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Pacific Razor Clams, $150?

I’m crazy about the Pacific Razor Clam! The better part of the last thirty years I spent my career traveling the globe. Yes, I was in the computer industry. But, it didn’t matter if I was in Canada, Mexico, France, Britain, Washington D.C, or Israel (even in Jerusalem you can find fresh shellfish). No matter where I went I was always interested in experiencing local shellfish. After all, I grew up not just eating pacific razor clams, but bay clams, abalone (in fact we used to cook so much we fed it to our dogs too, it was cheap back then), and other now rare and/or very expensive seafood eatables!

Everywhere I went I would ask people if they ever had tried a Pacific Razor Clam. And everywhere I went without fail I got the same answer, “No”; or “Oh, Yea, those little round things”. Fact is, nobody even knew what a Pacific Razor Clam looked like.

Razor Fish

Razor Fish Clam

It is true that on the East Coast, and since the 1970′s Northern European Coast, there are what they call Razor Fish (or Jackknife) clams (same family as the razor clam). But, nowhere close to the same eating as the Pacific Razor Clam! In fact, anywhere you find Razor Fish you won’t be seeing them frying a clam steak like a Razor Clam. There just too small, so they prepare them as steamer clams, and chowder.

The closet thing I have had in my life to a Pacific Razor Clam is Abalone, which today sells for $125 a pound… if you can find it! The taste is very similar, but the Razor Clam has a digger, which is much tenderer then an abalone. Geoducks sell in Asia today for up to $200 per pound, which is fine for sushi. In the Pacific Northwest thirty-years ago Geoducks were cheap, and chopped up for clam chowder, too tough to fry for me, I don’t care for them in sushi either!


Abalones on pandan leaf and bamboo mat.

In my opinion, The Pacific Razor Clam is the best kept secret of all shellfish! It’s just the best, in my humble opinion, especially cooked with the best Razor Clam Recipes. If you’re a local to the Pacific NW Coast I bet you can’t imagine paying $100 per pound for a Razor Clam; but who could blame you, my grandfather would have thought I was crazy, just like yours! But it’s only a matter of time. In fact they farm abalone in California, and now Geoducks in Washington, the Razor Clam could be next, but most of the beaches are public land, that alone will drive the price up as demand increases!

$150 Dollar Pacific Razor Clams, someday? Circa 2011, Ken Axt

Always check shellfish safety with your States Department of Agriculture. Furthermore, the Departments of Agriculture works in cooperation with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife which have collected and tested shellfish for toxins. As a result, the area your clamming in may, or may not, be open and safe. Razsorclamming.com accepts no responsibility for the safety of crabs, clams, and similarly for the consumption of any shellfish.