Asian wild oyster tacos are one of my favourite ways to eat cooked oysters that I harvest in BC, but they’re definitely not how I remember eating fried oysters as a child.
In fact, I have very fond memories of my Chinese grandmother deep frying local oysters for a loud house packed full of her children and grandchildren when I was a young girl.
Watching her divvy out those crispy, juicy, salty-sweet treats was an exercise in delight — and patience, as she made them one by one, carefully dipping and turning them with her ever-present wooden chopsticks, for a crowd of almost 20 eager family members.
While I don’t know if she’d like the way I serve oysters now (pan-fried instead of deep fried, and usually in these Asian wild oyster tacos or Vietnamese vermicelli bun bowls), I know she’d be happy that I’m still inspired by her oyster recipe that I remember from my childhood.
Her secret to an amazing fried oyster was actually in the batter. Pancake batter, to be exact. Lush local oysters coated in a light and fluffy, slightly sweet, perfectly crispy batter, carefully salted, and pan-fried until golden delicious.
These Asian fried oysters are remarkably different than the harder Southern cornmeal-style fried oysters you might be used to from po’boy sandwiches and fried platters. You won’t believe how good they are until you try it yourself.
The batter I use in these Asian wild oyster tacos is similar to a light beer batter for fish, but it’s a little more well-rounded and much easier to make. You can choose to make your own dry pancake batter (a quick Google search away) or just pour out some Aunt Jemima’s pancake batter (I won’t tell anyone if you don’t).
If tacos aren’t your thing or you want to experience an authentic Chinese-Canadian meal, you can eat these fried oysters with a fresh squeeze of lemon alongside a big bowl of jasmine rice and stir-fried green Asian vegetables like gai lan or yu choy with minced garlic.
Notes on Sourcing Fresh Local Oysters
When I get oysters, I almost always harvest them from the Lower Sunshine Coast, BC region because it’s the most enjoyable (and free) option for me.
If you also choose to harvest your oysters and other shellfish in BC, don’t forget to check for dangerous toxins using my guide for checking red tide in British Columbia.
Of course, you can also buy fresh local oysters from your neighbourhood fish market or grocery store if that’s easier or more convenient for you.
If you’re located in Vancouver, I believe the seafood market on Commercial Drive will also shuck oysters purchased from them free of charge if you dislike shucking the difficult wild oysters in the PNW.
Whether you harvest or purchase your fresh local oysters, choose bigger oysters when cooking or frying to prevent you from accidentally overcooking them.
Overcooking your fresh oysters can turn those juicy pockets of goodness into rubbery, chewy unpleasantness.
Leave little oysters for eating raw on the half-shell with a wedge of lemon and a splash of hot sauce.
Cooking Wild Asian Oyster Tacos
Prepare this Asian Marinated Cabbage Slaw recipe here one hour to one day in advance.
Heat oil over high heat until hot enough for frying (test oil by splashing a little water in the pan — if the oil pops, it’s ready for frying).
Combine pancake mix and water and mix lightly. Dip oysters into batter, letting excess batter drip off and gently lay away from you into the hot oil. Lightly salt oysters on one side.
Fry oysters until golden brown and bubbling on one side for around 1 minute, and then gently flip to cook.
Fry until batter is golden brown on both sides. Remove from oysters from heat and drain on paper towel to remove excess oil.
Heat corn tortillas on dry pan over medium-high heat on both sides until flexible and warm.
Serve Asian Wild Oyster Tacos with Asian marinated cabbage slaw, green onions, jalapeno, sriracha, avocado, and lime wedges.
Wild Pacific Asian fried oyster tacos, ready to eat!
Asian Wild Oyster Tacos Recipe
Asian Wild Oyster Tacos
This recipe for Asian wild oyster tacos is a delicious fusion of East Asian and Mexican flavors. Try it with wild Pacific oysters or with whatever seafood is available to you in a very West Coast-inspired meal!
- 8 large oysters, shucked
- 3/4 c. dry pancake mix
- 3/4 c. water
- 2 pinches table salt
- 1/3 c. vegetable oil for frying
- 8 corn tortillas
- 1/2 avocado, cubed
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- 1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, julienned (optional)
- 1 green onion, sliced thin
- sriracha (optional)
- cilantro, chopped (optional)
- Asian marinated cabbage slaw (recipe link in notes below)
Heat oil in cast iron pan over high heat until oil is hot enough for pan-frying. Test the readiness of oil by heating until oil has movement and sheen. If the oil splatters when a drop of water is carefully splashed into the pan, it's ready for frying.
Gently mix dry pancake batter with water until clumps are dissolved. Dip shucked oysters into batter and let excess drip off, and then lay gently away from you in oil.
Lightly salt oysters and pan-fry until batter is golden brown and bubbling on one side (approximately one minute), and then flip to other side (approximately one minute).
Remove fried oysters from pan and drain on paper towel to remove excess oil.
Warm corn tortillas on both sides using a clean, dry pan until flexible.
Serve wild Pacific Asian fried oyster tacos with warmed corn tortillas and Asian-style taco fixings -- avocado, green onions, lime, jalapeno (optional), sriracha (optional), and cilantro (optional) -- and Asian marinated cabbage slaw.
Here is the Asian marinated cabbage slaw recipe that I use in the Asian Wild Oyster Tacos.