Hyriopsis bialatus – The shark-fin mussel
Hyriopsis bialatus, the shark fin mussel, is one of three known freshwater pearl mussels in the genus Hyriopsis in Vietnam. Hyriopsis cumingii occurs in northern Vietnam, and is aquacultured for pearl production, while H. bialatus and H. delaportei are found in the waters of Mekong River in southern Vietnam (Đồng Tháp, Vĩnh Long, An Giang provinces).
Hyriopsis bialatus is easily recognized by its shells that resemble a shark fin or a sail. In local Vietnamese language, it’s often called “bung bung chang chang“.
- Sicentific name: Hyriopsis bialatus
- Family: Unionidae
- Genus: Hyriopsis
- English names: shark fin mussel, sailfin mussel, shark tooth mussel
- Vietnamese names: bung bung, bung bung chang chang, con cờ, chang chang (the last name may also apply to other bivalves in different regions)
In southern Vietnam, Hyriopsis bialatus and H.delaportei are not farmed for pearls (at least at the moment), but are sometimes harvested for food like other clams or mussels. The common way to cook these mussels is to cook mussel soup with some vegetables like water spinach, baby watermelon, bottle gourd… The shark fin mussel soup is believed to have a cooling effect on the body, and good for health.
Other dishes include: grilled shark fin mussels in scallion oil, shark fin mussel salad with banana blossoms, shark fin mussel congee, stir-fried shark fin mussels with bean sprouts and garlic chives…