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When making whelk soup (響螺湯), should I use fresh or dried whelks?

Are there reasons to chose one over the other, does it matter at all, and if yes, what would be the difference?

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    Does this answer your question? Are the whelks in these whelk soups dried or fresh (響螺片)?
    – user141592
    Jul 10, 2020 at 5:59
  • Please don't post duplicate questions. This is an exact duplicate of your earlier question cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/109464/… which people told you was unanswerable.
    – user141592
    Jul 10, 2020 at 6:00
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    @Johanna IMHO not a duplicate. The other post asks about identifying fresh vs. dried whelks, this one is about choosing an ingredient (also comparing fresh vs. dried). The unanswerable (and thus removed) part was re. the motifs of a cook, which we can’t know.
    – Stephie
    Jul 10, 2020 at 7:06
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    Look at some recipes, do they call for dried or fresh?
    – GdD
    Jul 10, 2020 at 7:36

1 Answer 1

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"should I use fresh or dried whelks", well you can use whatever you want. But there will be a difference. Why is this even a question? Let's address a couple points.

Why is dried seafood used (Whelks, abalone, scallops, etc.)?:

  • Storage and transportation: In the days before refrigeration, refrigerated trucks / trains were available (and still in areas where they are not common) the only way to make these seafoods last long enough to even reach the consumer was to dry them. Drying these foods is a means of preservation, primarily.
  • Taste & Texture: Drying seafood intensifies the flavor (in some cases) and alters the texture. These two characteristics have been deemed desirable in some dishes. The argument should be made that this judgement is subjective. Some people may prefer the flavor & texture of fresh over dried. The majority of Chinese & Japanese cooking I am familiar with would clearly put an emphasis on dried. That said, there are many recipes out there that allow for the use of either. Linked here are several abalone recipes, some of which instruct on substituting one for the other (sorry, I couldn't find such a list of recipes for whelks. Abalone is treated similarly in Chinese cooking to whelk, they are both sea snails).

So, if you have both fresh & dried whelks available to you, try both & decide which you like better.

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