Every few days our team will scour Shanghai’s dining scene for scrumptious dishes that’ll fill your belly without emptying your savings. Not to discriminate, we’ll search everywhere from bicycle carts to chic venues with twenty-course tasting menus, knowing that any spot could have the next Dish of the Day.
Like elephants and a watering hole in the dry season we can’t stay away from the Tongchuan Road Seafood Market for long. When we’re not after mantis shrimp, spiny lobsters, groupers, or mud crabs, we’re rooting around for razor clams, one of the market’s best buys.
Just to clarify, the razor clams we go for aren’t the short, stubby species, which we find kind’ve dry and gritty-tasting, but the ones with the long, rectangular shells that you could actually slit your wrist on. You’ll see bunches of these guys twined together with a rubber band at almost every vendor on Tongchuan Road. You want clams with splotch-free white flesh.
The asking price for razor clams is around 30-35RMB, but iron-tongued bargainers can probably get it down to 20 RMB; an 80% discount from the price at a normal seafood spot. Once you’ve acquired your shellfish, pick out a seafood restaurant on the main strip or bisecting streets and have your bivalves prepped the way you’d like for 15RMB per jin of clams (we prefer stir-fried). We chose to eat ’em at Shanghai Zhenru Seafood Shop on our last clamming expedition, but any of the restaurants we’ve mentioned in past articles will do the job.
Food critics often use the word “buttery” to describe good clams. If that’s the case, then razor clams are like sticks of butter with shells. And though painful for me to admit, they even trump the venerated New England steamers. Go check them out.
Shanghai Zhenru Seafood Shop – 437 Lanxi Lu, near Tongchuan Lu (兰溪路437号, 近铜川路). Tel: (0)21-5266-6007. Closest Metro Stop: Closest Metro Stop: Zhenru (真如) Line 11.
Last time on Dish of the Day: Eel @ Lan Ting
See a complete list of our Dish of the Day series here.
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