Shellfish Species 10: Ark Shell/Akagai


The Japan Blog List

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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AKAGAI-5
(Ark shell sashimi in its own shell)

Akagai or Ark Shell tends to frighten potential sheffish amateurs because of its other English name, “Bloody Shell”, not only because of its deep reddish-orange colour, but also because of the reddish water it gives off upon opening.

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Now, shellfish do not have blood in our mammal concept.
Bear in mind that many shellfish are used for dyeing cloth, and if if I’m not mistaken, ark shells fulfill both utilitarian and gastronomic needs.

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It does require some skill to open and present.

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The main “Tongue” and “Thread/Akahimo” are edible.

The best season is Autumn, although they are available all year round. They are pretty abondant along the Japan southern coastlines, but many of them are also imported from Korea and China amounting to 80% of the total domestic consumption.

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Ark shells are usually not served cooked.
Sashimi (see top picture) is very much apprecaited but sushi nigiri is definitely the most popular way to savour them!

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Shellfish Species 8: Pen Shell/Tairagi


The Japan Blog List

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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Pen Shells or Tairagi in Japanese are usually sold in winter but tend to still appear in Sping in Shizuoka.

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Also called Tairagai, it was very common not so long ago when the domestic catch amounted to 13,395 tonnes in 1976 to suddenly fall to a mere 134 tonnes in 1994!
It disappeared from the Tokyo Bay and is presently mainly caught in the Inner Japanese Sea between Shikoku and Honshu Islands.

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It has become expensive these days and when you realize there is not so much to eat for such a big shell, one can understand it is fast becoming a rare morsel.

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It is particularly delicious as sashimi or salt-grilled and is very similar to scallops, although distinctly different in shape.
Naturally it is most popular served as sushi nigiri!

Shellfish Species 7: Clam/Hamaguri


The Japan Blog List

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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HAMAGURI-SUSHI2

Clams come in many varieties in Japan.
They are either called Common Orient Clams or Hard Clams, whatever their mode of cooking.

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Japanese Clam Variety

In 1993, Japan produced 29,000 tonnes before suffering a steep decline down to only 1,500 tonnes in 2000.
Since then imported clams are 15 times the domestic production.
Main importers to Japan are:

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China (see variety above): 20,100 tonnes

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North Korea (see variety above): 3,33 tonnes

A great part of both Chinese and North Korean varieties are imported young and “re-planted” on Japanese beaches to be sold as Japanese varieties!

80 percent of all clams are sold over the counter at supermarkets while 20 percent are proceesed by canneries.

Clams, like everywhere in the world, are cooked/prepared inmay ways in Japan:

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Ni-Hamaguri/simmered clams served in broth with vegetables, tofu and chopped thin leeks.

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Chirashizushi/”Decoration Sushi”, very popular in Japanese homes!

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But my favourite is Ni-Hamaguri Sushi!
The clam,s large variety only, are first slowly simmered into broth, then drained and cooled before being served brushed with a sweet “tare” sauce. Sublime!

Sashimi Plate at Tomii (’09/05/20)


The Japan Blog List

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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TOMII-09-05-20b

I suppose I need not introduce my favourite Japanese restaurant in Shizuoka City any more, as I just have stopped counting the articles I wrote about this place!

Anyway, Last night I went for a quick fix before resuming work.

Look at pic above showing what I was served as “o-sukuri/sashimi plate:
Front row:
-Uni/Sea Urchin, “Saimaki Kuruma Ebi/Shrimp variety, Aka Ika/Red Cuttle Fish, Ishidai/Seabream variety
Second row:
-Hon Maguro Akami/Blue Fin Tuna Lean Part, Kurodai/Black Seabream, Houbo/Bluefin Robin.
Note the Shiso/perilla flowers!

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Apart of the freshly grated wasabi, I was presented two kinds of soy sauces: normal soy sauce and the other a mixture of soy sauce and sweet pickled Japanese plum/Ume Shoyu. The later is great with white-fkesh fish!

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Before that I was served “Shunsai/Spring Vegetable”, a very tasty morsel for which vegans and vegetarians would swim across the Pacific Ocean!

TOMII
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-cho, 1-2-7, Tomii Bldg, 1F
Tel.: 054-274-0666
Business hours: 17:00~22:00
Closed on Sundays
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

Shellfish Species 6: Turbo Shell/Sazae


The Japan Blog List

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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Japanese turbo shells with and without “spikes”

Turbo shells are common all over the world, but are not eaten everywhere. Called Sazae or Sadae in Japan, they are at their best in Winter and Spring.
About 10,000 tonnes are consumed every year.

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Korean turbo shells are also found in markets.

The Japanese consider that the best specimen should have a comparatively thin shell and well-pointed “head horn”.
They should not emit any noise when lightly shaken.
They should be avoided in hot weather as they tend to spoil quickly.

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They can enjoyed grilled with soy sauce.
As sushi,they can be served as nigiri either raw or cooked.
Large specimen’s livers are served raw as “gunkan”!

Note: I feel in a good mood today as I slowly manage to convince old Blogspot friends like Melinda and new ones like Rachael to modify their Comment Box! At last I can leave messages and compliments for these great sites! LOL

Shellfish Species 5: Gaper Shellfish/Mirugai


The Japan Blog List

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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We are just in season for Mirugai or Gaper Shellfish.
Known under many names including Mirugai, Mirukui, Mirukuigai, Mirukugai, Guidakku, Umitake or Atlantic Miru, it is a bit grotesque with its vent protruding endlessly.
In Japan it is collected mainly in the sea between Shikoku and Honshu islands.

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It can be either dark brown or completely whitish beige.
When consumed as sushi or sashimi, the dark skin is taken off.
It is widely consumed in this country and more are imported from Canada, and Korea. There is practically no difference in taste or quality whatever its origin.

MIRUKUI-3

It is particularly popular with sushi lovers with a big appetite!

Shellfish Species 1: Abalone/Awabi


The Japan Blog List

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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Kuro Awabi/”Black Abalone

With the weather definitely turning hotter, the first abalones or “awabi” start appearing on the markets.
The Japanese are great connoisseurs and amateurs of abalones, and they do have to import a lot to satisfy their demand!
There amany varieties of different quality avalaible inthe markets and restaurants.
Most are eaten raw, especially as sushi on nigiri!

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Kuro Awabi/”Black Abalone”

As for the main varieties, you can sample expensive Kuro Awabi or “Black Abalones”

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Another expensive variety is Ezo Awabi/”Ezo Abalone”

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Ezo Awabi as sushi.

Lesser varieties include:

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Madaka Awabi

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Madaka Awabi as sushi

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Megai Awabi

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Megai Awabi as sushi.

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Victoria Awabi imported from Australia.

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Victoria Awabi as sushi.

Do not forget that catching abalones in a ny place in Japan without a proper license is a severly punished poaching offense!