Food Spotlight: The Kumamoto Oyster

We believe everything on our menu will please your palate and delight your senses. We'd love to introduce you to flavors you might be unfamiliar with or help you develop a deeper understanding of ingredients you already adore. These days, the Kumamoto oyster is beloved by both oyster enthusiasts and the newly converted alike for its sweet, accessible flavor. Yet, this delectable oyster was almost denied its culinary debut. Here, we will dive deep into the waters of the Kumamoto Oyster and introduce you to its many delights.


A Brief History of the Kumamoto


Initially discovered in 1928 in the muddy Ariake Bay of Japan, they were initially determined to be lacking in commercial value due to their small size. These days, Kumamoto Oysters cannot be found in Japanese waters, lost to encroaching pollution. Brought to the US in the late 40s, they rapidly gained popularity in the states. They became beloved for their many virtues in the next few decades. Due to improper handling, they were loved almost to extinction in the early 80s. A 'true blue' Kumamoto was discovered in Tomales Bay, CA, and on the property owned by Taylor Shellfish Farms in Washington's waters, saving the tasty oyster. These days, the oysters are grown in the Puget Sound in Washington, Humboldt Bay in California, and Baja, Mexico.


The Taste of the Kumamoto


The Kumamoto presents petite oyster meat nestled in a highly ridged shell with a deep cup. The silky meat is sweet, with a honeydew or melon finish. This oyster's briny taste is subdued, making them a great introduction to oyster eating for the reluctant convert.


How to Eat a Kumamoto Oyster


If you are new and filled with trepidation, you can swallow without chewing, but the best way to enjoy the silky texture, gentle brine, and delectable sweetness is to bite down. Using your tiny seafood fork, work the tines beneath the meat to ensure the oyster detaches fully from the shell. Once you are satisfied by its freedom, lift and slurp the oyster, juice and all, into your waiting mouth. We offer Mignonette, burnt lemon, and cocktails to enhance your oyster. Still, you can enjoy your Kumamoto naked to fully appreciate its natural flavor before experimenting with our additions.


A Word on Mignonette Sauce


Named after a traditional French sachet used to flavor liquids, including peppercorns, cloves, and spices, the modern-day Mignonette is a condiment often included with oysters traditionally made with minced shallots, cracked pepper, and vinegar.


Why Burnt Lemon?


Citrus and seafood are common pairings for a good reason. The bright flavor helps balance the richness of the seafood. Burnt lemon helps dampen the acidic bitterness, enhances the natural brightness, caramelizes the sugars to intensify the sweetness, and adds a smoky flavor that enhances the oysters.


Whether you are a slurp and swallow or a chewer, consume your oyster unaltered or load it with condiments, we are sure you will love these silky, rich oysters.


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