Got these clams from a roadside seafood guy that Naoko always goes to in Katsuura, Chiba. I remember he worked out of a ramshakle space, dotted with random trinkets for tourists and framed dust-covered posters from the 70's. You would never think this were a place to get the freshest, top-of-the-line seafood. He must sell whatever he catches that very day.
This is the Sazae clam. The shell is thorny and colors, vibrant. See the hot pink? We had trouble trying to scoop the actual clam out of their shell with our chopsticks. Right when we were about to give up and let it be, we were able to get it! It's all about angling the shell juuust right.
It comes out all curled up, like a chubby baby infant. The texture is like no other, at once bouncy and crunchy-- in Japanese, you call this はごたい (hagotai).
The Sazae is a classic wintertime treat.