South African oysters – fresh oysters have their own distinctive texture and taste that vary according to how they are grown, the climate in which they are grown, and their place of origin. Whatever your take on oysters may be, in South Africa, oysters constitute the livelihood of the local population and are a great part of traditional cuisine. So shuck it, slurp it up and enjoy!
- Know Your South African Oyster
- Pairing Oysters With Your Choice of Drink
- For beer lovers…
- Knysna Oyster Festival
- Where to Indulge in South African Oysters and Bubbly
- South African Oysters in Johannesburg
- South African Oysters in Durban
- South African Oysters in Cape Town
- Beyond Cape Town
Know Your South African Oyster
There are two main species of oyster that are harvested and farmed off the coast of South Africa- including the Cape Rock Oyster (Striostrea Margaritacea) and the Pacific Oyster (Crassostrea Gigas). The latter is most widely farmed.
The Cape Rock oyster is naturally found on rocky reefs in terms of its geographic distribution. They can be found from Cape Agulhas to Mozambique. This type of oyster is sold as “wild oysters” in South African markets and restaurants. The Pacific oyster is a cheaper oyster as it’s used widely in mariculture and is imported mainly from Chile.
About 95% of all oysters we eat are farmed, which is a good thing. It’s a good thing because we can enjoy oysters through sustainable farming methods, without disturbing the ocean environment.
Oysters are very good for you when it comes to consumption- they’re low in calories and packed with vitamins. They have especially high levels of zinc.
Pairing Oysters With Your Choice of Drink
For wine and champagne lovers…
One of the best pairings for oysters is definitely wine and champagne. The classics are MCCs (especially ones that are chardonnay-based) or chilled dry white wines on ice. Compliment your set of fresh oysters to perfection with a good sauvignon blanc. A good general word of thumb is to choose your wine based on the taste of your oysters. So first taste your oysters before choosing the right acidity of wine to add to the brininess of your oysters.
For beer lovers…
Oysters and beer, why not? They make super companions to your feast of oysters. Guinness, Pilsners, and Lagers are all excellent choices. If you’re the adventurous type, there’s even a beer called Oyster Stout- it’s made with real oysters! Another favored combination is oysters and Stella Artois.
Knysna Oyster Festival
The Knysna Oyster Festival takes place every year in July to celebrate Capte Town’s speciality: seafood. The festival is 10 days long and spreads over two weekends. The festival attracts over 70,000 visitors and is one of the most popular festivals in South Africa that attracts travelers from all over the world. The Knysna Oyster Festival celebrates the South African culture and it has been taking place for the past 32 years.
The festival combines our love for oysters with family-based activities and a variety of sport competitions like cycling and marathon tours, and the BIG5 Sport Challenge.
Knysna is a town that’s located along the Garden Route in the Western Cape. The town is well-known for its excellent-tasting oysters from April to September. When oysters are out of season, they’re either artificially grown in cold water tanks or they’re imported from the northern hemisphere.
Where to Indulge in South African Oysters and Bubbly
We’re already into the New Year and January is nearly over, so it’s time to indulge yourself in oysters and bubbly. Here are some of the best places to visit in South Africa where you can enjoy the combination of both together.
Cape Town Fish Market
Cape Town Fish Market is definitely considered a nationwide favorite when it comes to serving oysters. When you order a delicious set of fresh oysters, you’ll find the Pacific Oyster being served. This is because they’re most widely farmed locally. Your set of oysters will be served traditionally on ice, with lemon and a mignonette sauce.
Pretoria O’Galito, Woodlands or Centurion
At O’Galito, fresh oysters are served fresh or decadently baked- both make great options! Your set of oysters will be served with lettuce, smoked salmon, and caviar- what a dream! Definitely a great way to relax with some bubbly and plenty of yum.
LM in the East, Lynnwood
Oysters are served as they should be at LM in the East. They’re shucked fresh and served with lemon on ice. Don’t forget to complement your fresh oysters with your preferred bubbly!
South African Oysters in Johannesburg
Kream Restaurant, Midrand – upscale South African oysters
At Kream, upscale dining meets oyster dishes and bubbly- which are guaranteed to impress even your most fussiest friend. Kream offers South African oysters for any occasion, from plain to salmon-wrapped. There’s something for all kinds of palates.
Get ready to knock back oysters served with citrus granita, and fragrant and fresh Thai water dressing when you’re dining at Marble. Enjoy your glass of bubbly with the simple elegance that Marble has to offer.
South African Oysters in Durban
The Grill Room, Umhlanga
At the Grill Room you’ll experience all things South African oysters- from flame-grilled oysters with parmesan floss and burnt scallion butter to native oysters served on toasted brioche with a red wine mignonette. The Grill Room is definitely a bucket-list option for oyster and bubbly lovers.
The Oyster Bar, Umhlanga
If you’re up for trying South African oysters for every mood, go to The Oyster Bar. They have all kinds of oysters, from three-cheese jalapeño and freshly shucked, to an oyster po’boy and Rockefeller.
South African Oysters in Cape Town
Clarke’s Bar and Dining Room, City Bowl
At Clarke’s, you’ll get to enjoy a real oyster feast without hurting the budget. Their West Coast Oysters sell for just R15 each! Stop by this popular Bee Street restaurant to have a real good time.
Sotano, Mouille Point
Sit back and enjoy the picturesque beauty over Mouille Point as you watch the sunset. Treat yourself with 6 fresh oysters and a chilled glass of Cult rosé for just R120.
Beyond Cape Town
The Noisy Oyster, Paternoster
The Noisy Oyster offers three grilled South African oysters served with a parmesan crust, baby spinach, and a horseradish crème fraîche. The description is enough to get your mouth watering. But that’s not all- there’s also a Bloody Mary oyster shot and Saldanha Bay oysters served with smoked Worchester sauce and lemon.
Haute Cabrière Restaurant, Stellenbosch
Combine freshly served oysters and mignonette sauce with your favorite type of bubbly from the Haute Cabrière selection. Their oysters are world-class and taste amazing!
Read also: 10 things you probably didn’t know about oysters