Crunchy Oyster Bao

, from Issue #76. January, 2018
Photography by Olivia Galletly.
Crunchy Oyster Bao

A Taiwanese twist on an oyster po’ boy. The crunchy oysters pair fantastically with sharp and sweet pickled cucumber. Bao buns can be found at some good food stores and Asian grocers in the freezer section.


¼ small savoy cabbage, shredded
½ small red onion, finely sliced
2 teaspoons sesame oil
⅔ cup flour
2 eggs, whisked
1 cup panko crumbs
6 large oysters, or 12 small
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Japanese mayonnaise
6 frozen bao buns
Pickled cucumber
⅓ cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 clove garlic, crushed
¼ red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
3 baby cucumbers
To serve
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 small bunch of coriander leaves
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted


Pickled cucumber: In a small bowl, combine the rice wine vinegar, caster sugar, garlic, chilli and a pinch of salt. Set aside until sugar and salt have dissolved. Peel cucumber into long ribbons and add to vinegar mixture. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

Place the cabbage, red onion and sesame oil in a bowl and toss to combine.

In three separate bowls, place the flour, eggs and panko crumbs. Add a pinch of salt to the flour.

Dip the oysters into the flour, then into the egg and then roll in the panko crumbs.

Heat 5cm of oil in a deep saucepan until it reaches 170°C. If you don’t have a thermometer, drop a little flour into the oil, if it sizzles it is ready to use. Gently drop the oysters into the oil and fry for 2 minutes or until golden brown. If your saucepan isn’t very big, fry oysters in batches. Remove oysters with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

Set a steamer over a saucepan or wok of simmering water. Place the bao buns into the steamer with each sitting on a small square of baking paper. Steam for 3–4 minutes or until soft.

Smear a teaspoon of hoisin on to each bao bun. Top with a fried oyster, sesame slaw, coriander, mayonnaise, pickled cucumber and toasted sesame seeds. Makes 6 bao