmai-shu.
This whelk also just simmered with soy sauce as same as Tsubugai.
We eat it with soy sauce grilled or Sashimi, not Sushi. Matsubu is the finest one and is called “A-tsubu” also.
Awabi (アワビ / あわび / 鮑)
“Awabi” is abalone.The small one is called “Tokobushi”, can get in supermarket. Black abalone is the best quality, approx. USD100 to 300 each. I have never seen black abalone in other countries. Raw eating is the best.
It has a wonderfully chewy texture and a unique crunchiness. The abalone, in summer is especially rich in glycogen and Umami.
We often eat them as Sashimi, sushi or just grill with soy sauce.
Kaki (かき / 牡蠣 / カキ)
These oysters are much creamier and larger than the usual ones. They are eaten with sushi (not sashimi) or lightly cooked in Sake.
Overseas eats oysters are called “Magaki”,ordinary oysters in Japan. This season is winter.
We usually kaki with the hot pot or deep-fried like pork cutlet.
These are smaller than Iwagaki and not creamy so much.
Kaki nabe (牡蠣鍋)
Although they are called “Milk of the sea”, this milk refers low-fat milk for us, right?
So we eat them fried or pot “kaki-nabe”, not raw.
“Mategai” means razor clam. We eat them boiled in salt or sauteed with butter and garlic. These are not so popular.
These shellfish are often seen in sushi restaurants.
“Akagai” means ark shell. We eat them as Sushi or Sashimi.
This shellfish is one of the expensive seafood in Japan.
The price of a piece over USD5 at least.
In Japan, This is served at conveyor belt sushi restaurants like a cheap sushi restaurant, may be Surf clam. Hahaha😄
“Torigai” means egg cockle. The darker the color, the better its quality. The flesh becomes harder and sweeter after parboiled.
“Hokki” means hen clam. In season from spring to summer. They turn pink after boiled. It is sweet and has a pleasant flavor.
Surf clam. These are also eaten Sushi, Sashimi, or pickles. It has a unique flavor of bitterness that works well with sake.
Gaper. Season is winter to spring. It has a nice elasticity and high umami taste.We eat them boiled, baked in butter or as tempura also.
This is the mainly Japanese shellfish. I introduce Seafoods later😉