A Princess Shellfish♡ Hamaguri (Japanese hard clam)

Having a strong image as a luxury food, Hamaguri, which gets high-season from February to May, 
has been used in the Japanese dietary habit since long ago, 
as evidenced by excavations from Shell mounds dating back to the Jomon period.
[Story of Hamaguri]
Even now, Hamaguri is used for Girl’s day (Hina-matsuri) and wedding ceremonies, 
and it has a strong image as a congratulatory ingredient.
There are various theories, but bivalves such as clams (one pair with two shells) used to mean "princess".
Hamaguri fit together perfectly, and they never fit together with other shells, 
so it is said to have the meaning of "couple harmony" and "happy mariage".
For this reason, it is used in dishes for Hinamatsuri as a wish from parents to their daughters,
that she might live a happy life with one partner forever 
and is also used as a lucky charm at weddings and other occasions.
[Availability at the market]
The habitat of Hamaguri in Japan is said to be from southern Hokkaido to Kyushu, 
but in recent years the amount of Hamaguri caught in Japan has decreased sharply, 
so in the market, the amount of Hamaguri imported from China, Taiwan, and South Korea are increasing.
Domestically caught Hamaguri are known by different names depending on where they are caught, 
such as “Hon-Hamaguri” and “Ji-Hamaguri”.

Hon-Hamaguri are caught in western Japan, such as Kumamoto and Mie, 
and are known for their strong umami taste and soft flesh.
Ji-Hamaguri are caught from the seas of the Kanto region, such as Ibaraki and Chiba, 
and although they are from Japan, they are also called “Korean Hamaguri” 
because they look different from Hon-Hamaguri.

Ji-Hamaguri has a more triangular shape than Hon-Hamaguri, 
and is characterized by a thick white-brown shell and fewer patterns.
Though Hamaguri from foreign countries are also delicious, 
but the ones caught in Japan are fleshier and more flavorful when cooked.

                    Ji-Hamaguri                               Hon-Hamaguri

[How to choose delicious Hamaguri]
In order to choose delicious shellfish, not just for Hamaguri, it is absolutely required that they are “alive”.
Two other points to check are:
・Makes a high-pitched sound when struck
(Those that make sharp, dull sounds are often dead or unhealthy.)

・With a slimy, glossy surface
  (Smooth, whitish ones are often old.)

[Recommended recipes to eat in season]
*Osuimono (Japansee style clear soup with dashi)
It is known as standard menu for Hinamatsuri?!
You can enjoy not only the clam meat but also the rich dashi.

*Cooked rice with Hamaguri
Cooked rice with Asari clams are well known, but we also recommend the extravagant rice cooked with Hamaguri.
Hamaguri’s dashi permeates each grain of rice, making it an exquisite dish.

*Grilled Hamaguri
Of course, Hamaguri is delicious when grilled on a fish grill, but when the weather warms up, 
how about to cook it on camping or glamping?
By all means, grill it on a charcoal brazier and enjoy the juicy soup with your mouth full.

【Contact us】
Itabashi Trading Co., Ltd
Food Department 
Mr.TAKAYAMA  (Japanese, English, German)
TEL :+81-3-3248-1016(Workday 10:00~17:00)
Page Top