Reputedly an aphrodisiac, although I prefer to call it a gastrodisiac, talaba or oysters have been one of my all-time favorite seafoods. The best way to eat them, of course, is to pour boiling water over fresh oysters in their unopened shells, pry the shells open with a pointed knife then dunk the oyster meat in a mixture of vinegar, salt, garlic, onions and chili.
In first-class restaurants, six pieces of oysters in their half shells can cost as much as PhP 180.00 (about US$3.00).In the wet market, a kilo of oysters in their shells sell for about PhP 60.00. Depending on their size, that would be an average of about 12-18 oysters. The meat may also be bought half-cooked and without the shells. That was how I bought mine. The oysters in the photo cost PhP 20.00. Really cheap if one knows where to get them and how to prepare them.
Kilawin is the generic term for seafood dishes allowed to “cook” in vinegar. The acid in the vinegar turns the transparent seafood meat opaque. It is best to serve kilawin as a cold dish.
1-1/2 c. of shucked oysters
1/8 c. of strong vinegar
1 tsp. of salt
1 tsp. of finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp. of finely chopped onions
2 chilies, cut into thirds
Cooking procedure :
If planning to shell the oysters yourself, place the fresh oysters in their shells in a large shallow basic. Pour enough boiling water to cover. Let stand for 3-4 minutes. Drain. Using a pointed knife, pry the shells open and carefull remove the meat.
Place the shucked oysters in a bowl. Mix together the rest of the ingredients and pour onto the oysters. Stir a few times. Chill before serving.
Kilawing talaba is a very good appetizer.