Clams (Fresh)

Ingredient Name: Clams, fresh clams

Chinese Name: 蛤 (há)

Clams are not commonly found in the Chinese repertoire for soups, but it is commonly found in Chinese dishes.  Most immediately, I can think of clams fried in black bean sauce, which is delicious!   Regardless, clams are used in other Asian type soups and is versatile, easy to cook (just not necessarily the easiest to keep alive) and great for kids to play with before they are cooked.  Call is Science exploration at home.

What is this?
  • A type of fresh water mussel that has two hard shells to keep it protected
  • The usually range from different sizes depending on the type and breed of clam
  • Inside the clam meat is beige/white in color and soft
  • The outer shell of the clam almost looks like rocks with various shades from white, yellow, brown to gray
  • Most clam species are edible, however smaller ones and some species are considered inedible

How do I prepare it?

  • When purchased fresh from your wet mart or supermarket, be sure to store in a cool place while taking them home (avoid direct sunlight without having the clams in water)
  • When you get home, immediately put them in cool fresh water (and they can keep like this for 1-2 days) – although clams are highly perishable and should be eaten as soon as possible
  • To cook, start boiling water, once the water boils – add the clams in and in time they will open
  • Once they open, remove from the boiling water immediately and set aside
  • Discard unopened clams (as they are dead) – I wouldn’t recommended eating the dead ones

Where can I buy this?

  • Available in fresh marts in Hong Kong
  • Also available in supermarkets

What is the cost?

  • I bought 20 clams (picture above) for $13 HKD
  • They vary in price depending on season, availability, type, breed and size

Any benefits?

  • Low in fat and high in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Excellent source of phosphorous (for bones and teeth)
  • High protein value (as compared to red meat) with less calories
  • Clams are also an excellent source of potassium and iron

Any precautions?

  • Discard any unopened clams and avoid consumption
  • It is not recommended to eat clams raw (as they sometimes contain a bacteria called Vibrio vulnificus (which can lead to serious illness in people with underlying medical problems)
  • Consume in moderation as they do contain cholesterol

Any substitutes?

  • For soups, fresh mussels can also suffice (smaller ones)
  • Canned clams are also ideal if fresh clams aren’t available

Opened cooked clams, ready for soups