Tag Archives: Pen Shell

Shellfish Species 9: Round Clam-Hen Clam/Bakagai


The Japan Blog List

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

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“Bakagai”, or Round clam/Hen Clam in English is found mainly in the Central part of Honshu Island.

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Actually, you have a good chance to discover it at low tide all over Japan.

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It is a versatile shellfish as it provides for two distinct morsels:

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The “Tongue” called “Aoyagi”. It is very popular in Japan for its colour and sweetness. It is both eaten as Sashimi and

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Sushi as nigiri.

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The second morsel, one of two muscle parts is called “Kobashira/Small pillar”.
Sushi chefs will keep them until they have enough to serve as sashimi or even better as suhi as gunkan!

Make sure to order either “Aoyagi” or “Kobashira” unless you want to start a long conversation by ordering “Bakagai”!

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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!