Steamed Frozen Oysters with Fermented Black Beans | Hong Kong Food Blog with Recipes, Cooking Tips mostly of Chinese and Asian styles | Taste Hong Kong

Steamed Frozen Oysters with Fermented Black Beans

Steamed Frozen Oysters with Fermented Black Beans

Oysters which are good to be eaten raw here, with least exceptions, are delivered to us by air un-shucked. To pay for their rides on the jets, therefore they are often pricey. At supermarkets, usually you shall expect a freshly shucked oyster to cost more than $30 in Hong Kong dollars (~USD4).

Honestly, I would not allow and would not forgive myself to eat any of those fresh oysters cooked. What you see in the picture here are all frozen ones, altogether costing me less than HKD40. But if you have any leftovers from your batch of fresh oysters that can’t be finished in one meal, do consider to give this a try.

Truth is, I find these frozen guys perfect for making this dish (in Chinese 豉汁蒸生蠔) as they still come with half-shells, each of which so resembles a custom-made dish that the oysters are bathed well with other condiments when being steamed. And I don’t even need to add much seasonings like sugar, or wine, to flavor the oysters.

‘Summer is good for steaming’ I always say to myself as this cooking method requires minimal efforts on my part in front of the naked flame. For this dish, the preparation time is even ridiculously short.

  • Ingredients
  • 4 oysters
  • 1 tsp fermented black beans
  • 1 1/2 tsp coarsely chopped garlic
  • 1 red chili, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp spring onions, optional, finely sliced
  • Sauce
  • 2 tsp soy sauce, or to taste
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Fermented Black Beans and Garlic in Mortar


Defrost frozen oysters. I just let them rest for 2 hours at the room temperature of about 30 degree C . Discard water leached from defrosted oysters, pat dry.

Put fermented black beans into a mortar with coarsely chopped garlic, then ground and pound them with a pestle until all of them are mashed well. Arrange the oysters on a dish good for steaming, spread similar amount of mashed garlic and fermented black beans on the center of each oyster, and top them with chili slices.

Set a rack in wok with about 2 cups of water as here, cover, bring it to a boil. Uncover, place the plate of oysters on the rack; cover and steam over high heat for 5 minutes. Heat off, uncover, if you like spring onions, distribute them on the steamed oysters and cover again for about half a minute to let the residual heat infuse their flavors into the oysters.

Mix soy sauce and oil, and pour them over the oysters right before serving (different fermented black beans may come with different levels of saltiness, so you may need to adjust the amount of soy sauce accordingly). The sauce together with the juice from the oysters, and the oysters themselves, are all great to go with rice.

In the pack I bought, two out of six oysters looked dwarfed, which signaled me to single them out for an experiment again. I steamed them with some grated ginger plus a hint of chili. Verdict is, the one I ate was less pungent on the whole but with the flavors of oyster prevail more, which was good on its own.

I understand that places produce fresh oysters usually sell them in terms of dozens, so you may want to multiply the ingredients in this recipe. Enjoy!

To get immediate updates and new recipes from my blog, you may also SUBSCRIBE them via RSS feeds. See you there.


Thank you for visiting, I would love to hear from you as much as I love to put up posts here ...
  1. Pepy @Indonesia Eats

    This is a delicious appetizer! Flush down with a cold drink afterwards

  2. Mary Moh

    I have never bought or cooked oysters before. I tried the raw oysters when I was in HongKong recently but found it hard to swallow. I think I prefer it cooked like what you did here. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Little Inbox

    Hmm…this must be delicious. The oysters still look fresh after steaming.

  4. Juliana

    Yummie, love the way you prepared the oysters…with fermented black beans…I can almost taste them 🙂

  5. penny aka jeroxie

    I have to say that I really prefer oysters as it is… cooked oysters is not my preference. Love the taste the sea!

  6. tigerfish

    I always have that fear that frozen oysters may taste unfresh. Apparently, it is not. 🙂

  7. TasteHongKong

    @Little Inbox, Excuse me if I have misled you. The oysters in the picture were taken before steamed. I was so obsessed with eating the cooked oysters hot that I didn’t take any shots of it, sorry.

    @tigerfish, I believe the mashed fermented black beans had masked all frozen smells, if any.

  8. pigpigscorner

    I usually eat raw oysters but I like the idea of steaming with black bean sauce! Must be so tasty!

  9. Amy @ cookbookmaniac

    I love oysters! These look so creamy and delicious. Your photos are so clean and fabulous. I love it.

  10. the lacquer spoon

    Ooh, this time, you tells us frozen oysters are turned into an awesome dish! The wallet-friendliness is good too 🙂

  11. TasteHongKong

    @the lacquer spoon, Thank you for your reader-friendly description : ).

  12. Christine@Christine's Recipes

    This is a delicious dish absolutely. Luckily, we have big and fresh oysters here, no need to use any frozen ones. But I dare not eat too many raw oysters even though I trust they are very very clean.

  13. Angela

    Steamed oysters are delicious! Raw ones aren’t as expensive in Chicago, but you’re right: it would be a sin to eat them cooked.

    But I love oysters all ways: steamed, fried, boiled, smoked, raw. I’ll have to try this recipe…

    Found you on Tastespotting. Great site.

  14. Angie's Recipes

    I still prefer the small Chinese oysters…..
    Your photos are flawless…simply beautiful!

  15. Von

    I’ve never had frozen oysters in shells …I don’t think. But we can get them really fresh here so we usually eat them raw or just steamed- we rarely cook with them. This looks like a delicious way to eat oyster though!

  16. food-4tots

    I love to eat fresh oysters too if I can find some over here. Lovely dish and beautiful presentation! Hope you have a nice KL trip! 😉

  17. TasteHongKong

    @food-4tots, Thanks, I ate more than usual in KL : ).

  18. Mei Teng

    Wow…lovely oyster dish. Excellent photography! 🙂

  19. Heavenly Housewife

    Ive never tasted oysters, but I want to try them. You’ve prepared them so beautifully here, they look stunning.
    *kisses* HH

  20. Patty

    oh my goodness! Your photograph of the gorgeous little oysters soaked in the delicious sauce makes me want to jump through this screen and eat it all up! What a great idea to use frozen oysters – will have to look into getting some as I need to eat this as soon as possible!

  21. Sook

    I am not a huge fan of oysters but your picture is so gorgeous that I just want to try them!

  22. Ivy @ My Simple Food

    It Looks delicious and I am not even an fresh oyster fan. I don’t eat anything raw to my hubby’s disappointment 🙂 But I think I can make this. It looks almost like fresh.

  23. mycookinghut

    Looks fantastic! I love oysters!! yum

  24. Tastes of Home

    yummy! I absolutely love oysters especially raw, but will definitely give this recipe a try!

  25. 15 Aphrodisiacal Oyster Appetizers In A Shell

    […] Recipe & Photo credit to […]