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Brine and Dine!

person holding vibrant platter of oysters
Oysters on grill with flame
Platter of oysters with peach mignonette on oysters

The Pacific is home to some stellar shellfish, and here at H&H, we adore the oyster—so much so that we cater oyster bar events through Shucked Raw Bar (more on that later). Oysters are mean, clean, lean, refreshing, and delightfully celebratory for birthdays, holidays, or making it to the end of the work week.

Depending on the environment they're grown in, oysters can vary in shape, size, and taste. Just like wines are affected by terroir, oysters have their own version, too, sometimes referred to as "merroir." We hear about a considerable differentiation between the West and East coast oysters.

Generally speaking, oysters from the East coast are briny and salty, small and narrow in shape, and chewy in texture. In contrast, West coast oysters are usually sweeter with a creamy texture, plump and round with fluted edges in shape and firm in texture. West coast oysters can be said to have a melon or cucumber note to their flavor and are smaller overall than their Eastern counterparts.

Below, we'll explore some of the staples we offer here at H&H Fresh Fish.

Kumamoto

Japanese oysters were first introduced to the United States in the late 1800s, but their popularity really took off after World War II. In 1945, Japan was asked for 80,000 cases of oyster seeds. However, Japan didn't have enough of the typical Pacific species to fill the order. So instead, they shipped Kumamoto oysters. This resulted in an "accidental import" of the species.

Kumamoto oysters quickly became a hit in America due in part to their small size and delicate flavor. Soon the Kumamoto became one of the top three Japanese oysters on the Chicago Stock Exchange and was known as the Western Gem. Full-scale U.S. oyster production followed 20 years later, in the 1960s.

By the 1980s, Kumamoto oysters had become non-existent in Japan due to pollution. In the Pacific Northwest, poor handling led to crossbreeding of Kumamotos and Pacific oysters, which made it nearly impossible to find pure Kumamotos seeds. This led to a fierce search along the West Coast. The search turned up a few hundred "true blue" Kumamotos. They ended up being found on property owned by Taylor Shellfish Farms and in Tomales Bay, CA, near San Francisco Bay Area. These oysters were carefully nurtured back to health, and today, Kumamotos are once again available for everyone to enjoy.

Thanks to this "accidental import," Kumamotos are one of the most popular types of oysters served in restaurants across the country. Famous for their sweet flesh and light brine, Kumamotos are relatively small, deep-cupped, and, dare we say, cute! Some say their meat has a fruity, melon-scented flavor profile too. This variety is loved by beginners and longtime eaters alike.

If you're looking for a delicious and beginner-friendly oyster option, Kumamotos are a great choice! Now that you know more about their history, why not give them a try?

Miyagi

The Miyagi oyster—commonly referred to as Pacific oysters—originated off the coast of Japan. It is named after the Miyagi Prefecture in Japan, which is famous for its bountiful oyster beds. In the 1920s, they quickly spread up and down the Pacific coast and are now the most commonly grown oyster on the U.S. West coast. They are also a popular variety throughout America, Australia, Europe, and New Zealand.

Did you know that an individual Miyagi oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water daily? That's an incredible feat! Not only do they help keep our waterways clean, but they also provide homes for smaller marine creatures like shrimp and crab larvae.

Miyagi oysters are loved by foodies worldwide for their unique flavor profile. The meat is nutty with mild brine and a crisp flavor that is truly unmatched. These oysters are typically served raw on the half shell with a squeeze of lemon juice. However, they can also be grilled, baked, or fried. No matter how you enjoy them, you're sure to be impressed by their flavor!

There's no denying that Miyagi oysters are DELICIOUS. But did you also know that they're eco-friendly AND nutritious? It's true! These little guys are packed full of protein, iron, and zinc—making them delicious and good for you, too! So whether you enjoy them raw on the half shell or grilled to perfection, make sure to add Miyagi oysters to your next seafood feast! Bon appétit!

Beausoleil

From the Atlantic, the Beausoleil oyster means "beautiful sun" in French. These oysters have a mild brine and a clean finish with a crisp yet delicate taste. Thanks to these qualities, Beausoleil oysters are some of the most popular oysters in North America. We source our Beausoleils from Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada.

Our harvests today are just a sliver of those of a century ago because of over-fishing, habitat eradication, pollution, and disease. On the East Coast, efforts commenced a century ago to rehabilitate over-harvested oyster grounds and improve harvests. The simplest culture method that's still practiced today involves spreading oyster shells over the depleted oyster bottom, where the remnant adults are expected to produce larvae that would settle on the shells as spat.

On the West Coast, in the late 1800s, Olympia oysters nearly disappeared from San Francisco Bay due to pollution and overfishing. As a result, Beausoleil oysters were imported from the East Coast, but summer temperatures proved to be too cool for dependable reproduction to occur. Since Beausoleil oysters were unlikely to thrive on the West Coast, governments and entrepreneurs turned to the Pacific oyster.

There are a few different schools of thought regarding eating oysters. Some people eat Beausoleil Oysters straight up, while others prefer to add a bit of lemon juice or hot sauce. However you like to eat your oysters, we're sure you'll enjoy the Beausoleil variety!

Malpeque

Malpeque's are a type of oyster grown in Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada. These oysters are considered to be the "World's Tastiest Oyster" tastiest in the world and have won awards to prove it! If you're looking for a tender, clean, bright, and briny oyster, look no further than the Malpeque.

Malpeque's are grown in deep glacial waters, which gives them their unique taste. The cool temperatures and lack of pollutants in these waters result in a clean, fresh-tasting oyster. On top of that, the water's nutrients help the oysters grow quickly, resulting in a tender texture.

In addition to their great taste, Malpeque's are also known for their large size. These oysters can range from 3-5 inches in length, which is significantly larger than other types of oysters. This makes them perfect for people who want a hearty oyster experience.

Whether you enjoy them at a seafood restaurant or source them straight from Canada, we guarantee that you'll be amazed by the flavor of these unique oysters.

Blue Point

Initially grown in Blue Point, New York, Blue Point oysters now refer to various oysters that are grown across New York and Connecticut primarily, as well as Delaware, New Jersey, and Virginia. The famous Blue Points are refreshing and smooth, with a beautiful balance of sweetness and brine. Some say their aftertaste is almost "sparkling" from their light mineral taste. Let's explore this regional favorite in more detail.

The first recorded instance of Blue Point oysters being cultivated was in 1815 by Humphret Avery. He originally grew the oysters in Great South Bay before moving his operations to Long Island.

Blue Points were so revered for their robust and wild flavor. They even became Queen Victoria's favorite. These oysters' popularity increased, with millions being harvested each year by the early 1900s. Unfortunately, overfishing and pollution caused the Blue Points population to dwindle; by the 1910s. In the 1930s, the oyster industry ended in Great South Bay due to a coastal storm and the Long Island Express hurricane.

Thankfully, Thanks to improvements in water quality and stricter fishing regulations, the oyster beds have begun to recover, and there has been a resurgence. Now, these delicious oysters are once again available for everyone to enjoy.

If you're lucky enough to get your hands on some fresh Blue Points, there are many ways to enjoy them. Of course, you can always eat them raw on the half-shell with a little bit of lemon or hot sauce if you desire. But if you want to get a little bit creative in the kitchen, here are some other ideas:

  • Bake them with a Parmesan breadcrumb topping
  • Grill them with sausage and peppers
  • Fry them tempura style
  • Throw them into your favorite seafood pasta dish

However you decide to enjoy your Blue Points, we hope you savor every moment!

Kusshi

Hailing from the beautiful deep waters of British Columbia, Canada, Kusshis are known for their deliciousness. In Japanese, the word "kusshi" means "ultimate" or "best." And these oysters certainly live up to their name! These oysters are mild and clean on the palate with firm but juicy meat. They've been likened to Kumamotos but brinier. So if you're looking for a fantastic oyster experience, look no further than Kusshi's!

Kusshi's have a small to medium size and a cupped shape. Kusshi's are often compared to Kumamoto oysters, another type of Japanese oyster. If you're wondering how they compare, you're not alone. Many people need help choosing between these two types of oysters. However, it depends on what you're looking for in an oyster experience. Kusshi's are a better choice if you want a milder flavor. However, if you prefer a more briny flavor, then Kumamotos might be a better option. Ultimately, it all comes down to personal preference.

If you're lucky enough to get your hands on some Kusshi oysters, enjoy them as soon as possible. These delicate bivalves should be eaten within 2-3 days of harvest for peak freshness. Serve them on the half-shell with a squeeze of lemon or a dash of your favorite hot sauce. Or try them baked, grilled, or steamed with herbs and spices. However you eat them, you're sure to love these luscious Kusshi's!

We Cater To All Your Needs!

Wishing you had oysters at your birthday party? Wedding? Or just a casual get-together? H&H's very own Shucked Raw Bar is here to cater your events! We offer over 15 oyster varieties, sustainably sourced caviar, unique custom pairings for mignonettes, and now Dungeness Crab Feed when the season allows. We also serve Tuna Poke, Ceviche, and Shrimp Cocktail.

We'd love to help make your special days more delicious! Reach out to us via Instagram @HHFreshFishCo/@ShuckedRawBar, email [email protected], or through our website.

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