Melo melo, common name the Indian volute or bailer shell, is a very large sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusc in the family Volutidae, the volutes.
Not found on the Arabian shorelines, but plentiful in Asia and I’ve had this for dinner!
In Borneo our host said if we wanted to visit the fish market in Kudat, the kitchen would be happy to cook anything we bought. As fresh fish is just a perfect meal, especially Asian style, the offer was too good to resist.
Off to the fish market… a rainbow of colours greeted us but on one stall was a small offering of several Melo shells with vivid, striped molluscs inside. At the equivalent of 2 cents per shell, and they were fairly big, a purchase was inevitable. Choosing some fish too we asked the kitchen if they could remove the mollusc so we could take the intact shells home. The offer was made to cook it for our dinner, hmm… I wasn’t so sure, but not wanting to appear unwilling, I concurred.
Sauted in spices and greens, reminiscent of squid, it was delicious, if a little chewy. I’ve since eaten it again in Vietnam, it was even better…. Never in a million years did I think I would eat this, but as the adage goes “When in