Akagai (赤貝 / Ark shell)

Category: Kai (shellfish). Season: Available from fall to the end of spring, best in the winter. 


Ark Shell (also called red clam) is a truly classic Edomae sushi-dane. Akagai used to be in plentiful supply right in Edo bay, but sadly these days it has become scarce and very pricey. The shellfish is washed in vinegared water, then carefully butterflied and sliced as pictured above. You'll often see the itamae slam the ark shell on the cutting board to further tighten the flesh. The resulting bite is deliciously sweet and wonderfully toothy. The himo (or mantle) can also be consumed and is delicious as well.