Edible oysters are among the first marine species to be cultivated. This dates back to the first century B.C. when the Romans began culturing oysters. They became a delicacy for the wealthier classes during the Greek and Roman empires.
Oysters became available for the American and European working classes between the 18th and 19th centuries. They’re quite nutritious, containing around 10% protein and 2% fat. They also contain many beneficial minerals, like calcium, zinc, phosphorus, and iodine.
So, what does oyster taste like? Because oysters feed on microscopic organisms, their flavor profile varies considerably depending on where they’re from.
Oyster Flavor Profile
Oysters have a flavor profile that’s entirely their own. In fact, their flavor profiles are so different that there’s a certain vocabulary used to describe oysters.
- A sweet oyster is one that tastes mild rather than salty
- A strong, acidic oyster tastes coppery
- A fresh biscuit is a young oyster that has yet to develop any strong or salty taste
- A creamy oyster is one that’s buttery and less salty
Other adjectives that are used to describe oysters include cucumber, melon, and citrus.
Today, there are six common oyster species that are consumed and cultivated. Each oyster species has its unique flavor due to its habitat.
Also known as Atlantic Oysters, Eastern Oysters are tear-drop shaped and have smooth shells. They’re native to North America and can be found along the Atlantic Coast and the Gulf of Mexico.
Because oysters take on the salt level of the water they’re in, Eastern Oysters are briny and coppery, reminiscent of the sea. They also have a clean, mineral aftertaste.
Native to the Asian Pacific, Pacific Oysters actually get their name from the US Pacific Coast. They’re also called Japanese Oysters, and Miyagi Oysters.
Compared to Eastern Oysters, Pacific Oysters are less briny. They’re quite sweet and creamy with a pronounced honeydew-like undertone.
Although Kumamoto Oysters are Japanese, they’re more popular in the US. Any oyster beginners should begin with these small, bowl-like oysters.
Shortened sometimes to Kumies, Kumamoto Oysters have a creamy, mildly nutty flavor. They’re also quite sweet with a hint of melon.
European Flat Oysters
European Flat Oysters, also called Belon Oysters, are probably the most famous oysters in the world. Harvested from the Belon River in France, they’re known for having the boldest flavor profile.
The taste of European Flat Oysters is quite intense. Although they’re mildly briny, European Flat Oysters have a strong coppery taste with a slightly bitter aftertaste.
One of the rarest oyster species, Olympia Oysters are the smallest, reaching a maximum diameter size of about one and a half inches.
What Olympia Oysters lack in size, they make up for in flavor. These oysters have one of the most intense flavor profiles. They have a strong briny taste with a hint of fresh vegetal note.
Sydney Rock Oysters
Harvested along the coast of Southern Queens, Sydney Rock Oysters are the first aquaculture species in Australia. They’re known for their small, royal-purple shells.
Sydney Rock Oysters have a rich, mineral flavor with a cucumber note cutting through.
Are Native oyster(s) fishy tasting
I would not call oysters fishy tasting, but rather they have a briny flavor. Oysters are delicious when they are fresh.
Are oysters alive when you eat them
Oysters are alive when you eat them, and you will see people eating fresh after they just catch them.
Do oysters taste like mussels
Oysters do not taste like mussels, mussels have a strong overall taste profile.
Do oysters taste like clam(s)
Oysters taste similar clams because they are both mollusks.
Do oysters taste like scallops
Oysters do not taste like scallops which are much sweeter over flavor.
Do oysters taste like fish
No they are more salty than fish, but if you cooked them and serve them cooked with lemon juice and butter there is a similarity in flavor.
Do oysters taste like mucus?
Yes they do, salty and slimy – some people just love them, others can not stand them. Oysters are definitely an acquired taste of seafood.
Oysters That “Organ Meat” Flavor
A large amount of writing has been done describing the taste of oysters.
Oysters often lead to a discussion on sensual delight. Oyster descriptive words are large in number examples being positive and negative.
- better than sex
Most people don’t chew their food, seafood, or oyster meat long enough to get any real sweetness on the finish. Some real sweetness can be achieved by eating oyster fat and getting a lot of chewing. But chewing an oyster twenty or thirty times is a thing that not many of us are willing to do it.
What Sauces Go With Oysters
Serving the correct cocktail or blue island sauce on you belon oyster is the key to a good raw bar of oysters.