12 Mar2009

diwal2

One of the sweetest most succulent shellfish I have ever tasted. A specialty of Negros and Capiz, these incredibly delicious clams were considered nearly endangered a few years ago. Harvesting them was banned or curtailed for a period of several years, and it seems they have recovered a bit and are now being sold again in small quantities. I tasted these for the first time just last Christmas, here, so I was hoping that on our recent very brief trip to Bacolod that I would see them as close to the source as possible. The food gods were highly cooperative… We did an hour long or so roadtrip to Valladolid, south of Bacolod to visit the Church there, where one of our group’s parents had gotten married, and to attend the town fiesta which happened to be that Saturday.

diwal4

We spotted this roadside diwal vendor just a kilometer or so outside Valladolid town proper and stopped. A little bargaining, some sweet talk (that’s what Ilonggo sounds like to me, regardless of topic under discussion!) from our local friends, et voila, a price of PHP180 a kilo, the jackpot I am told, and we asked for 6 kilos, no make that 8 kilos, no add another few kilos, and soon everyone in our van managed to buy every single diwal this vendor had in stock! I was a bit worried about driving around for another few hours with live shellfish, but it seems these are incredibly resilient and live and thrive for several more days as long as they are in some salt water and in a cool place…

diwal1

Often referred to as “Angel Wing Clam” or Cyrtopleura costata, these seem very similar, though smaller, than their western relatives. There isn’t much information about our local species, but all I can say it they taste heavenly (pun intended). Thrown on a grill or stuck in a hot oven they open up and reveal sweet meat. Sometimes they have a sack filled with what I can only refer to as guts, and if you are up to it, I suppose this can be removed prior to serving them. If you add a little sweet butter and a sprinkling of salt that is about as much enhancement as they need.

diwal3

These are still considered a seasonal delicacy, and not many folks know about them unless you have visited these parts and been lucky enough to taste them… I understand Margarita Fores sometimes serves them at Cafe Bola so if you get a chance, try them there.

diwal5

The next day, we spotted more of the clams for sale in Bacolod city proper from a live sea food vendor. At PHP380-400 a kilo there they cost TWICE the price of the roadside guy the day before. But in aerated water, you can see how lively they are and their “feet’ are all out and twisting about. Happy as a clam. :)

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Edwin D. says:

    Those clams looks scrumptous to eat. Price might be a little steep but worth it, right?

    Mar 12, 2009 | 8:36 am

     
  2. Jenny says:

    my dad loves these shells! i’m glad to hear that they are making a comeback. looking forward to your diwal recipes :)

    Mar 12, 2009 | 8:40 am

     
  3. millet says:

    aaarrrggghhh….this post is major punishment for me! have been salivating just thinking about diwal, and now you tell me you bought them for P180/kilo! major aaarrggghhh!

    Mar 12, 2009 | 8:47 am

     
  4. linda says:

    This is off topic,but I just want to remind pinoys in Australia that World Cafe Asia will be showing on the 20th of March 8:30pm on Foxtel and will be featuring our loved and popular “Marketman”. This is an episode not to be missed!

    Mar 12, 2009 | 8:48 am

     
  5. Lee says:

    hi millet. this is the post you have been waiting for :)

    Mar 12, 2009 | 8:59 am

     
  6. Marketman says:

    Lee, they were delicious. Linda, OMG, you will see it before we do! millet, a steal at PHP180, no? Jenny, you just roast them or stick them in an oven, that’s it. No fancy treatment at all. Edwin D, at PHP180 and the high meat to shell ratio, these were a bargain…

    Mar 12, 2009 | 9:03 am

     
  7. sanojmd says:

    grrr.. gonna miss the episode of world cafe asia coz i dont have a cable here.. grrr…

    Mar 12, 2009 | 9:10 am

     
  8. GJN says:

    MM is right … diwal is best grilled with no fancy stuff added. Oh and have them spit mud before grilling by putting them in fresh water. Wow, lampirong in the other post … Bacolod / Silay here I come!!!

    Mar 12, 2009 | 9:38 am

     
  9. natie says:

    i had my fill of diwal last month in iloilo..SO GOOD!! in the markets P250/kilo…in the supermarkets P350/kilo.

    Mar 12, 2009 | 9:51 am

     
  10. Maria Clara says:

    They must be real good if they do not need any grease lightning when roasting/grilling them. One of our precious gifts from Mother Nature – long survival rate and have them burped whatever they have in their intestinal tract and throw them in hot grill and enjoy.

    Mar 12, 2009 | 10:12 am

     
  11. tipat says:

    oh wow, this was my dad’s favorite! I think they also have a lot of this in his hometown – Zamboanga. I remember how excited he would get whenever he was able to buy these from the local markets.

    Mar 12, 2009 | 10:18 am

     
  12. betty q. says:

    MM, are they available year round?

    Mar 12, 2009 | 10:55 am

     
  13. iyoy says:

    also good as sinabawan, with or without onion and ginger (i prefer mine without). just go easy on the water for a concentratred broth with that heavenly briny taste.

    Mar 12, 2009 | 11:02 am

     
  14. sonny sj says:

    one of my favorite shellfish! if memory serves me right, there is a Diwal Festival is held in Capiz every 2nd week of Aug. where tons and tons (ok, maybe just basins and basins) of diwal is offered for sale.

    Diwal is usually available at Marina Seafood Resto.

    Mar 12, 2009 | 11:10 am

     
  15. lee says:

    i just hope that harvesting will be regulated and research be made to avoid extinction of this wonderful specie.

    Mar 12, 2009 | 11:33 am

     
  16. simone says:

    HUUWAAAAT?? 180php/kilo?? That’s like free! Even in Iloilo, the price of Diwal is around 300php/kilo! You should have gotten the number of the vendor haha! Diwal is really delicious, so sweet and succulent yummm! There is nothing else like it.

    Mar 12, 2009 | 12:39 pm

     
  17. alicia says:

    Had some delicious diwal at Pepato a few weeks back, grilled with some truffle butter. Yum! Even my very picky kids loved them- extremely sweet

    Mar 12, 2009 | 12:57 pm

     
  18. Rose5 says:

    have not tasted diwal yet, but speaking of Negros i love their talaba and batchoy…

    Mar 12, 2009 | 1:02 pm

     
  19. socky says:

    La Salle Bacolod used to invite me and other ad practitioners to lecture to their students on marketing/advertising. Everytime the school officials (I remember the very gracious Ms. Coscolluela) would ask how much I charge as a speaker, I would just ask to be served diwal (cheap ko ‘no?), and they would! Not only diwal but all the specialties of Bacolod. The experience was certainly worth more than any stipend or fee!

    Now that the diwal is back, I don’t mind being invited again :-)

    Mar 12, 2009 | 1:24 pm

     
  20. diday says:

    Linda, I’ve seen the preview of World Cafe Asia 2 and with MM looking cheerful and pleased with the food he was munching.

    Mar 12, 2009 | 2:12 pm

     
  21. Jaja says:

    I’ve been seeing the ads of Discovery Travel and Living for the new season of World Cafe Asia and MM is definitely there=) My Dad’s family is from Valladolid but I have not tasted Diwal before. I guess it’s time to go and visit my cousins there and have a taste of Diwal too=)

    Mar 12, 2009 | 2:23 pm

     
  22. jun says:

    This look like more of a bamboo clam. It’s quite expensive here in singapore and you can only see them at seafood restaurant not in the market. The way they cook is very simple which is probably just steam tops with garlic….Very tasty though better than mussel. If I got hold on it I will simply cooked it the tinola way with chili leaves the soup will definitely taste heavenly.

    Mar 12, 2009 | 2:29 pm

     
  23. Lava Bien says:

    Hmmm, Tinolang Diwal? Wow, sounds like heaven!

    Tinola, tinola, tinola, more Filipino than adobo and we don’t even know.

    Mar 12, 2009 | 2:59 pm

     
  24. Maki says:

    yum… nice, fresh and alive!!!!

    really delicious when grilled

    Mar 12, 2009 | 3:10 pm

     
  25. Katrina says:

    I was so excited when I saw diwal in the very first restaurant we ate at after landing in Bacolod! None of the friends I was with (even one who’d been to Bacolod several times) had heard of it, but I remembered Margarita Fores mentioning it more than once. We had it grilled with some butter and garlic, and it was just wonderful. We also had fun taking some pictures with the angel wing shells. :-)

    I hope Margarita advertises when she’s got some diwal at her restaurants, as I’d really love to eat it again.

    Mar 12, 2009 | 3:13 pm

     
  26. Celina says:

    Definitely the next best thing to heaven………..Diwal. Have not had them in ages. Freshly grilled or in a little broth with garlic and ginger and nothing else. For those who have never had angel clams, it is worth the trip to Bacolod.

    Mar 12, 2009 | 5:09 pm

     
  27. York says:

    Diwal really tastes great.. Margarita Fores’ mom is from Bago City, Negros Occidental- Baby Araneta Fores..

    Mar 12, 2009 | 5:57 pm

     
  28. Anbu says:

    That looks amazing.

    Mar 12, 2009 | 7:14 pm

     
  29. corrine says:

    It’s funny that some years back I thought I would have the best shellfish in Italy, having been exposed only to our wet market in Paranaque. Unfortunately, the shells weren’t in season when we were there on a business trip. On another occassion when I was in Cebu, I realized that what I have been looking for is right in my own country and probably better. I was so happy in Cebu so that means I will be ecstatic in seafood haven, Bacolod and of course, they say, Iloilo!

    Mar 12, 2009 | 8:22 pm

     
  30. Apicio says:

    They look like pygmy cousins of similarly shaped sub-species of clam served as geoduck in Chinese restaurants in Canada. These intimidating giant varieties are sold fresh submerged in salt water just like your diwal, but their syphons look more like elephant trunks and judging by their size and texture would require super-human effort at chewing when cooked. On the other end of the size spectrum are the even smaller tikans they gathered at low tide in Bataan. Their shells are narrower, more like dug-out canoes than angels wings. They show up from time to time in Toronto markets as razor clams.

    Mar 12, 2009 | 9:51 pm

     
  31. Joey Pacheco says:

    i had a baaaaaaaaad experience with diwal in bacolod a couple of years ago. i was there on business and was treated to dinner @ a famous restaurant which apparently did not prepare the diwal well or maybe served us dead ones. i had a lbm as did half of my participants (i was running a workshop). One high-ranking company officer ignored the seatbelt sign on his way back to MNL and stayed in the lavatory throughout the flight. Diwal? Unforgettable indeed :-)

    Mar 12, 2009 | 10:23 pm

     
  32. Doddie from Korea says:

    MM,

    When I was a teenager, growing up in Bacolod (my Dad was assigned by UNILAB there for several years) we would go digging for clams and diwal at the breakwaters (reclamation area). There was nothing more satisfying that digging little clams (very tiny, fingernail size) plus long diwals and then steaming them as soon as we came home.

    The best diwal dish I’ve had was in Xiamen, China. I was on a business trip and was treated to a sumptious chinese banquet. Aside from the crunchy mountain snake dish, they served steamed diwal standing in a bunch in a very elegant ceramic tube. It was wonderful.

    Mar 12, 2009 | 10:25 pm

     
  33. faithful reader says:

    Do you know if these clams can be found in the US? I would love to try some.

    Also, I remember when I was back in the Philippines years ago, I tasted a type of shrimp that looked like a centipede. In tagalog i think they called it alopihan dagat( ? on spelling) Have you ever seen or tasted this? I would like to know the name and find it here if they have it here. I just remember it being so good and sweet.

    Mar 12, 2009 | 11:13 pm

     
  34. Connie C says:

    Faithfulreader, would that be pitik as they call it here in Palawan? They have very sweet meat indeed and to me better than lobster.

    Mar 12, 2009 | 11:59 pm

     
  35. betty q. says:

    Faithful reader: try Icelandic Scampi. It ocmes frozen in a 4 pound box.

    Mar 13, 2009 | 1:52 am

     
  36. Mandy says:

    i just saw them being sold in shopwise a few weeks ago. i was telling my mom about it and for the life of me, i couldn’t remember the name. but i think they were dead na on the basin. should they be bought alive–like mussels or it’s ok that it’s not alive? they kinda look like what they call long-neck clams.

    Mar 13, 2009 | 2:00 am

     
  37. Red98 says:

    DIWAL has been a long time favorite of mine and had a yearning for these during the years they were banned. Really glad to see them back. Awfully delicious when grilled or baked WITH GARLIC and BUTTER. O ya, just a dash of salt. CLAM HEAVEN….Yummy, yummy, yummy!

    Mar 13, 2009 | 3:41 am

     
  38. natie says:

    mandy, not the Steamers?? they kinda taste similar..they also have the long neck or siphon

    Mar 13, 2009 | 4:09 am

     
  39. Vicky Go says:

    I’ve never had the good fortune of eating these clams when I lived in RP. They sound like the New England soft shell clams called “steamers” – which also have appendage that is filled usually w sand & generally need to be discarded. I don’t know their scientific name, but they are best steamed & eaten w drawn butter! They’re great roadside food sampled when travelling thru New England – Cape Cod to the Bay of Maine. Sometimes they are referred to as “piss” clams.

    Mar 13, 2009 | 4:23 am

     
  40. Vicky Go says:

    oh here’s an interesting article re angel wing clams -
    http://www.inklingmagazine.com/inkycircus/detail/sadly-the-one-natural-history-fact-in-the-kickass-movie-sahara-is-bunk/

    pay attn to the ff paragraph:

    Well about one third of the way through the film, Dirk pauses in front of a vendor alongside the Niger river and picks up two clam shells that face each other like angel clams. And in a manner that I can only equate with what David Attenborough would have sounded like if he was raised in the south and half his age, Pitt says:

    Sometimes I think about Petracola Fularatormus, the angel wing clam. This river is the only place on the earth they are found. Underwater they glow in the dark. Now the amazing thing is that modern science cannot explain why.

    I’ve always wanted to learn more about this phenomena but always forget to look it up. Not this time. A quick google search reveals that there are several problems with this portion of the script according to MovieMistakes.com:

    Three problems: First, Petricola Pholadiformis, are actually called “False angel wing” and are found many places in the world in fresh water (but seldom in the Niger River). Second, what’s known as the ”Angel wing” shell (no “false” in its name) has Cyrtopleura Costata, as its scientific name. Cyrtopleura Costata, (“Angel wing”) is found in salt water. Third, Dirk also said they “glow in the dark”; some varieties of Cyrtopleura Costata, shells will glow if exposed to ultraviolet light but none glow from their own internal source. Petricola Pholadiformis, shells don’t glow at all.

    Mar 13, 2009 | 4:29 am

     
  41. Vicky Go says:

    Here’s a link for images/pics of angel wing clam shells found at Myrtle Beach, NC:

    http://www.mitchellspublications.com/guides/shells/articles/0018/

    Mar 13, 2009 | 4:33 am

     
  42. Mangaranon says:

    Diwal is the food of my childhood. Good memories!

    Mar 13, 2009 | 7:06 am

     
  43. Doddie from Korea says:

    For Faithful Reader,

    In Cavite, those are called “palatak” (for the sound that they make when they are still alive, they snap their backs and make a ‘palatak’ sound). In other parts of the Philippines, they are called alupihang dagat. The best ones are the plump ones with roe or mustard green on their backs (turns bright orange when cooked). There is a way to open them, you have to press one side with your fingers until the back shell separates from the underside. Repeat with the other unopened side. Once you have done this, take the last segment of the back shell near the tail and pull it off. The back shell will seperate from the body completely. Dunk in suka or sinamak. Aaaah!

    Mar 13, 2009 | 8:17 am

     
  44. faithful reader says:

    Thank you Doddie. Is it only found in the Philippines? I live in California and was wondering if I could find them here. All I can remember about them is that they are so good.

    Thank you all for the info too!

    Mar 13, 2009 | 8:51 am

     
  45. Marketman says:

    Doddie, in many parts of the Philippines, “alupihang dagat” refers to a different sea creature, more like a centipede, see this post here. So it may be a case of same names for different things…

    Mar 13, 2009 | 9:42 am

     
  46. sonny sj says:

    faithful reader,

    alupihang dagat is mantis shrimps in English. I saw huge ones in singapore, about 8 inches long!

    3 weeks ago i was lucky to come across live ones at the Malolos wet market. bought 2 kilos worth, steamed it and brought it to antipolo where i reside. my friends went gaga over it! he he

    the vendor said its just coming into season so marketmanila readers may start seeing them in the metro wet markets soon.

    Mar 13, 2009 | 11:30 am

     
  47. teny says:

    I simply love how they cook diwal at ABOY’s.

    MM,

    How did you cook this? WIll this taste good also baked with cheese, butter , parsley and garlic?

    Mar 13, 2009 | 2:32 pm

     
  48. luna miranda says:

    i love diwal…my mom is arriving from bacolod tomorrow and she’s bringing diwal for me. yeheyyyyy!

    by the way, my mom’s family is from valladolid. she was there during the fiesta. i’m sure you had a great time eating diwal…can’t wait to have my diwal tomorrow.:D

    Mar 13, 2009 | 3:56 pm

     
  49. lui says:

    I’ve seen diwal in SM hypermart Manila. In ice and dead. Live ones are available in Breakthrough resto in Iloilo. Never ordered them though.Sayang.
    I agree with the others, alupihang dagat(tatampal in malabon)is best cooked inasnan ( inasinan ).
    Any info on Balay, a shellfish that looks like a guitar. Thin shelled, green in color, and with an inch long appendage/foot/anchor encased in a platic like material. Nanay used to cook ‘em tocho style. Its flesh is oh so creamy.

    Mar 14, 2009 | 12:43 am

     
  50. Gener says:

    This clams are abundant and cheap in the philippines, availability of these molusk abroad can be seen too but way expensive! that php180.00 per kg. is like a joke price actually if you compare a price in spain of 35 euros for the cheapest. every time my wife buys them, we always had an argument cause of the price, i always insist that they are cheap in my country and she always tells me “go to your country” which she maybe right..This seafoods almost beyond my reach, i suffered eating them cause of the heavy price!!!!

    Mar 14, 2009 | 5:44 pm

     
  51. jadedfork says:

    MM, the things i learn from your site!

    At first i thought they were just fat razor clams, but these do look different indeed. In the past, i’ve always been warned to avoid mollusks when i go home, but i now see that i’ll have to give these a try. Hopefully, they’re available towards the end of the year which is when I usually visit.

    Mar 15, 2009 | 12:04 am

     
  52. jack says:

    Best way to enjoy them is in a soup with ginger and just simply grilled. Man I need to go home to Iloilo.

    Mar 15, 2009 | 3:24 pm

     
  53. Daphne says:

    Diwal is one of those most unforgettable things I’ve ever tasted. Had them a few times in Breakthrough Iloilo and I’ve never seen them since. I remember how succulent they tasted. And I think all they did was grill them. I’d fly to Iloilo now if I could – just to taste diwal.

    Mar 16, 2009 | 9:02 pm

     
  54. Jun says:

    Hi. We will have a daily delivery by plane of live Diwal in Manila starting next week.The price is Php 350 per kilo and 1 kilo is around 15 to 20 pcs. We can supply 50 to 100 kilos per day.

    For orders please call or text 09218117699.

    Thank you.

    Mar 18, 2009 | 7:09 am

     
  55. jun b says:

    Errr this is not me…I’m Jun from Singapore. I think I need to change my nick

    Mar 18, 2009 | 9:53 am

     
  56. Nuj M says:

    Sorry jun b i didn’t notice that there was a jun nick before me..no need to change ur nick..il be d one to change mine..it’s Nuj M from now on..hehehe

    Anyway for those interested to taste this wonderful diwal just give us a call or text.

    Thank you.

    Mar 18, 2009 | 10:00 am

     
  57. annie says:

    I have never tried an angel winged clam

    Apr 7, 2009 | 7:24 am

     
  58. koldie says:

    I dont get what to do…

    Apr 13, 2009 | 1:40 am

     
  59. noel says:

    diwal’s definitely the best shellfish i’ve had…we’re currently conducting a study on this clam at the university of the philippines visayas…hopefully we could come up with the technology to mass produce seeds for future restocking efforts. we can’t afford to loose this delectable treasure!

    Apr 21, 2009 | 9:05 pm

     
  60. noel says:

    btw, the species found here in western visayas is pholas orientalis…the pacific angel wing clam…hehe

    Apr 21, 2009 | 9:26 pm

     
  61. Claire says:

    haha that’s exactly what i was googling “angel wing shell glow in the dark” for! glad this site came up in the results :D

    thanks for clearing that up :) i always want to google it but have never had time or forgotten.

    Aug 6, 2009 | 8:25 am

     
  62. millet says:

    was in iloilo last weekend and big diwal at the central market was at P150/kilo!

    Sep 21, 2009 | 3:28 pm

     
  63. chinggay says:

    i’ve heard of diwal before but never have a chance personally see the clam nor taste it until i am to make a study of it. Last week in Leganes, a vendor was selling diwal at 50 pesos per kilo. the clams are just small and i doubted if it’s really diwal. then few days after i was asked to buy diwal from the grocery for our guests and that one was at 380 pesos per kilo. the ones from the grocery was Pholas orientales and i think the ones from Leganes is of the Barnea species. The taste of Pholas orientalis did not really impress me i don’t know why. Maybe it’s with the way it was cooked, buttered and baked. Next time il eat the steamed one so i could get the real taste of diwal.

    Sep 26, 2009 | 10:24 am

     
  64. Mike Santos says:

    Hi Marketman! Urgently seeking your permission to use the picture of angel wings in a black wok in a book, “Estilo Ilonggo” coming off the press in a month. If you grant your permission, whom do we credit for the photograph please?

    Vicente Roman S. Santos

    Oct 22, 2009 | 9:00 pm

     
  65. Marketman says:

    Mike, yes, you have my permission to use the photo of the diwal in a black plastic palanggana, its not a wok. Only for the book Estilo Ilonggo, and kindly credit photo to http://www.marketmanila.com. Good luck with the book!

    Oct 23, 2009 | 10:24 am

     
  66. el_jefe says:

    abaw kanamit!!!! i miss roxas capiz!!!!

    Oct 30, 2009 | 12:34 pm

     
  67. Ado says:

    I’m from Manila visiting Iloilo. We just had diwal for lunch. It is so good, i quickly googled it and found this blog. You are right, it is one of the best shellfish I’ve ever tasted. Great blog! (FYI, I posted a link in my FB.)

    Nov 24, 2009 | 1:38 pm

     
  68. Mike Santos says:

    Dear Marketman, the book is out. I would be honored to send you a copy of the book if you would tell me where to deliver in Metro Manila. Many many thanks!

    Jan 9, 2010 | 7:56 am

     
  69. mikey says:

    Hi!

    Mike Santos’s book is out and it is great. Saw your photo and website in the bibliography.

    Great Food and Lifestyle blog you have here. I have been lurking here for a year and now had the courage to write.

    Best Regards from Iloilo!

    Jan 12, 2010 | 3:43 am

     
  70. dindi says:

    i bought diwal for only 120 pesos while we were on our way to villadolid.. the vendor told us we are his buena mano….just got lucky

    Feb 3, 2010 | 11:33 pm

     
  71. Seafood terminal says:

    Diwal for sale. Live – php300.00./ kg Ready to cook (clean) -php 450.00/kg export quality.

    For orders pls call or text 0939 6111111

    We are also selling:
    Blue crabs,alimango,shirmps,bay-ad,fish,crab meat and oyster(talaba)

    Jun 6, 2010 | 11:50 am

     
  72. Alex says:

    The last time I had Diwal was almost 10 years ago. Having been born and raised in Iloilo, it was part of my childhood. Recently, I finally found live Diwal here in Manila… at big ones at that. I bought a kilo and brought it home because the resto did not grill (for me, the BEST way to cook it). After giving cooking instructions thrice, I was surprised to find out the people here at home cooked it like the ordinary tahong. Such a huge waste!

    Vendors selling in Metro Manila please e-mail me at bluephoenixmd@gmail.com so I can pay your store a visit. Thanks.

    Jun 24, 2010 | 4:15 pm

     
  73. dennis says:

    been to Roxas City last week and bought this for only P80/kilo! :p

    Jul 19, 2010 | 12:07 am

     
  74. Jonathan A.Alayon says:

    hi roxas city be proud to be capizeños!!!!!! angel wings clam are more abondant here in roxas city, capiz i brought only 120/ kilo and that is a big one. i used to buy trice a week or five times a week coz i like it. i feel the umami in this shell. ohhhm sarap talaga. try it!!!! mabuhay capiz order pls. dial. 09154036275

    Sep 24, 2010 | 3:59 pm

     
 

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