Top 5 Oyster Dishes
While you don’t have to convince us of the joys of slurping up a freshly shucked oyster while sipping a cool glass of white wine, lately, we must admit that we have been served some pretty tasty cooked oysters, too. Of course, this would not be news to anyone who has ever tried an oyster po’boy in New Orleans, a fried oyster pancake in a Singapore food market or even enjoyed the dried oysters used in a Cantonese stew. But for those who have trouble imagining that a cooked oyster could be as delicious as a raw, unadorned one, we challenge you to try these five dishes and not come back a convert.
Doppio Zero’s Truffle Fried Oysters
You can never really go wrong with deep-frying anything, especially not if you then pair it with black truffle aioli. At Doppio Zero, a casual trattoria in Sheung Wan, chef Jake Addeo deep-fries Coffin Bay oysters from South Australia, picked for their salinity and firmness of body, and serves it with creamed spinach. The key to a good cooked oyster, in our opinion, is that it should still retain a slightly raw and creamy middle, and that is how they are served at Doppio Zero. With just two oysters per serving, this is a delicious way to start a meal.
G/F, The Pemberton, 22 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan. Tel: +852 2851-0682.
Edo & Bibo’s Oyster Soup
Edo & Bibo is a restaurant that specialises in seafood and steak in Causeway Bay, opened by chef Gary Cheuk of One Thirty One in Sai Kung. The restaurant has a large oyster bar on one side, serving up a wide variety of very fresh oysters. While most customers happily order those along with a seafood platter, we discovered that another hidden gem on the menu is actually the oyster soup. Cooked with fennel, the thick creamy soup is sweet yet briny, extremely satisfying without ever venturing into fishy. For those who are still too squeamish about eating a raw, cold and yes, slimy oyster from the shell, this is the perfect starter dish to introduce you to the flavour profile of the mollusc, minus the texture issue.
28/F, 525 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay. Tel: +852 3421-0472.
Alba’s Spaghetti with Oyster
Alba is an Italian restaurant, recently opened at Cubus building in Causeway Bay. While it specialises in truffles from Alba, putting them in everything from their salt to their mash potatoes, we discovered that our favourite dish there had very little to do with the fungus at all. While it is true that the chitarra spaghetti with oysters does have crumbled black truffle “caviar”, the amount is minimal enough that you would hardly notice it. The chitarra itself is in a cream sauce, which we were initially a bit apprehensive about. But it turned out we had nothing to fear, as rather than a heavy, gloopy sauce, the spaghetti is barely coated in the lightest of creams, leaving the stars of the dish, the oysters to shine. Three plump and sweet oysters are just barely cooked, warm on the outside but still raw in the middle, and they prove to be a perfect contrast to the umami creaminess of the spaghetti.
10/F Cubus, 1 Hoi Ping Road, Causeway Bay. Tel: +852 2890-6693.
Bo Innovation’s Oyster with Ginger Snow
While not everyone is a fan of Alvin Leung, aka Demon Chef’s “X-treme Chinese” cuisine or the minute-long explanations of each dish that the waiters at Bo Innovation like to indulge in, even detractors must admit that there are some home runs on his menu. The cheung fan with wagyu beef and truffle is a winner, as is the har mi with a raw red prawn, chilli and sage. That is why those dishes are stables on the restaurant’s tasting menu. Another staple which usually arrives first is the oyster with “parfum du Hong Kong”. While we’re not exactly sure what that is, we must admit that the spring onion, lime and ginger snow that comes with the oysters aptly capture the taste of the classic Cantonese steamed fish, while the oyster itself provides a sweetness that is perfectly contrasted.
Shop 13, 2/F J Residence, 60 Johnston Road, Wan Chai. Tel: +852 2850-8371.
Grand Hyatt Steakhouse’s Oyster Rockefeller
When it comes to cooked oysters, you don’t get a dish more classic than an oyster Rockefeller. Although it was originally created in New Orlean’s Antoine’s restaurant, it was named after the New Yorker John D. Rockefeller. This was because the oysters were covered in a thick buttery sauce, so rich that it can only be named after the richest American of the time. The dish was invented by Jules Alciatore and while Antoine’s claims that the recipe has never left the family-run restaurant’s hands, knock-offs abound. Oyster Rockefellers are oysters served on the half-shell, topped with a combination of parsley, butter and Pernod and then backed and one of the best we’ve tried in Hong Kong can be found at the Grand Hyatt Steakhouse. According to chef David Campbell, the restaurant uses a “wide variety of different oysters depending on what is in season. We prefer to use medium-sized oysters such as Coffin Bay from Australia in the summer or fine de Claire in the winter months”.
1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai. Tel: +852 2584-7722.