Inspired by Billy Kwong's mussels in XO and black bean.
While oysters, mussels and scallops receive their fair share of attention, there's a bevy of other shellfish, too, such as pippies, cockles and clams, which promise plenty of pleasure on the plate. These daintier varieties, along with mussels, should be purchased alive. You can check their condition by tapping any open shells - they should close immediately. They're sometimes sold sandless (that is, purged of sand), but if they're not, you'll need to purge them. Do this by soaking in salted cold water for about an hour. Discard any shells that don't open during cooking. While fresh scallops are available to restaurants, they're harder for home cooks to lay their hands on. Look for examples with plump flesh and always buy them fresh rather than frozen. If you can't find shellfish at your local market or fishmonger, give your local Chinatown a go.