Shellfish Species 4: Surf Clam/Torigai


“Torigai” does not have a real name in English. They are approximately translated “large cockle”
They appear on the market in Spring and earlier in Shizuoka Prefecture. They are mainly found in Tokyo Bay, Ise bay and Seto Inner Sea. Some are imported from Korea, but catches can wildly vary, especially with the occurence of “red tides”. A lot are imported from Aichi Prefecture to Shizuoka.


They must be absolutely fresh to be consumed.
One easy way to check if they are still fresh is to slam them on the wooden board. They shouldimmediately retract, even if cut out. They are at their cheapest between March and May.

(Pic taken at Sushiya No Ichi, Shizuoka City)

They can appreciated either as tsumami with a little grated wasabi and shoyu, or as nigiri.
Beware of torigai with a thin colour! They are not fresh!

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi


2 thoughts on “Shellfish Species 4: Surf Clam/Torigai”

  1. Robert, I can hardly keep up with your posts! I’ve seen these huge cockles at Tsukiji and they were immense! Really love Japanese food, and as per your question regarding my experience with Japanese food, its limited at best. Thats why your blog really hits the spot, as you write about all these ingredients (In English!) which would make my next trip to Japan even more interesting!


    1. Dear Nick!
      My impression is that what you saw are probably “mirukugai”! I’ll a run a pot on them!
      Always pleased to please!


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