FROM BAHIA DEL SOL, ELSALVADOR
Here in Estero Jaltepeque, one often sees these black clam-like things in the markets. They are actually a kind of cockle called Anadara tuberculosa. Know here as Conchas, they are also called Concha Negra, Black Ark, or Mangrove Cockle.
On Monday we went on a mangrove tour where we happened to see a woman harvesting conchas. As she dug into the muddy banks up to her shoulders, her husband paddled their traditional dugout canoe. You can see two conchas on the floor of the boat near his feet. We were told that she will receive $1.00 for one hundred conchas. I don't know how long it takes to find one hundred conchas, but this just illustrates how poor some of the people are here in El Salvador.
After the mangrove tour we ended up at a restaurant (similar to the one shown below) built up 10' off the sand on stilts. When we arrived the water was 50' from the restaurant. When we left the tide had come in and the restaurant was surrounded by water.
When it was our turn to order, the waitress brought out a platter of fish to choose from. You could choose a $6.00 fish, a $10.00 fish, a $12.00 fish, or shrimp. We chose two $6.00 fish, which came with rice, salad, and those thick Salvadoran tortillas.
A concha appetizer was also available, so the group ordered a couple of those too. They were simply opened and presented on a plate with lime and hot sauce.
The captain ate some and said they tasted sort of like raw clams, but crunchier. Seeing as how these may have been harvested by the muddy lady we saw earlier, we truly have become locavores, haven't we?