Sunday 7 July 2013

Fanny Bay Makes Good Oysters

About two hours away from me is Fanny Bay, BC and when anyone around here hears the words "Fanny Bay", there's only one thing I know of that comes to mind - oysters! 

I remember the first time I tried an oyster and it was not a pretty sight. I was working in tourism and was on a working trip to PEI. We visited the lovely Avonlea Village and they had brought in a fiddling group and an oyster shucker for us. I loved the fiddling group and was wiggling away in my own special version of dancing, but was definitely shying away from the oyster shucker. 

The oyster shucker was interesting and talented, he barely touched the oysters and they were shucked, but I did not want one of those slimy things in my mouth. Unfortunately it looked like everyone else felt the same as I did and no one was heading over to eat one of his freshly shucked oysters.

I couldn't let the oyster shucker shuck away without anyone eating the oysters, so I went over and tried one. My colleagues lovingly took a few photos of me "enjoying" my slurp, but they will never see the light of day because I very obviously did not enjoy them. 

So why am I sharing this with you? Because I now love oysters, that's why! I still am not interesting in a slimy raw oyster, but I've learned how to not only easily grill oysters and how to make them taste amazing too. 

So from my part of the world to yours, I bring you my West Beach Oyster Roll - starring Fanny Bay oysters! 
West Beach Oyster Roll - serves 4

12 oysters, scrubbed clean with both sides of the shell on
4 sausage buns
1 small head of green cabbage, shredded - about 4 cups 
1/3 cup mayonnaise 
1 tablespoon each of chopped pickled ginger and fish sauce 
3 tablespoons each of lime juice and oil
2 teaspoons of minced lemon grass
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 teaspoon of brown sugar 
1 tablespoon butter
1 pinch of hot chili flakes 
1. Sart by making your slaw. Combine cabbage, mayonnaise, ginger, fish sauce, lime juice, oil, lemon grass, garlic, and brown sugar in a large bowl. Toss and let sit while you grill your oysters. 
2. Heat grill to medium high and put oysters cup side down, flat side up, on the grill. Close the lid for about 8 minutes and let the oysters cook. After 8 minutes, open the grill and most of the oysters should have popped open on their own. Remove them from the grill and, wearing oven mitts, use a knife to finish popping the shells open and severing the connective tissue. 
3. If you like your oysters a little rarer, they're ready now. If you like them a little more well done, toss the, back them back directly on the grill for a few more minutes. 

4. Combine butter and chili flakes and spread on the buns. Toast on the grill if you wish. 

5. Top buns with slaw, 3 oysters each, and enjoy! 

The Canadian Food Experience Project began June 7 2013. As we share our collective stories across the vastness of our Canadian landscape through our regional food experiences, we hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity through the cadence of our concerted Canadian voice. Please join us. 


  1. Her ein the Okanagan we had an Oyster Festival in May with 4 varieties of oysters from the coast. Any excuse to be shucking.

    1. I think I'd like to four types of oysters at once, I think it would make me appreciate them more and who knows, maybe even like them raw!

  2. Sarah, did you ever see that crazy video I did of me eating raw oysters for the first time? Ha ha ha! Like you, though, now I love them! Great choice for this month's contribution.

    1. Thanks Lyndsay! I did see your video, you're much braver than me to show evidence of your dislike. You were smart to use hot sauce, my first taste was raw with nothing added - not tasty to me.

  3. So Fanny Bay Oysters are famous in your region. I am looking that up right away. I can't imagine anyone not having that same YUCKY experience the first time eating a raw oyster. Why is it, then, that we all go back and do it again. I love them, too. Cannot get enough of the small, sweet succulent PEI Malpeque ones... have to try the ones from Fanny Bay. As a kid in Red Deer (central AB) my dad had a gallon (in those days, it was a gallon) of freshly shucked oysters flown in from BC every Christmas. Have to find out what kind. We still have them every Christmas. Breaded and fried. Your recipe would be a delicious delicacy for me!