Grilled oysters make excellent appetizers because they are easy to cook, tasty and healthy. These Vietnamese-style grilled oysters are flavorful and beautiful to look at with the additions of a handful of simple ingredients.
Vietnamese-style grilled oysters (Hau nuong mo hanh)
Vietnam has a long coastline, and as a result, seafood is an important part of Vietnamese cuisine. We usually use simple cooking methods to preserve the freshness and natural sweetness of the seafood. Grilling with scallions and crispy fried shallots is a very popular way to cook oysters, clams, mussels and other bivalves in Vietnam. When oysters are cooked this way, we call it “Hau nuong mo hanh“. Unlike people in Western countries, Vietnamese people like their oysters cooked much more than raw.
I try to eat a few oysters each week because they are a great source of zinc, which is essential to our health but not easy to get in our modern diet. This is definitely one of my favorite oyster dishes. The rich fried shallots and mild onion-y scallions compliment the sweetness and brininess of oysters well. In addition, they add texture and aroma to the dish.
How to grill oysters in Vietnamese style
Preparing oysters is the most time-consuming and challenging part. You will need to give them a good scrub and soak in salted water for 20 minutes. After that comes the painful part which is to shuck them. You’ll definitely need an oyster knife, and you can follow the instructions and watch the video on how to do it on Serious Eats. Basically, you use the oyster knife to push into the hinge of the oyster and then wiggle and twist the knife to pop open the top shell. Not super easy but practice will make perfect. After shucking them, I like to put them on a wired rack to keep them stay in place so that we won’t lose too much juice.
The quality of the oysters decides how delicious this dish is, so please choose those that you know are fresh, sweet, juicy and succulent. Also, different varieties can taste very different. It’s best to cook this on a charcoal grill. Good news is cooking it with a gas grill, grill pan or even in the oven will not disappoint you.
Just a small note about the fried shallots before we can jump to the recipe. You can find fried shallots easily at Asian grocery stores. You can also make them at home by slicing shallots thinly and frying them in a lot of oil over medium-low heat until golden brown and crispy.
I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here. I add new recipes every week so let’s connect on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates.