The last time I heard the word batotoy, I was buying longganisa (native sausages) at Belcap on Xavierville Avenue in Quezon City many years ago. I was surprised to hear batotoy again — this time, while buying shellfish at the Antipolo market. What I really wanted was mussels, the mussels were too small so I bought clams instead. While the half kilo of clams was being weighed, I peered at the other shellfish on display and got curious with one variety that had hair-like particles on the exterior of the shell. I asked the vendor what they were and he said, “Batotoy.”
I asked if they had another name but he didn’t know. I asked if they were related to the clam but he didn’t know either. It’s a bummer when a vendor doesn’t know what he’s selling, really, but that guy looked more like a houseboy left by the real fish stall owner to mind the stall while he or she took her merienda. Still, curiosity had already gotten the better of me and I bought half a kilo.
That’s the batotoy in the smaller pan.
And you can see the hair-like things on the shells.
I steamed the batotoy and it took almost ten minutes for the shells to open.
After the shells opened, I looked inside and I didn’t feel like eating what I found.
Later, much later, I searched for information. Using batotoy plus shellfish as keywords, I found a paper called “BiVALVE CULTURE IN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC PROCEEDINGS OF A WORKSHOP HELD IN SINGAPORE 16-19 FEBRUARY 19”. On page 56 is a table of “Commercially important species of bivalve molluscs found in the Philippines” and among the items in the list is the Anadara granosa — local name: Batotoy, imbow; English name: Blood clam, cockle, Ark shell.
I did separate searches for Anadara granosa, Blood clam, cockle and Ark shell, read a lot of articles but found no reference to the hair-like things on the shell.
Next, I did four separate image searches for Anadara granosa, Blood clam, cockle and Ark shell and found none with those hair-like things on the shell either.
So, if anyone knows what the shellfish in the photos are, I’m still curious.