Razor clams collection with quicklime

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 (about 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 Gulf 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 have a feast in one of the shack restaurants at the beach.

How to catch razor clams with quicklime?

On low tide, when the mudflat is running dry, people choose a spot away from others. Then, they try to catch razor clams by following the procedure:

With the left-hand fingers, they tip the mud slightly in a radius around the body and try to find a mud spot that is not compacted. When finding one, they take a small stick of wood or plastic and dip it in quicklime. The shape of this stick is very similar to a cotton swab without cotton. Then they transfer a small amount of quicklime on top of this spot and into the clam’s hole. The quicklime was bought earlier in yogurt 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. Then it can be picked up easily.

Delicious but strange-looking clams

Restaurants prepare them into a spicy dish served together with steamed rice. The texture of the clams is a bit chewy. And strange enough – the sight of the individual clams reminds someone of 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 require too much time, resources, and effort. 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 clams. But still effective enough for collecting a good meal

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