Tudlo Dato / Rich Man’s Fingers, etc.


Huh? That’s exactly what I thought when the vendor said that is what these shells were called. She followed up with a bemused face, and total lack of conviction in her voice while explaining that wealthier people did indeed have more slender and longer fingers. At first I thought it might refer to folks with long finger nails, but she corrected me and pointed to my her own fingers. I can think of more than a few fairly well to do people with short stubby fingers, so I definitely think these are inappropriately named… :)


Reportedly good for goiter and other ailments, shells and shell meats are eaten in soups or suateed with vegetables. I haven’t eaten any of these type of shell meats, to my knowledge, and although I have eaten escargot and kuhol, I am not particularly fond of shell meats… I collected shells as a teenager, so maybe psychologically I am averse to eating them…who knows. Extremely high in uric acid, I gather, these would be off-limits for me anyway as I am prone to gout.


These shells, locally (in Tagbilaran, Bohol) known as saang, are also a delicacy.


These ones are called dawdaw.


Several other shells for sale, for which I did not write down their names. If you want to read more on shell meats, try this earlier posts here and here.


22 Responses

  1. MM. can’t exactly recall how we called these shells (the ones in the first photo) in Iloilo, but these shells are really good. Just put them over charcoal and they’re good to enjoy!!

  2. they look like razor clams. are they? if yes, they’re good sauteed with a lot of garlic and oyster sauce.

  3. Those “finger” shells looked so much like the bamboo shells we order at Mann Hann Chinese resto…sauteed in ginger and black bean sauce with hint to chili! Very good!

  4. MM, the first shell in your last pic, is that called “imbao or imbaw?” I remember eating those when we lived Bohol…that tasted so good raw and just adding vinegar in it…

  5. i posted a comment earlier but i don’t see it. i think those are bamboo shells (or razor clams), and they’re very good grilled over charcoal briefly, or stir-fried with garlic, ginger and some salted black beans and cilantro or red peppers.

    the “saang” are sometimes sold here unshelled (coaxing them out of the shells is cumbersome), and they are very good in a gingery broth with malunggay, or cooked in coconut milk.

    the ones in the foreground of the last photo are imbao, and they are considered “first-class”, are usually more expensive than most shellfish, and are very good broiled, baked or cooked in a clear or creamy (chowder) soup.

    MM, you’re missing a lot of goodness by not eating these babies!

  6. the incomparable taste of the broth with the just the shells, tomatoes, ginger and scallions, with the shells cooked until they open!!! the last ones are called ‘punaw’, in iloilo

  7. bamboo shells or tikhan to us Ilonngos–best cooked as a clear soup dish with ginger,onions and tomatoes.yummy!

  8. first photo does look like razor clams. we order this oftentimes cooked in black beans, garlic and some chilies. some places add crisped up ground pork. sarap!!! the last pix with the big clam (quahog?) we usually steam just until shell opens up. cut the meat into pieces, add minced onions, sili pang sinigang, rice vinegar, bird’s eye chili. really good with any grilled meats. almost like a salad, alis umay and make you eat more.

  9. Those datu’s digits are called tikan too in Tagalog. Folks usually serve them in broth with malungay or pepper leaves after being sautéed in garlic, onion and julienned ginger. They are slightly chewy and have a clean mild flavor. For the longest time, I could get them here packed in flat tins from Chile. Great as a quick substitute for vongole for fine spaghetti.

  10. I agree, the shellfish in the first photo are razor clams (international name) or bamboo shells as called in the Philippines. It’s a popular offering in Chinese restaurants here. I so wanted to recreate it, but I can’t find a recipe in the internet for bamboo shells. Then, I found a great recipe on razor clams by Kylie Kwong. You should try it! It’s yummy! Here let me share with you the recipe:

    Stir-Fried Razor Clams with Black Bean and Chilli Sauce
    Recipe by Kylie Kwong from Kylie Kwong My China

     1 kg live razor clam or mussels
     Black bean and chilli sauce
     3 tablespoons Peanut Oil
     5 cm piece of Ginger cut into thin strips
     2 Garlic Cloves finely chopped
     1 large Red chilli finely sliced
     2 tablespoons salted black beans
     3 tablespoons shao hsing wine
     2 teaspoons brown sugar
     2 tablespoons light soy sauce
     ½ teaspoon Sesame Oil
     1/3 cup Water
     2 teaspoons brown rice Vinegar
     2 spring onions scallions, trimmed

     Scrub, de-beard, rinse and drain razor clams or mussels.
    Black bean and chilli sauce
     Next, make the black bean and chilli sauce. Heat peanut oil in a wok until surface seems to shimmer slightly. Add ginger, garlic, chilli and black beans and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add shao hsing wine and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add sugar and allow to caramelise for 10 seconds. Add soy sauce, sesame oil and water and cook for 10 seconds.
     Lastly, add vinegar and spring onions and stir-fry for a further 30 seconds, then set aside.
     If using clams, place them in a shallow heatproof bowl that will fit inside a steamer basket. Place bowl inside steamer and position over a deep saucepan or wok of boiling water and steam, covered, for 3–4 minutes. Carefully remove clams and transfer to a serving platter.
     If using mussels, place them in a pot or a wok with 1½ cups cold water. Place over high heat, cover, and steam until shells open – about 2 minutes. As the mussels begin to open, immediately remove from wok with tongs and place on a serving platter.
     Drizzle sauce over clams or mussels and serve.

  11. Just cannt help commenting……I read in a palmistry book that long slender fingers usually belong to artistic people like painters, musicians,etc.Meanwhile short stubby fingers are usually among manual laborers since they have less dexterity—-meaning with their fat fingers it will be more difficult to hold a pen,a paintbrush etc. :)

  12. Tudlo Datu is the best shell.. Just make it into a soup, the meat just fall off the shell… Smooth, chewy, and delicate. That is how a rich man likes his shells.. hahaha

  13. @Marlon I think it’s NOT the Pacific razor clam/Siliqua patula because that species is only found in the Pacific Northwest!!! Too far from our tropical waters :)

  14. yummy bamboo shells! my dad hoards them when he sees them at Farmer’s Market. He cooks them with oyster sauce, oyster mushroom and celery with dried chilies. :)

  15. this is sooooooo COOL!!
    I haven’t seen this MANY shell fishes!!

    I think I’d go gaga when I see them!!
    I am such a fan of the Manila clams and the Bamboo Shells!!

    YUM!! :)



Subscribe To Updates

No spam, only notifications about new blog posts.