If you've heard anything about Taiwanese food, oyster omelette is probably one of them. And even if not, this a deliciously unusual dish you should try. Quick to make and lots of flavor.
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When we went to Taiwan a few years ago, I read up on things a fair bit before we went so I had an idea of what I wanted to do and what things to try, particularly food. Unfortunately a late season typhoon messed with some of my plans and so I didn't get to hike on the coast, as I had hoped, but I did get to try a good range of food.
I remember a few things I read before I went that I knew I needed to try - oyster omelette, 'stinky tofu' and tea up in the hills by Taipei.
I managed to try all of them - the tea was great and a wonderful experience in the tranquil hills so close to the bustling capital. Stinky tofu...well let's just say I won't be rushing back to have more. I almost didn't manage to have oyster omelette, but managed to sneak it in on the last day.
Unfortunately my now husband became ill so while he would have managed to join me doing some sightseeing at the end of our trip he was stuck in the hotel room. Although since we have since found he seems to have an intolerance of oysters, it's maybe just as well (I do at least benefit in managing to enjoy things like oysters Rockefeller all to myself when I made them).
I, meanwhile, managed to track it down in one of the night markets and after a bit of pointing and nodding to make my order, got to watch it being made before my eyes.
How to make oyster omelette
It's not a difficult dish to make, and doesn't take long to cook, but you do want to get everything ready before you start cooking as it goes pretty fast and there's no time to chop last minute.
Most recipes use a kind of starch slury, like tapioca or potato starch mixed with a bit of water. For some reason I remembered noodles in there, but it seems this may have been a mistake. Personally, I liked it made with thin rice noodles and think it is probably easier for a Western palette to like (and easier to source), but do try both and see what you prefer.
Some serve this with sweet chili sauce, but I think the more traditional is closer to what I have here, where ketchup is doctored to give it a more sweet-savory umami thing. It's hard to describe but it works well!
While this Taiwanese oyster omelette is traditionally a quick street food snack, I think it deserves a place on a plate too so that you can enjoy the simple but delicious flavors that bit longer. You'll be wanting to make it again soon, too.
Try these other egg-based favorites:
- Bacon lobster omelette
- Kuku sabzi - Persian herb frittata
- Menemen - Turkish scrambled eggs
- Plus get more Chinese recipes in the archives.
Taiwanese oyster omelette
For the sauce
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp miso paste
For the omelette
- ½ oz rice sticks 15g, thin rice noodles
- 1 cup greens 30g, ideally Asian greens such as A-choy, or baby spinach good alternative
- 2 scallions spring onions
- 4 oysters 3-6 depending on size, chopped if larger
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
For the sauce
- Mix together all of the sauce ingredients and set aside. You may well not need all of it, but you can keep any leftover refrigerated for a good week or more and use another time.
For the omelette
- Make sure you have everything prepared ahead of time as the omelette is a quick cook. First, soak the noodles in boiling water while you prepare the rest. Shred up the greens and thinly slice the scallions. Open the oysters, drain off the liquid and cut the oysters in to two or three pieces each, around 1in/2.5cm chunks. Lightly beat the eggs.
- Warm the oil in a small-medium skillet or wok over a medium heat. Add the scallions and cook a minute. Drain the rice sticks and add them to the pan and stir a minute. Pour the eggs over the rice sticks and quickly add the oysters and greens, pressing them into the egg as needed. Reduce the heat a little if needed and cook for a couple of minutes until you can see it is cooked at the side, slightly brown underneath and firming up in the middle.
- Using two spatulas, carefully flip the omelette over to cook the other side. Once the egg is gently browned on the other side, serve topped with some of the sauce.
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