Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Red Clam Nigiri (Hokkigai)

I recently had red clam nigiri (hokkigai) for the first time and quite enjoyed it.
It has a slightly sweet and pleasant taste and is not particularly chewy. It is complemented very nicely by wasabi and soy sauce. I had a little trouble finding anything out about it, but learned that it is Stimpson's surf clam or the arctic surf clam which has a triangular shape and swollen red foot. 
It takes 5 to 8 years to reach maturity. It is usually caught off the coast of Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. It is buried in the sand and extracted commercially by a hydraulic dredge that tears apart the ocean floor and negatively impacts  the environment. It is really not known how many of the clams there are or how sustainable they are. The source I read recommended farmed abalone, scallops and geoduck as more sustainable alternatives. 

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