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Mar 16, 2010 01:03 AM

Gooseneck barnacles wow

A large number of (still live) gooseneck barnacles were thrown up on the beach in Tofino after a storm, so I cooked them up (steamed for a few minutes).

Wow. I can see why they are a very expensive delicacy in europe. Sweet and a bit chewy, kind of like a cross between razor clams and shrimp. Fantastic. if you ever get a chance to try them....

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  1. bom appetit! not only it's delicious, the most expensive, but also sometimes costs lives collecting.

    the memory alone makes me drool. perceves are one of those things i have to go to Portugal or Spain to eat. in Portugal they gave me a lovely homemade chili garlic dipping sauce on the side.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Pata_Negra

      Does anyone know if it is legal to harves these in Canada? I guess there is no commercial fishery...what a shame....

      You can buy canned barnecles from an on-line source:

      1. re: Pollo

        perfectly legal if you have a fishing license. limit 2 KG per day / 4 kg posession. one thing I'm not sure about is whether they are liable to PSP (paralytic shellfish poisoning) in the same way as oysters/clams. They are not bivalves (actually arthropods), and they don't filter-feed in quite the same way as clams or oysters, but they may still be able to accumulate marine toxins. Closures don't mention them but that may be because they are rarely harvested. First nations do eat them, I know.

        1. re: Pollo

          $75 for a can? holy moly. I think I ate about $150 worth then :)

          1. re: jcolvin

            Not to sound like a "food snob" but I bought some to see how the canned version compares to fresh which I had in Spain (considered quite a delicacy).....will post some pictures once the can is opened. I know someone at UBC who works on PSP and will try to find out if it's a factor. Also, I will try to find out more about harvesting from an old friend with works for Fisheries and Oceans...could lead to quite a "tasty" hobby?

            Speaking of unusual seafood...check this link on picorocos:

            I had these in various forms in Chile....better that any crab meat I ever had...
            I don't think you can find these in BC???

            1. re: Pollo

              those picoroca look like acorn barnacles. you can see one in the picture i posted of the goosenecks (they were attached to an acorn). Apparently first nations roast them in the fire. I hadn't figured out how to open them, next thing to try :)

              1. re: jcolvin

                In Chile they use a hammer...yes, just a hammer to open them up...messy but it works....

                1. re: Pollo

                  To resurrect an old post, i finally got my hands on a cluster of large acorn barnacles. Steamed them for a few minutes, then grabbed the tip of the "beak" and pulled and out popped the barnacle. No hammer required. Delicious! Like a cross between crab/lobster and urchin, with a mix of white muscle meat and yellow roe or something or other.

          2. re: Pollo

            here's a pic of one cluster. I had about 5 of these. A bit hard to see the scale but they are in a rice cooker.

            1. re: jcolvin

              jcolvin - you are the resident expert on unusual seafood. Awesome. I still haven't thanked you for the tip on the uni merchant in Steveston (Kuroshio).

        2. How and where does one find these in the wild?

          5 Replies
          1. re: mshumi

            "How and where does one find these in the wild?"

            In the intertidal splash zone-often a perilous place to harvest one's dinner-proceed carefully.

            1. re: Sam Salmon

              Yeah, goosenecks thrive in areas of high wave action or current action, hence the flexible 'gooseneck'. They're common on the outer coast of Vancouver Island. Haven't really seen them off Vancouver as there's not enough wave energy.

              I had them served to me at Sooke Harbour House about five years ago. They were absolutely delicious.

              Harbour House Restaurant
              12233 Beecher St, Surrey, BC V4A3A2, CA

              1. re: peter.v

                I hear people sometimes loose their lives collecting them. If anyone does manage to get some, i found the best way to cook/eat them was to chop them off as close to the substrate (mussel shell or whatever they are attached to) as possible, steam very briefly (couple minutes), then you peel off the outside of the bottom leathery "stalk" (being careful of hot juices), grab the white inside section with your teeth, pull it out and eat it. The inedible bit generally stays in the shell. Even more tasty than razor clams, another favourite of mine (worth journeying to Haida Gwai so you can dig them).

                1. re: peter.v

                  Interesting. I used to sell them to SHH along with other seafood about 15 years ago.

                2. re: Sam Salmon

                  I've collected them but like with my favorite chanterelle mushroom picking location/s I'm not telling. There are a few places on the Island's west coast but they are VERY dangerous locations to get to and when/if you do just landing a boat at them/near them is taking your life in your hands. In the long run it's probably better to stick to something else to eat.

              2. I LOVE goose barnacles! had them for the first time in my life in Wenzhou China. They were locally called "ghost claws". If anyone loves these and are ever in Wenzhou, go to the local markets near the coast and get them, much much MUCH cheaper than in Europe, maybe $10 a pound. Best is to boil in sea-water with no seasoning.

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