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?
In Japan, NEVER that’ it. Moreover, there are one of Japanese oyster is summer is the best season.
There are some shellfish in Japan that defy your common sense.
Today, I talk about shellfish in Japan.
“Nimaigai” means clams. “Nimai” is 2 pieces. “kai”, “Gai” means shellfish and clam.
We often eat clams with soup, grilled or Sakamushi(Steam with Sake). These clams are called “Asari”.
Asari is 2-3 cm wide, but Hamaguri is 5-7 cm. This texture is as same as clams, but it is usually grilled or clear soup because, this taste is more rich flavor and chewy texture than Asari.
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.
“Kamenote” means turtle palms. But this is not real palms, of course😊 “Percebe” in Portugal, exclusive shellfish.
We often eat them with miso soup or grilled.
“Makigai” means shellfish. there are many kinds of shellfish in Japan. This is “Sazae”, Turban shell.
We usually makigai with grilled with soy sauce, simmered or soaked into salty sauce with seaweeds.
Babylonia Japonica. We eat Sushi, Sashimi, or steamed with Sake. It has a crunchy texture and sweet taste.
whelk. It has a nice softness and chewy texture not a fishy so much, light savory and slightly bitter taste.
We eat it with soy sauce grilled or Sashimi, not Sushi. Matsubu is the finest one and is called “A-tsubu” also.
“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.
“Kaki” means oyster. I talked about oysters at first. If I limited talking about the rock oysters, the best season is March to July. Only this ” Iwagaki” is the real oysters in Japan.
Rock oysters, also known as summer oysters, are large and creamy. They are eaten with sushi or lightly cooked in Sake.
Overseas eats oysters are called “Magaki”,ordinary oysters in Japan. This season is winter.
We usually Magaki with nabe or fried. These are smaller than Iwagaki and not creamy so much. Although they are called “Milk of the sea”, this looks like low-fat milk for us. So we eat them fried or boiled, 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. Sushi, Sashimi or Vinegared.
“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 Vinegared. 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😉