Mangrove clams (Geloina coaxans, Vietnamese: vọp) are bivalve mollusks, of the Corbiculidea family. They have a shape like Asiatic hard clams, but larger in size. Mangrove clams are native to mangrove forests in Southern Vietnam provinces, especially in Trà Vinh and Cà Mau. The clams now become a delicacy food and can be cooked into many delicious dishes like poached mangrove clams with ginger (vọp luộc gừng), stir-fried mangrove clams with bulrush (vọp xào bồn bồn), boiled mangrove clams in coconut juice (vọp luộc nước dừa), braised mangrove clams in a clay pot (vọp kho tộ), citrus-cured mangrove clams (vọp tái chanh)…and one of the most common dish is grilled mangrove clams with spring onion oil sauce (vọp nướng mỡ hành).
The cooking method of this grilled mangrove clams dish is similar to other clams like scallops or oysters. The spring onion oil sauce is actually a mixture of melted lard and chopped spring onions.
Soak mangrove clams in cold water for 2-3 hours. Brush the outer shells and rinse several times. Shuck the clam shells by quickly steaming the clams until they open. Remove the upper shells and keep the lower ones.
Cut the pork fat into dices or small cubes, and melt them in a saucepan. When the pork fat dices are completely melted and shrinks, scoop the pork rinds out, and throw in the chopped spring onions. When the spring onions are cooked, season with salt, and granule seasoning. Stir a little bit and turn off the heat.
Drip the spring onion oil sauce onto each mangrove clams, and place them on a barbecue grill. Once the clams are cooked, place them on a serving dish, put crushed peanuts and then some extra spring onion oil sauce onto the clams. You can add some pork rinds if you want. Garnish the dish with some Vietnamese mint leaves.
If you don't have lard or pork fat, you can cook "mỡ hành" sauce with oil.