Following on from my blog on how to shuck an oyster, I decided it was time to try and put an argument to bed – is the Native Oyster or Rock Oyster the best?
I’m lucky to live in an area where there is an abundance of oysters waiting to be eaten. The wild oysters of the River Blackwater surround miles of coastline of Essex providing a fresh supply of oysters all year round.
I’ve tried many different types of oysters, but the most common in my area at the Native (Colchester) available from September through to April, and Rock which are available all year round.
I first tried a Rock (gigas) oyster when I was about 6. My grandfather told me to “swallow it whole” but by the time I was 13 I was well accustomed to chewing and oyster to fully appreciate the flavours inside (if you swallow your oyster whole you eating them wrong – here’s why).
Like with most fine foods, there are snobs when it comes to oysters. People will tell you that the Native’s a “far better” than Rock and have a “sweeter flavour”. I’m calling b*llocks on that right now. Just today I ate three of each before writing this blog and found the Rock Oysters just as sweet but noticeably more meaty.
The thing is that I actually prefer Rock oyster over Native. People consistently tell me that I’m wrong and that Natives are the best, but I disagree. I eats what I likes and I like what I eats and no one is going to tell me any different.
It’s like people who say that the classic prawn cocktail hasn’t been a socially acceptable starter since the 1980s; they’re completely mental. Prawn cocktail starters are a staple entrée at Christmas and Easter and I won’t have it any other way!
I’m a bit of a tight git and I like value for money, and for me the additional cost of the Native Oyster just doesn’t warrant it in terms of flavour. There. I’ve said it. Native Oysters are overrated.
So, Native Oyster vs Rock Oyster – which is the best?
Finally, I have an answer for you, but you’re not going to like it. Quite simply, neither oyster tastes better than they other. They both taste great in their own way. Personally, I would chose a Rock oyster over a Native any day, but then I’m an Essex Boy with no taste (apparently).
I started off this blog with the aim of putting the argument to bed, but quite simply, it’s impossible to do so. Eat whichever you prefer. Don’t chose the Native just because it’s more expensive and everyone tells you to like it more; chose it because you like it.