Seafoods 9: Oysters (蠣黃)


Boiled oysters drying on a wire frame. These can be cooked in dishes of braised pork or filled in zongzi, lending its incredible umami to any dish in which it partakes. (Credit: Tksteven)

List of Seafoods::Oysters
Oysters grow with their shells stuck fast to rocks, making them particularly difficult to dislodge. After being shucked, they can be cooked as a thick soup [1] in the same manner of cockles and clams. Known also as “ghost eyes”[2], oysters can only be found in the two prefectures of Liqing and Fenghua and nowhere else.[3]

Random notes:
[1]: Cooking oysters as a “geng” (thick soup) is one of my favorite ways of eating them.

[2]: I wonder why it also has this strange name. Perhaps it’s because boiled oyster plump up into an eyeball shape and looks weird enough to be ghost-like? To be honest, I don’t even know why this section is called “li huang” (蠣黃), which translates to “Oyster yellow”. I get the oyster part, but where does the yellow come from?

[3]: In Chinese cuisine, Oysters are found in both fresh and dried form. The former is common around coastal regions while the latter is available in most parts of China and in Chinese dried food stores (海味乾貨) all around the world. I don’t know why Yuan Mei states that oysters can only be found in the two prefectures when fact is it can grow anywhere. Perhaps Liqing and Fenghua were the only places in Qing dynasty that cultivated oysters?


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