Sunday, January 16, 2011


Saturday we went with Andrew to a wonderful Korean supermarket in downtown Los Angeles. Among the wonders to my western eyes was a basket full of cooked whelks. 
I find that whelks are sea snails of various species found in temperate and tropical waters. These came in spiral shells and the outward end of the snail (presumably the head) had a shell covering which apparently acts as a protection when it pulls into the shell. 
I had never seen whelks in a store before, so I bought two and then we took them to Andrew's apartment. It took awhile to figure out how to get the whelk out of the shell. It quickly became obvious that I could not drag it out of the shell. I considered a nut cracker, tried to find a mallett or hammer (none available), considered the handles of scissors, and finally resorted to using the bottom of a frying pan to break open the shell. 
The broken shell revealed the difficulty in removing the whelk as the snail is wrapped through various chambers of the shell. 
We washed the whelk in water to remove the shell fragments and I tried it with wasabi and soy sauce and plain. 
I liked it best plain and thought it wasn't bad. We had abalone at the same time and I liked the whelk much more. The abalone was rubbery and semi-crunchy in places, whereas the whelk was quite pliable and had a mild taste. Andrew felt completely otherwise, preferring the abalone to the whelk, primarily because of texture. 

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