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Dec 15, 2009 07:51 AM

Oysters on the half shell - what's the appeal?

Ok, I don't get it. Please enlighten me. I tried raw oysters on the half shell for the first time the other night. Tried to follow the advice of those in my party who had had them before. Basically drained the excess liquid, tiled my head back, and swallowed. It was pretty much tasteless and flavorless. When I tried to add one of the supplied sauces, all I tasted was the sauce. So really, what is the big deal with these?

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  1. If you have areally fresh cold one, it's the unadultered taste of the ocean. There is not much these days that escapes processing.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mrbigshotno.1

      I agree - have to be really fresh and ice-cold. They are sooooo good.

    2. You gotta chew! And don't drain off the liquid; that's part of the experience. It's super-ocean on a shell!

      1. To begin with, you've got to like raw oysters. If you don't like the oyster flavor (including the liquor) half shell is not for you. Mnosyne is correct, don't waste the liquor, it's much of the pleasure. Beware of sauces - a little pepper, perhaps, but many sauces are on the order of the A-1's of the past, designed to mask bad flavor. I'd avoid them. I hope your next experience is more rewarding. And you do need to chew.

        1. Definitely don't drain them!
          Try again, if you don't like them, you don't like them.
          I do like some, but for the most part, I much prefer them cooked.

          1. I disliked raw oysters for most of my life, given them the 'old college try' every few years or so. While I would like the initial taste, I could never get over that briny, old seawater aftertaste.

            Well, fast forward a few years later to a seafood buffet where oysters were in abundance, and voilá -- an oyster lover was born. DEFinitely chew the oyster, and suck the liquid down. I can't handle more than a spritz of lemon on mine. I like them unadulterated.

            The fact that your oyster tasted like nothing is weird, but could be due to the fact that they are generally served on ice, and the colder a food, the less taste (IMO). Maybe it was just a very mild variety -- there can be big differences between them.