Tairagai (タイラギ / Japanese Pen Shell)

Category: Kai (shellfish). Season: spring.


The tairagai's shell can be over a foot long and it is typically believed that the longer the shell, the better the taste. Like hotategai, only the adductor muscle is consumed. It is comparable in taste and texture to hotate, but the flesh is firmer, less sweet, and has more concentrated umami. Most sushi lovers prefer it over hotate due to its wonderful texture. It can be served either raw or grilled, and either nikiri sauce or salt can be applied to it.