The Trail

The Trail: Lori Hashimoto and Hana Japanese Eatery Make Mirugai, or Geoduck Sashimi

We're going behind the scenes and getting up close and personal with some of the Valley's favorite chefs, learning what it takes to make one of their best-known dishes. Welcome to The Trail.

According to Chinese folklore, geoducks are aphrodisiacs. And when you see one of the large and, let's be honest, phallic, clams sitting on a counter, it's not hard to imagine how that rumor began.

But virility claims aren't the only thing these bivalves have working in their favor. Geoducks, pronounced "goo-ee-ducks," have a rich, chewy, and crunchy texture, as well as a pleasant briny flavor not unlike that of a fresh oyster. In fact, these clams are in such high demand they can cost up to $1 an ounce at wholesale prices. An order of mirugai, or geoduck sashimi, will cost you about $20 if you find it on the menu at a sushi restaurant.

Hana Japanese Eatery in Phoenix gets one of the highly prized clams "every once in a while," says co-owner and sushi chef Lori Hashimoto. And when they do, she warns, the special never lasts for long.

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Evie Carpenter and Lauren Saria