Early one September morning, Ana Ros, Slovenia's most famous chef, is receiving a crash course in Japanese seafood at Tsukiji fish market.

At one stall, she samples two kinds of sea urchin from Hokkaido, along with an assortment of shellfish that includes ishigakegai, a large cockle with a speckled auburn shell. As Ros lifts a slice of the clam from the plate, the fishmonger scoops up a few live specimens from a tank. The bivalves appear to dance as their long, tongue-like necks dart out and curl around their shells.

"Incredible," she murmurs, chewing thoughtfully. "The texture is really beautiful."