Razor clams can be collected with quicklime

Don Hoi Lot, Thailand

A mudflat full of razor clams

‘Don Hoi Lot’ is a mudflat in the Thai Province of Samut Songkhram with a size of about 15 km2 (abt 9 square miles). ‘Don’ means ‘mudflat’ in English. ‘Hoi’ means ‘clam’ and ‘Hoi Lot’ are razor clams (Solen regularis). This razor clam species is endemic to the Golf of Thailand and at Don Hoi Lot exists the largest concentration of this species of clams. An extensive description of this mudflat and its razor clams can be found here.

Bangkokians like to catch some of them on a family outing and having a feast in one of the shack-restaurants at the beach.

How to catch razor clams with quicklime?

On low tide, when the complete mudflat is running dry, people are choosing a spot away from others. Than, they try to catch razor clams by following procedure. With the left-hand fingers they tip the mud slightly in a radius around the body and try to find a mud spot which is not compacted. When finding one, they take a small stick of wood or plastic dip it in quicklime. Shape of this stick is very similar to a cotton swab without cotton. Than they transfer a small amount of quicklime on top of this spot and into the clam’s hole. The quicklime was bought earlier in yoghurt cups or similar containers from hawkers at the beach. It takes some seconds until the clam feels uncomfortable and will shoot out of its hole with most of its white colored body. Than it can be picked up easily.

Delicious but strange looking clams

Restaurants prepare them into a spicy dish served together with steamed rice. Texture of the clams is a bit chewy. And strange enough – the sight of the individual clams reminds someone to a body part of male crab-eating macaques (Macaca fascicularis) lingering around the surrounding mangrove forests.

Lessons learned about catching razor clams

  • Producing quicklime yourselves from limestone and wood will need too much time, resources, and efforts. Buying quicklime from hawkers is therefore highly welcome.
  • In a survival situation, a shovel or similar will not be as effective as quicklime in catching those clam. But still effective enough for collecting a good meal