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Your opinions on water tanks for oysters in restaurants??

mothershucker May 5, 2007 03:34 AM

Does anyone know if oysters sold in restaurants that have been sitting in those trickly water tanks are as good as anything else you can get? Do they affect the freshness or flavour?

  1. hotoynoodle May 5, 2007 05:38 AM

    i have never seen that. i've only seen them on chipped ice, or briefly stored in a walk-in before being placed on ice. they can stay live this way several days.

    i'd be dubious, frankly.

    1. hannaone May 5, 2007 08:56 AM

      It would depend on how clean the tank is kept and whether it is tap water or brine that is used. Chlorinated water will change the flavor over time.

      2 Replies
      1. re: hannaone
        hotoynoodle May 5, 2007 09:04 AM

        i would think tap water would kill them.

        1. re: hotoynoodle
          hannaone May 5, 2007 09:07 AM

          Eventually it will. But they will stay alive for awhile.

          EDIT: I've seen some tanks maintained with sea salt added to tap water where the oysters were kept alive for up to two weeks. Definately changed the flavor.

      2. sweetie May 5, 2007 09:22 AM

        After oysters leave their original habitat, they should not be kept in water. They should be kept damp and cool and eaten ASAP.

        1. m
          mothershucker May 6, 2007 11:25 PM

          Thanks all!!
          Here in South Africa, many restaurants have these trickle water tanks, and as I shuck fresh oysters at a local market here, with many many people saying they are the best they have ever tasted... ! was wondering where the taste difference was creeping in!!

          1. t
            thadj May 18, 2007 07:46 AM

            I've just recently had this very same question. In Seattle, there is a japanese supermarket called "Uwajimaya" where they sell a variety of live oysters in water tanks.

            Apart from flavor - do you think these are safe to shuck and eat raw?

            I'd assume so since they sell them raw (...unless everyone else buys them raw and then cooks them b/c they know it's not safe to eat from a tank!) Anyone know about the safety factors?

            I actually couldn't resist buying some and eating them raw anyways. They tasted/smelled fresh and I was fine afterwards. But I'm wondering if this is something I could do every day or should generally avoid. In favor of water tanks, there are a few topics on chowhound where they mention a market in LA where they sell them in water tanks and they are supposed to be good:


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