Uncovering the Culinary Treasures of Clams in Asia

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Clams are a pretty popular seafood in Asia, and there are some pretty weird ones. I mean, have you seen the giant clam? It’s the size of a door!

In this article, I’ll tell you all about the different types of clams found in Asia and how they’re used. Plus, I’ll share some interesting facts about these mollusks.

Asian clams

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Asian Clam: An Invasive Species in Asia’s Freshwater Habitats

  • The Asian clam, also known as Corbicula fluminea, is a small freshwater clam native to Eastern Asia.
  • It was first discovered in North America in the late 19th century and has since spread to become a widespread invasive species in many freshwater habitats.
  • The species has been imported to other parts of the world, including Australia and Europe, through the aquarium trade and as a means of controlling algae growth in waterways.
  • In Asia, the Asian clam is commonly found in lakes, rivers, and estuarine habitats.

Impact on Native Clams and Aquatic Resources

  • The Asian clam is highly successful at reproducing and forming large colonies, which can quickly spread and outcompete native clams and mussels for resources.
  • Its filter-feeding behavior can also clog pipes and filter systems, causing problems for water treatment facilities and other aquatic resources.
  • The species has been known to have a significant impact on the ecological health of waterways and wetlands where it is found.

Control and Management

  • The task of controlling the spread of the Asian clam is difficult due to its widespread distribution and highly successful reproductive capabilities.
  • In the past, local and state wildlife agencies have used chemical treatments and physical removal methods to try and manage populations of the species.
  • Currently, the most successful means of controlling the spread of the Asian clam is through the use of biological control agents, such as the golden mussel, which is a natural predator of the Asian clam.
  • The Asian clam is listed as an invasive species in many states, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has published fact sheets and other resources to guide management efforts.

Additional Information and Research

  • The Asian clam is similar in appearance to other freshwater clams, making it difficult to identify without proper training.
  • The species has been the subject of extensive research, including ecological risk screening summaries and distribution maps.
  • The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Alberta Lake Management Society have partnered with other organizations to create a database of invasive species, including the Asian clam.
  • The Audubon Society spotlights the growth and impact of the Asian clam in Florida, and Google has published a guide to controlling the species in waterways.
  • Shawn Briggs, a wildlife biologist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, has conducted research on the impact of the Asian clam on freshwater habitats.

Clams in Asia: Habitat and Conservation

Clams are a large group of bivalve mollusks that are found in a variety of habitats in Asia. There are many types of clams that are native to Asia, including the Asian clam, which is a popular food item in many Asian countries. However, there are also invasive species of clams that have arrived in Asia, either accidentally or purposefully, that can cause problems for native species and their habitats.

  • The zebra mussel is an invasive species that has been introduced to Asia and can attach to surfaces, blocking treatment systems and causing damage to native species.
  • Invasive clams can also outcompete native species for food and space, causing a decline in the native population.

Habitat and Reproduction

  • Clams in Asia can be found in both freshwater and saltwater habitats, including rivers, lakes, and oceans.
  • Clams typically live partially buried in the substrate, with their shells and bodies exposed to the water.
  • Clams reproduce by releasing microscopic larvae into the water, which can be suspended in the water column and transported by currents.
  • The growth period for clams occurs during the warmer months, with growth rates varying depending on the species and habitat.

Conservation Efforts

  • The conservation of native clam species in Asia is important to maintain the complex ecosystems in which they live.
  • The Wildlife Code of Asia has established regulations for the harvest of clams in certain regions, including annual harvest dates and size limits.
  • In addition, efforts are being made to control the spread of invasive species, such as the zebra mussel, through the use of treatment systems and the removal of contaminated materials.
  • Information and news about the conservation of clams in Asia can be found through various channels, including international organizations and local wildlife collections.

Overall, the conservation of clams in Asia is crucial to maintaining the health of aquatic habitats and the survival of both native and invasive species.

Clams in Asian Cooking

When it comes to cooking with clams in Asian cuisine, choosing the right type of clam is essential. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Smaller clams are usually better for cooking, as they are more tender and have a sweeter taste.
  • Look for clams that are tightly closed, as this means they are still alive and fresh.
  • Check for any cracks or chips in the shells, as this could mean the clam is not safe to eat.
  • If possible, buy clams that have already been purged of sand and grit to save time and effort.

Common Clam Cooking Methods

There are a number of different ways to cook clams in Asian cuisine, depending on the particular style of dish you are preparing. Here are some of the most common methods:

  • Stir-frying: This quick and easy method involves cooking the clams in a wok with a mixture of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and other seasonings. The clams are usually served with rice as a main course.
  • Steaming: This is a popular method for preparing clams in Chinese cuisine. The clams are placed in a covered pot with a small amount of liquid (such as water or broth) and cooked until they open up. The liquid can then be used to make a sauce to pour over the clams.
  • Fermented bean slurry: This is a traditional Korean method of cooking clams. The clams are prepared in a mixture of fermented bean slurry and hot pepper paste, then served with rice and other side dishes.
  • Red sauce: This is a spicy, flavorful sauce that is often used to cover clams in Korean cuisine. The sauce is made with a mixture of red pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, and other seasonings, and is poured over the clams before serving.

A Quick and Easy Clam Recipe

If you’re looking for a simple, satisfying clam dish to try at home, here’s a recipe to get you started:


  • 1 pound fresh clams
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped white onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped scallion
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat.
2. Add the ginger, garlic, red pepper, and white onion and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
3. Add the clams and stir-fry for another 1-2 minutes.
4. Pour in the soy sauce and stir to mix well.
5. Cover the wok and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the clams have opened up.
6. Remove any clams that do not open.
7. Stir in the scallion and season with salt and pepper to taste.
8. Serve hot with rice or other side dishes.

Remember, the key to a good clam dish is to choose the right clams and to cook them using the right method. With a little bit of work and some careful attention, you can create a delicious, rounded dish that will satisfy even the most discerning palate.


Clams in Asia: a delicious treat, but also a threat to the ecosystem.  Clam populations have exploded in Asia, and it’s now a major invasive species problem. The golden mussel is a natural predator of the clam, and the best way to control the spread of clams is to use biological control agents. So, next time you’re at the market, pick up some clams for a delicious treat, but be aware of the ecological risks. You can help by reporting any clams you find to local authorities.

Check out our new cookbook

Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

Try it out for free with Kindle Unlimited:

Read for free

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.