Pacific Oyster

Crassostrea gigas

Other names: Coffin Bay oyster, Japanese oyster, Tasmanian oyster.

Family: Ostreidae (oysters).


Available farmed, it is a marine and estuarine bivalve that lives on sheltered rocky shores and intertidally. Introduced to Tasmania from Japan in the 1940s, it is now also grown in SA and NSW (Port Stephens, Hawkesbury River and Georges River). A potential threat to the native Rock Oyster, it is banned in most of NSW, and all of Queensland, Victoria, and WA, those grown in the Hawkesbury and Georges Rivers are sterile. Shells are often spiky and quite oval, sometimes elongated, and the meat has a black edge.

Season: Available year round, with peaks from April to September when they are considered to be in peak condition; best avoided during January and February.

Size and Weight: Average 15g edible weight and 7-9cm shell length, though they have reached 45cm; generally larger than Sydney Rock Oysters.

Price: Medium priced.


Native Oyster, distinguished by a flatter shell; Sydney Rock Oyster, distinguished by triangular-shaped, smoother shell and pale edge on the meat.

To Buy:

Generally sold by the dozen or half-dozen, already shucked (opened). Look for lustrous, plump, moist flesh with a pleasant fresh sea smell. Unshucked Oysters should be closed or close when tapped or gently squeezed.

To Store:

Shucked Oysters are best eaten on the day they’re purchased. They can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, but will taste best cooked if not eaten within 24 hours, and can be frozen for up to 3 months, below -18ºC, and used in soups or sauces. Live molluscs should be consumed as soon as possible after purchase. Place in a container, cover with damp paper or cloth and keep in the warmest part of the refrigerator, usually the crisper (optimum 5ºC), ensuring that the covering remains damp.

To Cook:

Average yield is 20-40% from half shell. Has a rich, iodiney flavour, low - medium oiliness and moist, soft, creamy flesh when raw, turning browny-grey when cooked. If not consumed raw, they require very little cooking, either a quick dip in hot oil (usually with a coating) or a very gentle warm through; stop cooking as soon as the edges of the meat start to curl, as overcooked they will be tough and tasteless. Larger specimens are often better served cooked.

Cooking Methods:

Steam, poach, deep-fry, pan-fry, stir-fry, bake, grill, barbecue, smoke, raw (sashimi), pickle.

Goes well with:

Bacon, breadcrumbs, cream, eggs, fresh herbs, garlic, ginger, green onions, lemon, lime, mirin, pepper, soy, Tabasco, tomato, wasabi, Worcestershire sauce.


Other Oysters; Blue Mussels can be substituted in some recipes.


Pacific Oysters are imported from New Zealand, chilled on the half-shell. Frozen, dried and smoked Oysters are also imported from many countries.


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