where to find whole belly clams
To those of you seeking whole belly/soft shell clams, may i suggest you look for an asian store that carries live seafood. I live Close to Denver, and in Denver there is a small chinatown/asian area with a lot of seafood retailors. One of the retail stores, called Pacific Ocean (recently mentioned in saveur magazine in the pantry section), sells live soft shell clams. They are kept in salt water tanks, and you "serve yoursef" so not only are the well purged and clean, but you can ensure you don't end up with broken/dead ones (they are also pretty inexpensive, $3.99/pound
). Alot of these stores also sell live dungeness crabs from the Pacific northwest, also awesome and also around $3.99/pound, but thats a whole new thread. If you live near a large metropolitan area that has some Asian population, I would find out where they shop. Also, the local Whole Foods stores will special order them; they are more expensive (around $6.99/pound) and are not kept in salt water tanks, so tend to be less purged/gritty and possibly with broken shells (soft shells do not transport that well). Hope this helps.