We are lucky to get so many tasty treats from the sea. Shrimp, lobster, salmon, you name it. But for many seafood connoisseurs, there is one that rises above all the rest: the oyster.
These little mollusks are members of the same family as clams, scallops, and mussels. They have a hard shell and can be (and most often are) eaten raw fresh from the ocean.
However, for many eating oysters seems a bit daunting.
All you need to do is know how to eat them properly. Taking the confusion and guesswork out of oysters can pave the way towards you beginning a lifelong love of these morsels.
In this post, we’ve got you covered. Consider this a beginner’s guide to eating oysters, or oysters 101. We’re going to show you everything you need to know to dig into the world of oysters.
Tips for Eating Oysters
Many restaurants today, especially the hot and trendy ones, will feature the options of oysters or a raw bar.
This is great news for oyster lovers, but for a first timer, it can feel overwhelming. If that’s the case, follow a couple of these tips before you dig in.
Go For Fresh
Fresh oysters are the best. Anytime you try oysters you want to eat those that have been freshly plucked from the ocean. It’s also very important to make sure the oysters you’re eating are cold. A good oyster will smell fresh and briny, just like the sea, not fishy. If either of these is off, pass and wait for another day.
Many experts like to say that oysters are like wine, depending on where they are grown they will have different flavors. In general, West Coast oysters have a sweeter more buttery taste. East Coast oysters are known for their salty flavor and crisp profiles.
You might not realize it, but oysters come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. You don’t have to go for the big boys when you’re just starting out. Instead look for the smaller oysters. These include types from New Brunswick (the Beausoleil), Montauk Pearls from Long Island, and Kumamoto from Oregon are all good beginner oysters.
You don’t have to be an oyster purist, especially your first few times out. In fact, there are all sorts of different condiments you can put on your oysters to really highlight the flavors. Try everything from your standard lemon juice to Tabasco sauce and horseradish.
Get Ready to Eat
When you get your oysters, you want to run a fork gently underneath it to make sure it’s separated from the shell. Then, tip your head back and take a big slurp. You want to eat the oyster and the nice briny water too. Take a few chews and swallow. Congrats! You just had your first oyster.
Enjoy Your Oysters
Eating is supposed to be fun, right? Don’t let yourself be intimidated or put off by something as delicious as an oyster.
So order the oysters you like. If you love a small salty oyster with a pile of cocktail sauce, then go for it! The key is to expand your horizons, so eat what appeals to you!