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Tawainese Oyster Pancake

soypower Jan 19, 2008 07:26 PM

went to an authentic taiwanese restaurant (according to my tawainese friend) and ordered the oyster pancake. i was expecting something like korean pajeon, but when it came out it was a huge slimy, gooey mass w/ vegetables and oysters with some egg and orange sauce on top. tasted good, but it had the consistency of natto, which was kind of off putting...is this what it's supposed to be like? or did i accidently point to some sweet potato pancake thing that i saw on the menu as well?

  1. limster Jan 21, 2008 11:08 AM

    That's in the right ballpark...although the gooey stuff should be dispersed in clumps rather than dominating the dish -- it's about balancing the different textures of the oyster, egg and the sweet potato flour. The sauce that I usually see is a red sweet sauce, not orange, but maybe it's some sort of variant. It's a Fujian dish (Taiwan's dominated by folks from Fujian) and you'll see in both North (Fuzhou) and South (Minnan) Fujian restaurants too. Also a popular hawker dish in Singapore and Malaysia. We usually call it an oyster omelette rather than pancake.

    8 Replies
    1. re: limster
      d
      dreamsicle Jan 21, 2008 11:23 AM

      As far as I love natto, I'm not particularly fond of the chewy/gooey (could I say mucilaginous?) texture of Taiwanese oyster pancakes either, which comes from the potato starch that is used. It's definitely an acquired taste.

      Here's someone's attempt in making them: http://www.chezpei.com/2007/01/taiwan...

      1. re: dreamsicle
        scoopG Jan 21, 2008 12:47 PM

        Thanks dreamsicle. That looks more like an omelette. In the version I recall eating in Taipei it was far less egg and a much smaller portion size. It was quickly made on one of these large, flat oval frying surfaces at every night market. Does make my mouth water though!

      2. re: limster
        scoopG Jan 21, 2008 12:41 PM

        Right - it is usually served with a red sauce in Taipei. "Oh Ah Jian" or something similar in Taiwanese as I recall. It always went by its name in Taiwanese, not Mandarin in Taipei! Delicious and cheap. Have not seen it yet in the small dive Fujianese restaurants I am exploring in NYC's Chinatown!

        1. re: scoopG
          ipsedixit Jan 21, 2008 06:37 PM

          Either "oh ah jian" or "oh ah mee swaeng"

          I don't think you'll find it in Fujianese restaurants. Most that I've seen across the country (LA, NYC, SF) don't serve up traditional Taiwanese street or pub food.

          Gotta look for a place that specializes in Taiwanese quick eats, if they've got pork chop rice or fish ball soup, then 10 out of 10 times you're going to find an oyster omelet (or pancake) of some sort.

          1. re: ipsedixit
            h
            HLing Jan 21, 2008 07:36 PM

            "....Either "oh ah jian" or "oh ah mee swaeng"....

            Sorry to contradict, ipsedixit, but "Oh ah Jian" is right, where as "oh ah mee swaeng" is the light brown thin noodles in a gooey soup with some baby oysters and pork intestine tenderly rendered....ah..very delicious sound that is, indeed.

            I have to say I've had many versions of this oyster pancake (omlete?) with varying degree of the potato starch-y quality that when in excess can sometimes be off-putting. The best ones, like Limster mentioned, has a good balance of the egg, and starchiness, and good "wok air" so that there isn't this tasteless gelatinous mess, and has a couple of green baby spinach thrown in, fresh and tiny baby oysters (again, not the big tasteless, limp oysters you get here in the US). The ones made in the US, even in SGV, are really nothing like the real things in Taiwan.

            In NYC I've not really had this in Fujianese restaurants but I have seen it in Chao Zhou restaurants (can someone help me with the Cantonese pronounciation of this region? *edit: I think it's Teochow). One good place I had it has since closed, but it was a version with a little more fish sauce smell, drier..no starch, but more like the Thai version in the almost deep-fried sense.

            By the way, it just occurred to me that there might also be a problem with the kind of starch we use in the US. There are so many types of starches that are clear when cooked, but each type has a slightly different texture.....

            1. re: HLing
              f
              fdb Jan 21, 2008 10:57 PM

              For this dish, it calls for sweet potato starch. Sweet potato starch and potato starch turn out differently when cooked.

              1. re: HLing
                limster Jan 22, 2008 12:50 AM

                Just a quick chime in: Chiuchow is the Cantonese pronunciation iirc. Teochew is the native Teochew pronunciation.

                1. re: limster
                  b
                  Blueicus Jan 22, 2008 06:48 AM

                  Yes, I've seen them at basically all the local Chiu Chow restaurants. They are indeed drier and are not served with sauce (except for something that resembles fish sauce for dipping).

        2. TonyC Jan 21, 2008 08:37 AM

          pray tell (and i'm surprised no one has asked): where is this "anthentic taiwanese restaurant"?

          i have more pictures of oyster omelette than i care for, but none of 'em are accessible to me at work atm... :(

          comparison to natto is quite off basis as there is no fermentation going on. it's just extremely thickened starch. frittata isn't close either because it has none of the stretchiness. the closest thing would be the other various SE Asian Chinese versions and... to go further, a Thai hoy thawt (which is simply a more deepy fried version of the TW oyster pancake/omelette with much bigger oysters) is the closest version, and Erik M can correct me if i'm wrong.

          the red (slightly brown) sauce can literally be a mix of soy / ketchup and should have just a HINT of spiciness. AGV Products (Taiwanese company) bottles a near perfect example of this called "sweet and spicy sauce", commonly found at any Chinese supermarkets...

          1 Reply
          1. re: TonyC
            ipsedixit Jan 21, 2008 11:09 AM

            TonyC

            From your profile, it looks like you're from SGV. There are choices aplenty for oyster pancake or omelet. My go to place is Won Won Kitchen in Temple City.

            Won Won Kitchen
            9461 Las Tunas Dr
            Temple City
            (626) 287-5500

          2. ipsedixit Jan 19, 2008 08:00 PM

            Nope, you got the real deal.

            It's not for everyone, sort of an acquired taste. Goes well with Taiwanese stinky tofu.

            8 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit
              soypower Jan 20, 2008 07:42 AM

              wowsa. thanks for confirming. i was with my korean family and ordered for everyone and we were all a little surprised.

              1. re: soypower
                ipsedixit Jan 20, 2008 11:20 AM

                I'm curious. What were you expecting?

                1. re: ipsedixit
                  a
                  andyeats Jan 20, 2008 12:30 PM

                  Per the original post, Soypower was expecting something like a Korean pancake (pan or griddle fried on both sides). Oyster pancake might not be the best name for it - I've seen it referred to as either oyster pancake or oyster omelette The most similar thing to the Korean pancake would be an onion cake (in chinese: cong you bing). I've included a picture of oyster omelettes being prepared (from a recent trip to Taiwan). They are served covered in a brown/orange colored sauce.

                   
                  1. re: andyeats
                    ipsedixit Jan 20, 2008 07:14 PM

                    I don't think it's really similar to a Chinese onion pancake, I think it is more similar to a fritata.

                    Here's a picture of a Taiwanese Oyster Pancake.

                     
                    1. re: ipsedixit
                      galleygirl Jan 21, 2008 07:41 AM

                      Korean panjon are actually made of soy bean flour batter, with all kinds of scallions, kimchi and sometimes seafood in them. Yum!

                      1. re: galleygirl
                        Miss Needle Jan 21, 2008 08:16 AM

                        I think you're mixing up pajun with bin dae duk. Pajun is made with wheat flour/rice flour, scallions, seafood (if it's haemul pajun). Bin dae duk is made with ground mung beans, pork and kimchi.

                        1. re: Miss Needle
                          galleygirl Jan 21, 2008 10:30 AM

                          Hmm, I've had the scallion and kinchi onemade with soybean, or mungbeanflour, and it'sbeenreferred to as pajun, Ieven have a bag of the mix that calls it that...Whatever they're called, I love them! but they're way differentfrom a taiwanese oyster pancake, which isbased on potato starch, or something like that....

                          1. re: Miss Needle
                            bitsubeats Jan 22, 2008 05:13 AM

                            yup she's right.

                            also just to add (miss needle knows this cause she's korean (: )

                            pa = green onion
                            and
                            jeon or is it jun or jon or whatever? = pancake or it might be something fried (sometimes I get confused)

                            the other day my mother made me a lovely korean pancake with buckwheat flour and some salted napa cabbage. It was very simple and really really good.
                            lots of extra fiber (:

                            when i was in Boston I didn't know that bindaeduk was made with mung beans. Instead I thought it it was made with soft tofu, so I squeezed some tofu in between my fingers and added to the mix. It actually didn't turn out so bad

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