Sambal Lala (Soft-Shell) Clams


I love seafood, and I love love love love things that have a hard shell more – lobsters, crabs, oysters, clams etc. I just love that sea-flavor (someone should really make a seasoning called ‘sea flavor’, because I’ll probably buy it!)

Anyway, in Singapore, it feels like we have a different variety of clams and shelled seafood. Sri lankan crabs are to die for, and there is no other crab I’d like to eat than sri lankan crabs. I love blood cockles, and although I see them in the US every so often, they are just not easy to come by, and nobody eats them with chilli sauce and lime juice. Lala, a sort of clam, is what I akin to littlenecks in the US, although they are not completely similar.

In Singapore, clams are often fried with sambal belacan (well, sometimes they are grilled!) As anyone can already tell, we love our chili here, and to me, there is nothing better than sambal belacan. Chili with toasted shrimp paste just adds that much more ‘sea-flavor’ to things!


  • 2 lb lala (soft-shell) clams
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili paste or sambal belacan
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1/3 cup water


Soak the clams in water for about 30 minutes. They will spit out some dirt in this time, so don’t rush it.

Wash the clams thoroughly, then drain the water and let dry.

In a pan, add oil and fry the minced garlic until fragrant.

Add the sambal belacan and fry until the garlic is cooked.


Add clams, and fry to combine the clams and sambal belacan/garlic mixture.

Add water, then cover for about 5 minutes, or until all the clams have opened.

Once the clams have opened, serve.



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