Beautiful Brine: Quanzhou Salted Clams

Words: Aleksandra Bulatskaya
Pictures: Victoria Elizondo

When Marco Polo arrived at the ancient port city of Quanzhou, China like all Silk Road travelers, one of the first things he must have done was look for something good to eat.

Located on the Taiwan Straight, in the south-east coast of China, Quanzhou was one of the most diverse cities along the Maritime Silk Road. It was home to Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists, Nestorians, Manichaeans, Jews, Catholics, and Muslims who all lived together peacefully according to the Unesco World Heritage Foundation.

Like all port cities, Quanzhou was famous for fresh seafood in ancient times. We may not all be able to visit Quanzhou like Marco Polo but we can go back in time with the power of food.

According to Victoria Flexner, Co-Founder of the Edible History supper club, Salted Clams was a classic dish that was widely enjoyed at the time. It’s easy to imagine Marco Polo enjoying this dish. Born and raised in Venice — another vibrant, international city known for its appreciation of.seafood — Marco Polo was used to the sight of clams marinating in salt water or freshly-caught fish sparkling in the afternoon sun.

To explore this stop along the Silk Road, Flexner recommends making this easy dish. They served this very same dish during their Silk Road dinner series in New York City.

Indulge your guests with tales about the Silk Road, while you have a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.


  • 1 lb. local clams in the shell

  • ½ cup Water

  • ½ cup Rice Wine

  • ¼ cup Soy Sauce

  • ¼ cup White Vinegar

  • 2 tbsp. Sugar

  • 2 super thin slices fresh ginger


  • Soak clams in water, to spew out sand

  • Shuck clams and reserve liquid, clam and shell separately

  • Marinate clams in clam juice and sauce for 2 hours, refrigerate

  • Serve on half shell garnished with cilantro

Visit to find out more about the supper club.

Alex Bylatskaya