Rice-Wine Marinated Clams
Rice-Wine Marinated Clams

Rice-Wine Marinated Clams

There are many Asian dishes, both hot and cold, that make a pairing of clams with rice wine in various combinations. This particular recipe, which also includes ginger and rice vinegar, certainly falls very much within that basic theme, but it was actually inspired by a European appetizer in which clams get a similar treatment with white wine and basil. Whatever the inspiration, though, the combination of flavors makes for a terrific cold appetizer dish.

The Clams

The Clams Used in this Recipe
The Clams Used in this Recipe

The recipe calls for cooked clams, which means you can either purchase them fresh and cook steam or bake them yourself ahead of time, or purchase them already cooked.

The clams you see in the above picture (and which I have used here) were purchased cooked and frozen. I like this particular variety of clam as they have a lovely sweet taste and are a species that are not available locally (as far as I know).

You can certainly use any sort of clam you like, but the smaller, ‘hard-shell’ types, such as littlenecks, or cherrystones will work best here. As far as I have been able to determine, the type that I have used here are sometimes referred to as a ‘White Clam’ and are actually an Asian hard-shell variety, chiefly exported from Vietnam.

The Basic Method

Marinating the Clams
Marinating the Clams

There is very little to the process other than putting the clams into a mixture of Rice Wine, Vinegar, and other seasonings, then letting them steep for 24 hours in the refrigerator.

Once plated, you can garnish with a slice of lemon, and, if desired, an attractive sprinkling of spinach leaf cut into chiffonade. This last addition somewhat mimics the chiffonade of basil leaf used in the dish that inspired this one.

Your Recipe Card:

Rice-Wine Marinated Clams

These Rice-Wine Marinated Clams have their sweetness rounded out with sprightly notes of ginger and rice vinegar to make a great cold appetizer dish.
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: Clams, Ginger, Rice Vinegar, Rice Wine
Author: John Thompson


  • 1 lb. Small *Cooked* Clams in the shell
  • ½ cup Water
  • ½ cup Rice Wine
  • ¼ cup Light Soy Sauce
  • ¼ cup Rice Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. Sugar
  • 2 thin slices of fresh Ginger or 1 Tbsp. thinly sliced Pickled Ginger
  • 1 large Garlic Clove


  • Peel the garlic clove and give it a good whack with the side of a kitchen knife to crush it.
  • Add all the ingredients except the clams into a large measuring cup and stir vigorously to dissolve the sugar.
  • Put the clams into a bowl with any liquor they have thrown off and pour over the marinade.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  • When you are ready to serve, pick the clams from the marinade and arrange them attractively in a serving dish. Garnish with lemon slices, if desired.


Comments, questions or suggestions most welcome!