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Aug 6, 2007 07:16 AM

Best place to get fresh, tiny live clams?

So my family is all of a sudden on a clam fix -- my 3 yo daughter especially can't get enough pasta alle vongole. This weekend I made a terrific version but I got the clams in Bensonhurst and that's hard for me to get to since I don't have a car. I work in Manhattan and it might be easier to get clams here, but I need advice on where to go.

The clams in Bensonhurst were very small -- they were white and about one inch in diameter -- the kind you can serve with the shells in the pasta (which is part of the charm for my daughter.) I think they may be called Manila clams, but I'm not sure.

Anyone have any suggestions on who might sell really fresh, really tiny clams? Do you think Whole Foods or Fairway would sell them? How about Chinatown? If Chinatown makes sense, can someone provide a relatively specific address or cross street? I'm not a big fan of Chinatown overall so I generally avoid it, but I've heard that their fish is usually very fresh.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. I believe vongole are called cockles in English. You can get them at Whole Foods, though Fairway would likely be cheaper. It being Monday, I don't know how fresh they will be, though I find that The Lobster Place (Bleecker and Chelsea Market locations) usually has enough turnover that I trust their shellfish.

    1. I have seen them in Whole Foods, but I don't think the seafood at Whole Foods is that fresh.

      Wild Edibles at Grand Central Terminal Market and Citarella carry them most of the time. The quality is always excellent.

      1. I too have been on a linguini vongole kick. I've found some of the best clams from the seafood vendors at the greenmarkets. If you are near Union Sq. there are great seafood vendors on Wed and Sat. I bought some littlenecks (not quite as small as the ones you described) there on Sat.

        1 Reply
        1. re: lchang

          Thanks. I live near GAP in Brooklyn and love that fish vendor, but their clams are indeed a bit too big for what I am looing for. Cockles! Thanks JungMann! I think that is what they are called. I always wondered what a cockle was from the Mary Poppins song!

        2. All the fairways carry them live

          1. Depending on where you work, Pisacane on First ave and 50th usually has cockles, manila clams and all sorts of little shellfish that would work.

            Manila clams are a little smaller than littlenecks, but bigger than cockles. They're also usually sold by weight and not by the piece as littlenecks are, so they're pretty cheap too. I think they're also called mahogany clams, but I may be wrong about that.