How To Eat Oysters




Oyster etiquette

Follow our top tips on how to eat and appraise oysters

Oyster etiquette
The freshest, tastiest oyster is the oyster that's just been shucked, then served immediately. It's a tender, succulent and delicious bite with a fresh taste of the sea, that makes you want to reach for another...

The first rule is always buy the freshest oysters possible from a highly reputable source!

It's important to us that all oysters shown on our Oyster Map UK are supplied by trusted and reliable EU licensed oyster farms in the UK. We know that these oysters have been harvested, cleaned, purified, sorted, packed fresh to order and dispatched the same day by the oyster farms for next day courier delivery to our clients' addresses in the UK.

Next, open the oysters. When an oyster has been expertly shucked, the oyster should have a small pool of liquor (clear filtered seawater) that remains with the oyster in the deep cupped, bottom half shell. The oyster's liquor is robust in flavour and is essential to the taste experience - so don't spill it, or pour it out.

We always recommend that you try a few raw oysters (au naturel, naked, without any condiments!) served in their half shells.*

Use a fork to check that the oyster meat is detached from the half shell.  Keep the oyster meat whole.

To taste, follow these simple steps:
  1. First, identify an edge of the bottom half shell where you can pour the oyster's liquor and meat into your mouth.
  2. Next, lift the half shell to your lips, tip the half shell a little, and take a sip of the liquor.
  3. Then, tip the half shell further, and slurp the remainder of the liquor and all of the oyster meat into your mouth. Wait a second or two, and appreciate the initial taste of the sea!
  4. After that, chew the oyster meat a few times slowly to release the succession of subtle flavours. Finally, swallow.

Now, reach for another. Try it with a drizzle of freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice...

Related: See "Oyster Appraisal" above. How to store oysters How to open oysters

*If you're not quite ready to try raw oysters, try a few cooked oysters first. For ideas, see Oyster Recipes. Over time, you'll want to move on to raw oysters to experience the fresh, full flavours.

Buy oysters
Buy fresh oysters online with our Oyster Map UK
All oysters shown are responsibly and sustainably harvested from their pristine coastal waters by EU licensed oyster farms in the UK.

For the oyster enthusiast
Fresh quality oysters have wonderful characteristics and subtle flavours, unique to their specific local waters. When you're ready to taste, feel free to use or adapt our Oyster Appraisal Criteria.
 Oyster Appraisal Guide
Check the shell length (inches), depth (shallow or deep cupped), shape and colour.
Rate the level of saltiness out of 10. Guideline: 1 = Neutral and 10 = Salty.
Describe the type of saltiness, and when the saltiness occurs.
Rate the level of sweetness out of 10. Guideline: 1 = Neutral and 10 = Sweet.
Describe the type of sweetness, and when the sweetness occurs.
Describe the texture of the oyster meat.
Use descriptive words such as: firm, soft, smooth, silky, creamy, chewy, juicy etc.
Rate the flavour out of 10. Guideline: 1 = Low and 10 = Full Flavour.
Try to identify and describe all of the flavours released from the oyster meat.
Use descriptive words such as: salty, sweet, metallic, buttery, nutty, woody, earthy, miso, soy, melon, lemon, lime, apple, pear, lettuce, cellery, avocado etc.
Try to identify and describe the specific final taste at the end.

For example, an oyster appraisal could be:
Oyster Name: Porthilly Pacific Oyster
Oyster Shell: Elongated, frilled edges, deep-cupped. Colour - Golden, dark brown flecks.
Meat: Saltiness 5. Sweetness 4. Flavour 8.
Texture: Plump, firm.
Flavour: Initially woody and nutty, then sweet cucumber, with a fresh avocado finish.