August 25, 2008

the world is your oyster

Posted in ireland tagged , , , , at 6:44 pm by Malia Yoshioka

“the world was my oyster but i used the wrong fork.” – oscar wilde

oysters!

i always thought i didn’t like oysters. it’s just one of those things. like brussel sprouts, eggplant, and all those other “good for you” foods that you turned your nose up at as a kid. they just seem yucky. but as an adult, i’ve given most of these another shot and found that i actually liked them. so it seemed about time to give oysters another go when they came as the highlight of our walking tour of “food in irish history.”

my new friends from the netherlands, elly and nicole, each picked up their huge galway oyster and waited as i doused mine liberally with lemon and tabasco. “cheers!” we all shouted, tapping the shells together as each of us let the slimy oyster meat slide down our throats. the slippery texture and the sheer size of the oyster were a little daunting, but once i tasted it i realized it was actually pretty good. in fact, i almost bought another, but we were planning to go eat soon so i decided i’d save it for later.

oysters at temple street food market

the following day, nicole told me that they were planning to go to galway, a town in the west side of ireland, about a three hour’s drive from dublin. i didn’t really feel like spending three hours in a bus, but the chance to see the irish countryside as we drove and to spend some more time with elly and nicole was what finally sold me. we all paid the 19 euros and boarded the bus to galway, taking up three seats right in the front so we’d get the best view.

i read from elly’s ireland guidebook on the way up since i knew nothing about galway, except that the oyster’s we’d tried the day before were called galway oysters. they actually do have an oyster festival every year at the start of the oyster season. apparently galway is known as a festival town – there’s a general festive atmosphere in galway as you walk the streets. you can usually hear live music from many of the pubs you pass, regardless of the time of day, and in the streets you’ll come across balloon artists and other street performers or art markets on your way.

we stopped off at the tourist info booth to inquire where to get the best galway oysters and some traditional irish food. the girl at the window seemed stumped.

“ummm, i don’t really know where you can find oysters here. i’ve never really had them.”

“really? but isn’t galway famous for oysters?”

“i guess, but you’re too early for the oyster festival so i don’t know if you can find them now. you might try McDonaghs. yeah, that’s your best bet.”

so the three of us walked down to mcdonaghs, a famous fish & chips takeaway restaurant that was packed with tourists ordering up huge batches of cod and chips. it looked pretty tempting actually, but we were there for oysters. seeing none, we roamed around the pubs looking at menus, growing more and more hopeless as the time for our return bus neared.

a sign for “traditional irish food” caught my eye, and as we scanned the menu we found what we were looking for… six galway oysters – 11 euro. perfect! elly and i split the oysters (nicole had had quite enough, thank you very much) and i rounded it off with some fries (oops, chips!) and a pint of guinness. what a perfect end to our quick day in galway.

cheers to oysters!

bottoms up!

there’s actually a lot more to galway than just oysters too – we wandered around and found a huge chapel, walked along the river, posed for pictures on top of random rocks, and shopped on the cute pedestrian streets. you can view all of our pictures from galway here.

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1 Comment »

  1. christy said,

    first a search for rotisserie chicken, now oysters. your first photo made my mouth water.


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