11.346 Taste Test: Cyclina v Orient


16 (Wed) December 2020

Taste Test: Cyclina v Orient


by me

at home

-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-

with DJ and IZ

As a spin-off to GMTD’s on-going series on fish varieties in Korea (see CULINARY AQUATIC CRANIATES A COREE), I’m tempted to cover clam varieties.  But I won’t.  For now.

Cyclinas (left) v Orients (right).

Mosi Jogae (모시조개) is a cyclina clam, aka Chinese venus clam, black clam, iron clam.  Linnaean classification: family Veneridae, genus Cyclina, species C. sinensis.

Baekhab (백합) is an orient clam, aka hamaguri.  Linnaean classification: family Veneridae, genus Meretrix, species M. lusoria.  In Korean, the term “baek (white) hab (clam)” refers to the white flesh.

Olive oil + white wine + garlic + chili flakes + black pepper + fresh parsley.

At E-Mart, the clams were purged, cleaned, and packaged in salt water, each pack 7,980 won for 600 grams.  They both looked great, so I bought both.  I cooked them together in the same dish to do a side-by-side comparison.

Spaghetti alle Vongole (3.0)
Cyclinas (left) v Orients (right).

The cyclina clam (mosi jogae) was the unanimous winner, marginally.  The orients were fleshier, but the cyclinas were tastier, by a bare tad.  Overall, both were disappointingly bland; even the sauce, with 1.2 kg of clams, only had a hint of clam flavor.  I’m wondering if it was because the clams were sourced from China; maybe they’d lost something in transit.

(For more details re foods, see WHAT)

(For more details re venues, see WHERE IN KOREA)

4 thoughts on “11.346 Taste Test: Cyclina v Orient

  1. Speaking of terms for different varieties of seafood; is there a distinction between “clams” and “mussles” in English? I ask because when I type the Swedish term (“musslor”) in google translate it gives me both “clams” and “mussels” as a translation (the second one being more frequent).
    I.e: what is the english term for the seafood used in “moules frites”? (A dish I have tried cooking several times frequently, and one of my favorites to eat in a restaurant).

    1. My understanding is that the term “clam” broadly refers to all bivalve (two-shelled) molluscs. Technically, mussels – the black long ones – are a type of clam. I don’t know why, but in American usage, they’re always called “mussels” and never as “clams.” And for some reason, other clams don’t have special names, except as descriptors: for example, cyclina clam or orient clam.

      Moules-frites doesn’t really have an English term, maybe just literally translated as “mussels & fries.” The dish isn’t very common in America, just as French bistros, which aren’t very common in America (see for example https://givemethisday.com/2018/12/28/9-357-puree-de-pommes-de-terre-with-black-truffles/).

      Let’s schedule a video call to catch up!!

      1. I find it interesting how the “common” names of different species and plant differ so much from the scientific ones.. Like how the fish herring is tradtionally called different things in Swedish depending on if it was caught north of the island of Kalmar in the Baltic sea (or the Baltic sea in general) compared to if it was caught on the west coast; “sill” (as in the fish in the can I sent you) vs “strömming”.

        I can highly recommend trying to make moules frites in the future. It’s a super easy dish and you can find many variation of the recipe.

        And yeah, let’s do a video call soon 🙂

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