Top Shell Salad

This is a no-cook recipe for seasoned top shell salad (凉拌海螺). It is basically dressing up a can of top shell (conch) with onions, lime juice and chilli padi. This dish can be served chilled or at room temperature.

See Also:

Seasoned Top Shell Salad Recipe

The top shell salad is deliciously hot (if you add a lot of chilli padi), savoury and very addictive. My brother can solo one can all by himself!


Can of Top Shell (Conch)
This is the can of top shell my mum often buys. The sauce (top shell soaking liquid) in the can (made up of “salt, sugar, soy sauce & spices”) is used directly as the salad dressing, so I like that it does not contain preservatives.

Seasoned Top Shell Salad Recipe
Cut each top shell to smaller pieces. Reserve the sauce in the can.

Top Shell Salad Recipe
Slice onions (I’m using red, but white onion or shallots will do too) thinly as shown. Squeeze lime juice over the onions.

Top Shell Salad Recipe
Coat the onions evenly in the lime juice, and allow to sit for 5 minutes. This process softens the onions, like a quickie pickle! If you are not a big fan of raw onions, this extra step helps to make the onions more soft and palatable. You can skip this if you don’t mind raw onions.

Seasoned Top Shell Salad Recipe
Add sliced top shell, chilli padi, more lime juice and coriander. Add top shell sauce (liquid from the can), as much or as little as you like. My mum loves to use all the liquid in the can, drenching the top shell in a bowl of sauce. For me, I prefer a drier salad, so I use only a few tablespoons of sauce as shown above.

Seasoned Top Shell Salad Recipe
Toss to serve, and plate the salad in a serving dish. Enjoy this on its own as an appetizer (so good with beer) or as a side-dish to accompany any meal.

Seasoned Top Shell Salad Recipe

You can serve this salad chilled or at room temperature. Step 2 softens the onions; you can skip this step if you don’t mind the taste of raw onions.

Check out the step-by-step photos on the previous page.


  • 1 can top shell (conch) recommended to use one without preservatives
  • top shell sauce from the can any amount you like
  • half red/white onion sliced thinly
  • 3 + 2 small limes divided
  • 3 chilli padi sliced thinly; to taste#
  • a handful coriander roughly chopped

# use finger-length red chilli if you do not want the heat


  1. Prep top shell. Cut each top shell to 3-4 smaller slices. Reserve the soaking sauce in the can.
  2. Soften the raw onions. In a large bowl, add sliced onions and squeeze the juice from 3 limes over them, stirring to coat the onions evenly. Let it rest for 5 minutes, allowing the raw onions to soften.
  3. Toss and serve. Add sliced top shell, remaining lime juice, chilli and coriander over the onions. Spoon 2 or more tablespoons of top shell sauce and toss the salad. Serve as an appetizer (good with beer) or as a side-dish.