Let’s see.. what were my experiences with oysters (the eating part of course) so far?
Well, an oyster sampling affair back in 2014 (KL) proved to be an eye-opener (post HERE) for me.
Initiated by Southern Rock Seafood, KL’s current best bet for quality oysters, that session educated me about Dutch, English and Irish oysters.
That tasting was a revelation for someone who was only familiar with Australian and Canadian oysters then, besides the common buffet variety.
In December 2015 Conrad Singapore hosted us for a French oyster and champagne session. Sadly I enjoyed the champagne more than the oysters.
The Tsarskaya, Normandes and Fine de Claire were just too briny for me!
And truth to be told, I usually avoid oysters at a buffet as those tend to be without much flavour and just plain fishy.
Unfortunately for Malaysia, that is the standards of oysters for now.
So what sort of oyster do I like?
Well, with better experience comes higher expectations.
As of now my preferred ones are those with silky plumpness, creamy sweetness and a long finish.
And thanks to the World Oyster Festival 2016, I realized now that my preference would be those similar to the Ostra Regal and Gillardeau No. 3.
And thus I’m thankful for an event like The World Oyster Festival which allows one to taste 20+ variety in the comfort of one venue besides keeping prices reasonable for the quality offered.
After this tasting, I have personally urge every oyster lover and non-oyster fan to give it a go.
It is NOT a buffet hence you can halt your orders the moment you had enough and pay only what was consumed. Besides that, you can opt to order other seafood or meat dishes from their ala-carte menu.
For example, I enjoyed their Angus Burger, done med -rare as requested, prior to wolfing down my oysters!
The key to a good oyster is freshness.
It should possess the natural scent of the seashore as the tide recedes over seaweed-covered rocks. It should be full in the shell, firm in texture and brimming with the natural juice that is its life blood (sometimes referred to as “oyster liquor“), not just plain sea water.
The heel of the oyster, in the deep part of the shell, should be a creamy or ivory colour. The frill should be moist and pulsating, and the oyster should always look bright.
A tall order?
Not so if you have responsible suppliers like Greenwood Fish Market & Bistro which imports from trustworthy suppliers, examines and QC all their stock that are offered in the restaurant.
Besides just “selling“, the staff from Greenwood Fish Market & Bistro are knowledgable and thoroughly helpful.
Do not feel intimidated or self-conscious if the list seems daunting.
The staff is experienced to recommend these exquisite bi-valves based on your preferences; so be upfront and state if you like your oysters meaty, briny or creamy sweet.
Likewise the menu includes thorough description of each variety and I can assure you that these description are pretty spot-on.
Trust me, I’be tasted almost 10 of them!
So go ahead, pick and choose whichever oysters you think you will like from their menu. Order more of the ones you like yet give yourself an oyster adventure around the world by being adventurous in your picks.
Here are the ones that I had for this tasting:
1. Baron Points
Massive flesh size, soft-textured, sweet, mildy salty, and musky flavored.
2. Belon “OOO”
They are simply, intense, overwhelming, unforgetable, uplifting & aromatic. With Hazelnut finish.
3. Britanny Specials
Light aroma of the sea, smooth and meaty, tart tang of steel followed by a sweet after taste.
4. Coffin Bays
Petite, well rounded shell, meaty, clean, crisp and very briny, with a sweet finish.
5. Dutch Crueses
Regular oysters from holland, round shelled and deep cupped, sweet & briny flavor.
6. Fanny Bay
British Columbia oysters with full and firm meats, mild brininess and a pronounced cucumber finish.
7. Golden Mantle
Plump flesh, with a slightly mild mineral, sweet ivory meats with a deep cup and melon finish.
8. Irish Oceans
Buttery, nice bright and beachy essence to them, fairly briny. Zinc minerality in the finish.
9. New Zealand Pacific Rock
Delicate oyster, with light creamy texture; clean briny flavour with a sweet finish. Perfect for someone starting in the oyster world.
Always highly iodised and rather fleshy, famous varieties include special oysters of isigny, tasty and pulpy.
11. Ostra Regal
Farmed in Bannow Bay, slight iodine and mineral taste, leaving a strong algal and sweet flavour.
12. Royal Miyagi
Full meats with a crisp flavour and mild brininess. Pacific Northwest oyster raised on the shores at the foot of the Olympic Mountains.
13. Setinellles Speciale
Meat rate between 12% – 15%, adult size is minimum 30 month. Semi Salty / Sweet Oyster.
14. Speciales Utah Beach
This generously fleshed oyster is sweet and crunchy. Appealing transition from brine to acidity with a subtle nutty flavour.
15. St. Vaast Specials
The Oyster of St. Vaast has become famous for its nutty taste. It’s an oyster for both iodized and fleshy meat.
16. Fine De Claire No.3
Marennes-Oleron, France; Delicate white flesh, briny flavour. The salty taste may remind you of soy sauce. And it finishes with a mild hazelnut taste.
17. Fine De Claire No. 3 Specials
Selected from the best of the crop. Yellowish golden tint. Delicate, whitish flesh with light green mantle, briny flavour.
18. Gilardeau No.3
Spicy, sweet and salty with a hazelnut aroma. The oyster is meaty; tender and crunchy.
19. Tsarskaya No.3
Firm to crunchy. It is powerful on the palate, pure and with a taste of iodine, almost like sweet almonds, slight hint of acidity & Hazelnut.
Convinced to give it a go?
Truly, even if you are not a huge oyster fan like myself, you are likely to change your mind once you have tasted one that you like.
From this session I’ve learnt to avoid the French ones though there might be exceptions, for surprisingly I did like the Fine De Claire No. 3 Special.
In conclusion, this session (or the more oysters you eat) will help you identify your preferred oysters.
I’m rather glum that I missed out on the Kumamotos as I’ve heard that they are amazing (read: sweet) which is totally my type.
Perhaps I should visit again before the end of the month?
Who’s keen to go with me? 🙂
World Oyster Festival 2016
Date: 1st July – 31st July 2016*
Outlets: Greenwood Avenue Outlet
Add: 34/38 Greenwood Ave, S289236
Tel: 6467 4950
Opening Hours: Daily: 12.00 pm – 10:30 pm
Quayside Isle @ Sentosa Cove, 31 Ocean Way #01-04/05 S098375
Tel: 6262 0450
Opening Hours: Lunch: 12 pm – 2:30 pm, Dinner: 6:30 pm – 10 pm
*Closed on Mondays
Facebook event page: World Oyster Festival 2016