Oysters with Caviar and Cucumber Mignonette recipe
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In honor of National Oyster Day on August 5, here’s our guide to all things oysters, including recipes and essential reading.

Oysters are synonymous with romance—hailed as an aphrodisiac and allegedly enjoyed 50 at a time by Casanova himself (for breakfast, yet)—but they’re hard for some people to love.

What’s not to adore about a salty, slippery, soft-bodied invertebrate surrounded by two calcareous valves joined together by a resilient ligament? Well.

“[A]n oyster, like a lover, first captures you by bewitching your mind,” writes Rowan Jacobsen in his 2007 book, “A Geography of Oysters.” So maybe some of our favorite stories about and recipes for oysters will, if not bewitch, at least interest—and inform, and let you experience their charms vicariously.

The Taste of an Oyster

guide to different types of oysters


Is it like the sea? Like a cucumber or a melon? Like copper or smoke? The taste of an oyster depends on a variety of factors, and can be hard to pin down, but it’s delightful to try. Learn about what influences oyster flavors, and how best to describe them.

A Dozen Oysters You Should Know

what do oysters taste lie?


Get acquainted with these 12 types of oysters and their particular appeal.

How to Shuck an Oyster

If you want to get straight to the meat of the matter, here’s your guide to shucking oysters. (And their cousins, clams.)

How New England’s Cult-Favorite Oyster Bar Came to Fenway

New England oyster bar Eventide Oyster Co

Eventide Oyster Co.

Pay a virtual visit to Maine’s famed Eventide Oyster Co. and learn how they made a second home in Boston.

The History of Oysters Rockefeller (and How to Make Them at Home)

everything you need to know about oysters (a guide to enjoying oysters)


If you prefer your oysters cooked, this classically rich preparation is perfect, and historic.

Oyster Recipes

Some of our favorite ways to enjoy oysters (other than straight-up and fresh from the shell, that is):

Zyliss Oyster Tool, $15.95 from Sur La Table

However you enjoy your oysters, you'll have to open them up first. This duo makes it easy.
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Community Discussions

See what other Chowhounds have had to say (and ask) about oysters over the years.

Good Advice

Don’t Eat Every Oyster

If it looks fishy, throw it out.

Beware of Metal Shucking Gloves

They can be useful, but are probably a bad idea if you’re dealing with cooked oysters.

Further Reading…

A Geography of Oysters: The Connoisseur’s Guide to Oyster Eating in North America, $9.99+ from Amazon

James Beard Award-winning author Rowan Jacobsen's first book about oysters is well worth a read even if you're still not sure about eating them.
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The Essential Oyster: A Salty Appreciation of Taste and Temptation, $24.88 from Amazon

The author's second book on the subject is a fine follow-up if you just can't get enough.
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Consider the Oyster, $7.89 from Amazon

M. F. K. Fisher's classic work exploring and exalting the oyster is another must.
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Header image by Chowhound.

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