Oh Chien (Oyster Omelette)


Crispy, gooey, and eggy, this is my favorite take on a beloved Hokkien street food.



  • 200g raw oysters (fresh or frozen; 6-8 large or 12 medium oysters)

  • 100mL (~1/2 cup) oyster juice or water

  • 4-6 tbsp oil or lard

  • 4 eggs

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tsp fish sauce

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce


  • 5 tbsp tapioca flour, sweet potato starch, or cornstarch

  • 1 tbsp rice flour


  • White pepper

  • Herbs: Cilantro, scallion greens, or basil

  • Lime or calamansi juice

  • Sambal belacan or other chili paste (optional)

  1. In a large measuring cup or bowl, beat eggs, soy sauce, and fish sauce with a fork for 20-30 seconds, until uniform. (Don’t overbeat, or your omelette will be rubbery!) For best results, set aside for 10-15 min while you perform the next steps; the salt in the soy and fish sauces will denature the proteins, resulting in more tender eggs.

  2. Prepare the flour batter: When defrosting, unpacking, or shelling your oysters, reserve any oyster juice that you can salvage in a large measuring cup. If you don’t have 100mL of oyster juice, top up with water or seafood broth. Add the flours and whisk until just combined; the resulting batter should be thin.

  3. Dredge the oysters lightly in tapioca flour–this will help achieve better browning. Heat a large frying pan or wok over high heat until a drop of water evaporates instantly. Add 2 tbsp of oil or lard, minced garlic, and the oysters. Fry, turning once, until browned slightly and cooked through–watch the pan carefully here, as the cooking time will depend on the size of the oysters (the internal temperature should reach 63°C / 145°F). Transfer oysters to a plate and set aside.

  4. Heat a large frying pan or wok over medium heat. Add the oil or lard, then pour in about half of the batter, trying to evenly cover the bottom of the pan. Allow the batter to cook untouched until crisp, then pour in the eggs and continue cooking until the omelette is partially set on the bottom, but still liquidy on top. Use your spatula to gently cut the omelette into a few pieces and mix them around the pan.

  5. Return the oysters and garlic to the pan and pour the remaining batter over the entire surface of the omelette, then continue cooking just until the batter turns gelatinous–don’t allow it to crisp!

  6. Transfer to a plate, or serve directly out of the pan for a more rustic look. Garnish with white pepper, herbs, lime or calamansi, and a generous dab of sambal belacan.

This recipe was featured in the weekly menu of Issue #2 of the Journey East Zine alongside:

Grace Kwan © 2020