What a tricky question! Of course everyone has their own preferred way to eat an oyster but there is one way (the best way) to really taste an oyster and that is to slurp it right from the shell. Yes, slurp – it’s a technical oyster term!
Smell the Oyster
Before placing the oyster in your mouth, bring the shell up to your nose and take a nice deep sniff. The oyster should smell of fresh seawater- this means it is ready to eat!
Oysters are primarily a finger food and should be eaten raw, fresh and right from the shell. No silverware, no plates, you just need to put your lips right up to the shell and slurp away. This tiny fork that may frequently accompany oysters is used just to loosen the oyster from the shell. You can also use that mini utensil to put a few condiments on your oyster which brings us to another point about the right way to eat an oyster…
At an oyster bar or on a beautiful tray of oysters, you can frequently find an array of condiments that will enhance the oyster flavor. The champagne mignonette, a little fresh lemon juice, maybe some cocktail sauce or horseradish, it is all well and good. However, before you go loading on the toppings, try to eat the oyster alone. A fresh oyster with lots of complex, tasty juice is such a treat in itself. So slurp it, shoot it, give it a try with nothing on it and then make your topping choices.
Chew vs Swallow
Some people prefer to chew oysters while others quickly swallow them. While either option works (hey, as long as you get to eat an oyster!!), chewing the oyster will enable you to really taste the flavor of the waters inside the oyster. After all, when eating oysters, don’t you really want to taste it? Then chew!
What About The Fork?
That tiny fork that may frequently accompany oysters is used to loosen the oyster from the shell if the muscle has not already been cut. You may also use the fork to remove the oyster meat from the shell if the oyster is from a location where the water may not be so tasty.
The tiny fork can be used to put a few condiments on your oyster which brings us to another point about the right way to eat an oyster…
Once you are finished with your oyster, place the shell on the plate with the shell down. A shell facing downward will indicate that you are finished and keep the oyster tray nice and neat.
Of course there are fried oysters, oyster sandwiches and other oyster dishes that quiet delicious but if you are looking for the best way (the real way) to truly taste and appreciate an oyster for what it is, raw, cold and in the shell is the way to go. You are now ready to grab that oyster by the hinge and eat!