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sake, shochu and sushi
“Torigai” does not have a real name in English. They are approximately translated “large cockle”
They will 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 (Nagoya region) 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 should immediately retract, even if cut out. They are at their cheapest between March and May.
(Pic taken at Sushiya No Ichi, Shizuoka City)
They can be appreciated either as “tsumami”/Appetizer with a little grated wasabi and shoyu, or as nigiri.
Beware of torigai with a thin colour! They are not fresh!