originally from japan, these small clams were introduced to the usa in the 1920s. they are smaller and sweeter than regular clams. they live next door to the pacific littleneck clam, and while they can live up to 7yrs, these are farmed closer to 3yrs old and 1 to 2 inches in diameter. they only take 3 to 5 mins to steam - compared to the 10 to 12 mins for regular clams. they are perfect for soups! or as a starter (imagine a big bowl all to yourself). or serve them with pasta and a cream based sauce. here is a quick recipe from our chef friend, santi: steamed manila clams a large bowl of manila clams 6 garlic cloves, smashed white wine fish stock salt pepper flour smash the garlic and fry over high heat in olive oil, until the cloves are brown and slightly crispy. throw in the clams (washed). add the wine (around 1 cup) - high heat so it reduces slightly. add the fish stock - enough to just cover the clams. now throw in a large handful of flour and stir well, moving everything until it is mixed. if you get lumpy bits, use a small whisk...this should break down the lumps. if not, add a little bit more liquid and keep stirring. add salt and pepper to taste. cover the pot and reduce heat -- simmer for 3 mins. throw in a handful of parsley or coriander and you're good to go. discard any unopened clams.