Conch (basically sea snails) are a popular cuisine here in Japan. They’re eaten raw as sashimi and sushi or cooked, usually grilled or boiled in sake. My husband calls them “shells,” which isn’t a proper translation, but it’s more appetizing to me because I can pretend like they don’t crawl around. Ironically though, these are some of my favorite dishes in Japan. I do love my mollusks.
One of the most common conch dishes is sazae no tsubuyaki, which is a certain type of conch cooked in the way pictured above. To make it, they clean out the shell, put the flesh back in, and fill it with Japanese sake. It’ll cooked over a robata grill until fully cooked, and then the flesh is cut into small pieces. Most of the meat is chewy and similar in texture and taste to eating an abalone or a cherrystone clam. Many Japanese also like eating what I call the snail’s ‘intestines’, which are black and very very bitter. If you do visit Japan, give this dish (and its bits) a try, and you’ll be just like a local!