Seafood 101: All You Need to Know about Oysters

January 13, 2015 Updated: April 23, 2016

Oysters have long been a popular dish, especially during the Christmas period. As Chef at Fish&Meat Restaurant I will provides you everything you need to know about this wonderful treat.

What are the different types of oysters?

There are five different types:

Atlantic

Kumamoto

Pacific

Olympias

Belons

The latter of which is the most difficult to get. Belons oysters have a rare, distinct and strong taste that lingers. It is a dish you either love or hate. Pacific, Kumamoto and Atlantic are the most common, with Kumamoto arguably being the most popular. They are the ones that look like a small cup.  Olympias are also quite difficult to get. They are smaller than the Kumamoto and have a more intense flavour.

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Oysters are great for the eco-system

This is one of the surprising oyster facts. We all know that they are great on our plates, but they are also beneficial for the ecosystem. They act as nature’s water filter by filtering the water surrounding them for phytoplankton.

What is the best season to find oysters?

The best time to find them is between the months of September and April. In fact, September is regarded as the beginning of native oyster season. During the summer months the oysters will have been left on the sea beds to procreate. Once September strikes they will be ready to harvest and they will remain edible until approximately the end of April.

How do you buy oysters?

Of course you can go to a seafood restaurant in Hong Kong and have oysters prepared for you, but you may wish to purchase this treat yourself and experiment with different dishes. There are some things you need to look out for, which are as follows…

Oysters should never be sitting in water. Make sure they are surrounded by fresh ice.

Opt for oysters that feel heavier than they look. If an oyster is light it indicates that it was harvested a long time ago and there is no juice left inside.

The oysters should be closed. If an oyster is open it means it is no longer alive.

How do you open oysters?

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Opening an oyster for the first time can be a bit tricky! Don’t jam a knife into the oyster and hope for the best. Instead, put the knife in the hinge and run it along the top of the shell. This should pop the oyster open.

How do you serve oysters?

When visiting the best places for oysters you will often find that they are served chilled on crushed ice with champagne to accompany them. If champagne does not tickle your fancy, you may team the dish with Pilsner or Sauvignon Blanc.

What is the etiquette for eating oysters?

Last but not least, if you go to a restaurant to experience the seafood in Hong Kong, you will need to make sure you are aware of the etiquette when eating oysters. A lot of people think it is necessary to swallow the oysters in one. This isn’t the case. You will actually release the flavour if you chew the oyster flesh, so don’t be afraid to take this approach.