Sunday, May 31, 2009

Diwal, Pearly Shells - Lasang Pinoy


The pride and joy of my mother's hometown is a delectable shellfish locals call diwal (angel wing clam, cyrtopleura coastata). These fresh diwal were my mom's pasalubong when she returned from Negros in March. She hand-carried 4 kilos so I could binge on succulent diwal.

Diwal is a sand-burrowing clam collected by divers from sandy-muddy bottoms of inter-tidal areas in coastal waters, 6 to 8 meters deep. They are also gathered by trawlers which are destructive to their habitat. When I was a kid, diwal was abundant and inexpensive---it was a favorite pulutan (finger food).
But a few years ago, diwal was considered almost endangered due to indiscriminate fishing methods used by some harvesters, and harvesting was banned. The clams are now available but in small quantities, making it an expensive shellfish. My mother bought it at P250 a kilo and it could be a bit cheaper when in season. When I was in Negros last year, my cousin bought diwal for me at P400 a kilo---and it's sold at P500 a kilo in restaurants.

Not many folks know about great-tasting diwal unless they've been to parts of Western Visayas. In Valladolid, my mother's hometown, there are vendors selling diwal by the highway when the clams are in season, between May and July. And the buyers who stop by are mostly tourists and city-folks...apparently, the locals couldn't afford them anymore.


I like to keep its natural briny and sweet flavors so I prefer my diwal grilled. We also saute diwal in garlic, sweet onions and ginger, or steamed in lemongrass and ginger---incredibly delicious!


Posted for spiCes

16 comments:

Mirage said...

I thought from the first photo that they are humongous, buti na lang meron photo na kita yung size comparable sa daliri.

raquel said...

great photo! i can't believe how expensive they have become...that's too bad. i remember a time when you can buy clams from the wet market using tin cans for measurement. takal-takal...and P5 per takal is already considered expensive.

Sidney said...

I am always a bit apprehensive to eat shellfishes... put the blame on my stomach or liver... but I know I miss something good in life !

ces said...

i love sweet clams too!:)

Pacey said...

It's a very delectable and tasty type of shell. And yes, they're getting expensive. :( Nice shots and story too.

iska said...

Wow! Expensive nga pero malamang ay masarap nga.
(Napansin ko ang pearly manicured nails :-) )

witsandnuts said...

This is the first time I saw something like this. I'll keep in mind that it would taste better when grilled.

julie said...

Ay I am sure, sarap niyan! :)

Pinky said...

Have heard of diwal before but haven't had the pleasure of actually trying them... and I don't think I would be able to anytime soon considering how scarce and pricey they've since become... :(

MUSHROOMSfromHOME said...

is it becoming endangered? aside from banning indiscriminate harvesting, is there an active rehabilitation so that it can grow abundantly once again and even the locals will be able to enjoy them? thanks for sharing the story of diwal; it is part of our heritage - of our philippine seas, of our filipino cuisine.

luna miranda said...

hello, MushroomsfromHome! i've read some articles that the college of fisheries at UP-Visayas established sanctuaries for diwal and helped regenerate its dwindling population more than a decade ago. In the late 1990's, BFAR and the local government units (lgu's) in Western Visayas embarked on the conservation of this shellfish declaring a total ban in harvesting of diwal in parts of Capiz. The conservation efforts yielded positive results according to BFAR.

LGU's in Negros recommended a certain size of diwal to be harvested, and no harvesting is allowed in July to ensure breeding and spawning.

let's hope diwal fishery will become sustainable in the years to come.

MUSHROOMSfromHOME said...

thanks luna. that's good to hear. hopefully, in the not so far future, diwal will become abundant once more. will surely be on the lookout for diwal to savor its wonderful taste.

the donG said...

i rarely eat shell food. except scallops with melted butter. so tasty!

Jescel said...

from the first photo I thought that these clams were huge! I like them a bit smaller. This is good baked with lotsa garlic and butter.

My Masterpiece said...

ang sharap naman nya ulamin.

Health Alert said...

hey..u know wat. I'de prefer to eat fish and vegetables rather than meat.