Do you see other people enjoying oysters but are hesitant to order them yourself because you can’t begin to imagine the proper way to eat them? If so, let us help give you the best guide to eating oysters for beginners. At Trellis, we love offering a year-round menu option of our favorite fresh, local oysters. They make the perfect appetizer to a larger meal, or enjoy them with a salad and perhaps some of our rosemary and pecorino fries for a perfect lunch or dinner. And, don’t forget the glass of bubbly! So, here are our tips for how to enjoy oysters if they are new-to-you food.

Step 1 – Use Your Nose

Before eating any oyster, it is always a good idea to smell the shellfish in order to ensure that it is ready to eat. If, for any reason, it has a strong odor, it is best to avoid it. Fresh oysters have a mild ocean water scent. If your oyster smells like this, it is ready to eat. Before slurping down your oyster though, you definitely need to add your toppings.

Step 2 – Don’t Forget the Condiments

When you order oysters, you will see a small fork that comes with the meal. This utensil is not used for eating the oyster, but rather for loosening it up from its shell (more on that later) and doling out the delicious toppings. Load up your shellfish with our condiments that pair perfectly with this salty treat.

Step 3 – Bottoms Up

Now that you know you have a fresh oyster with all its tasty toppings, it’s time to slurp! This may be the part that turns off many would-be oyster eaters since it can look a bit tricky. However, rest assured that oysters are actually quite easy to eat. In fact, you don’t need a plate, a fork, or a spoon! You can slurp the oyster right from its shell, making it the perfect finger food. The tiny fork that comes with your oyster plate can also be used to loosen up the oyster from its shell before enjoying it. This way, it will loosen up a bit easier when you slurp. Enjoy!

Step 4 – To Chew or to Swallow?

You might see some diners who slurp their oyster and appear to be swallowing it whole, while others carefully chew the oyster meat. What you decide to do is up to you. But, if you are new to eating oysters we recommend chewing it to really enjoy all the delicious flavor combinations of the oyster plus the toppings. Once you become a bit more used to eating oysters then you can try the method of swallowing it quickly.

Step 5 – What to Do With the Shell?

Now that you have an empty oyster shell, what do you do with it? Put it back on the tray or leave it in front of you? This is also something that is important to include in any eating oysters for beginners’ guide. You should always return your empty oyster shell to the tray but put it face down. This indicates that the oyster has been eaten already and will also keep your oyster tray neat and organized.

And finally, an unofficial last step to eating oysters is to include a delicious beverage with your shellfish treat. We think that bubbles are always the way to go, especially local ones from here in the Willamette Valley. Gin is also a nice choice so something like a gin and tonic or martini is an excellent pairing. Be sure to ask our servers any of your oyster-related questions next time you stop in for a meal. And, if you were on the fence about eating oysters before, we hope we have convinced you to give it a try!