Latest U.S. Export to China: Phallic-Shaped Clams

Wednesday, July 22, 2015
(photo: Evergreen State University)

The most successful exports from the U.S. to China in terms of monetary value, according to the Census Bureau, are soybeans and aircraft, which can generate upwards of $14 billion and $13 billion annually, respectively. But the hottest export being shipped across the Pacific is a phallic-shaped clam that wealthy Chinese are gobbling up in expensive restaurants.


Called the geoduck (and pronounced “gooey-duck”), the clam features a long probing siphon that bulges out of its shell, according to BBC News. The geoduck is the largest burrowing clam in the world, weighing up to 16 pounds. Its siphon can grow as long as three feet, and the clam can live up to 160 years, but most commercial geoducks are harvested when they reach maturity after about six years.


The Chinese love the clams’ taste and supposed aphrodisiacal qualities. Some will pay as much as $300 for a serving of geoduck, which is nicknamed the “elephant trunk clam.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

The ‘Phallic’ Clam America Sells To China (by James Morgan, BBC)

All About Geoduck: The Life of a (Delicious) Oversized Mollusk (by Naomi Tomky, Serious Eats)

U.S. Exports to China by 5-digit End-Use Code 2005 - 2014 (U.S. Census Bureau)


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