What are some of the most coveted oysters in the world? When are they in season and what’s the best way to eat them?
One of the seafood restaurants and fish markets with most longevity here in Singapore has got to be Greenwood Fish Market. A colleague introduced me to the friendly owner of Greenwood, David and his son Alan who generously shared their knowledge and expertise about oysters on air.
Get your 101 on oysters including how to tell oysters are fresh and the best way to eat them here in our fascinating Radio chat.
Now after hearing of the staggering variety of oysters available on the market and also the pains they go through to procure and preserve the oysters fresh for our consumption, I was stoked to try their giant Oyster Platter available only during oyster season that happens a couple of times each year. We tried ours last July.
The platter came with a variety of 7-8 oysters that were in season including Mary Points, Fine de Claire Special, Coffin Bay, Tsarskaya, the gigantic, palm-sized Baron Point, and the highly-coveted French Gillardeau Oysters complete with the signature G branded on its shell.
The Mary Points ($4) are Canadian oysters which tend to be bigger in size, more fleshy and less briny.
My personal favourites were the Tsarskaya ($7) from Brittany, France for its powerful flavour, pure iodine finish with a sweet almond and hazelnut aftertaste.
The Gillardeau ($9) is also excellent. It comes from a family of oyster masters that has been cultivating Huître Creuse oysters for generations, since 1898. It is creamy, had a beautiful buttery finish and amazing texture.
Fine de Claire oysters ($6) translate as such: ‘Fine’ means ‘slender’ and ‘Claire’ means ‘ponds’, in reference to salt marsh ponds. These oysters are grown in ponds that are well protected and the salinity of the water is carefully controlled. This results in a consistent taste with all of them an almost identical shape and size.
I found the giant Baron Point ($7) very impressive as well.
When we think of huge oysters, some of us might experience a minor gag reflex from it seeming too overwhelming to be enjoyable. But boy was I wrong about this one. It had a light, fresh flavour with just the right am0unt of brininess and creaminess to create a great balance without being overwhelming. Just delightful.
Now, if oysters are not quite your thing, I highly-recommend Greenwood’s cold and hot smoked fish.
The fish are thickly-sliced. None of that thin, unsatisfying salt-overloaded smoked salmon that comes in plastic packs from the supermarket. After trying this, you will never turn to the supermarket alternative again, trust me.
Alan, who heads the kitchen has mastered the art of hand-smoking his own fish and meats and proudly takes us on a tour of his kitchen and shows us the very expensive apple wood he had to get imported for that beautiful sweet smoke.
The platter will showcase whatever is in season, which is just how a fish market should be and it comes with accompaniments like caviar, olives, breadsticks and olive oil. We even tried some homemade pickled herring.
The pastas and fish and chips were also quite decent but if you try anything, you can’t go wrong with the oysters, fresh lobsters and their smoked fish platters. I still come here regularly to get my smoked salmon for sandwiches. Pair them with some homemade coleslaw and toasted bagels, you have yourself a fuss-free absolutely satisfying lunch.
For more tips on how to tell if an oyster is fresh and what the best way to enjoy them is, tune in to our radio chat in the link at the beginning of the post. Enjoy!
Greenwood Fish Market & Bistro