Archives for posts with tag: oysters


Above: A hardworking oa jian cook prepares seven oyster pancakes at the Ximending Night Market.

It’s Christmas in Taipei and Dad and I hit a local night market to check out the food offerings. We were enchanted to find one of Dad’s favorite traditional Taiwan foods: oa jian, or oyster pancakes. Plump juicy oysters are flash fried, then covered with liquid sweet potato starch and fried to crisp perfection.

A layer of fresh eggs is poured over, then off to one side a pile of fresh bok choy is fried and then the pancake is flipped on top of it. Then the whole thing is scooted to a plate, and a light sweet gravy ladled over the top. Is your mouth watering yet? This unique treat is becoming rare in Taiwan, but the hordes of hungry diners lining up outside the restaurants suggests that it is still beloved.

Below: a plate of happiness, Taipei style.


So, it’s A-okay to have a treat when you’re expecting and even better when the doctor prescribes it!  Some more entries from our mystery diary:

“Thur. Jan. 12

Jay & I got out about day light. Had a time getting the fire to go so did not have our breakfast very pronto. Jay cut up quite a lot of the wood & packed some upstairs. Got his tradeing done before dinner & left for home about 2 p.m. I surely hated to see him go but tried to be a good girl & not a baby.

Mama & I went down town about four P.M. & saw the Dr. He told me to try Oyster soup & Bananas so hurrah for me we had Oyster soup for supper.

Bright but cool.”

It was a big deal to have your husband leave, when home was nine hours away across the snowy Montana plains.  I hope our lady diarist got some comfort from her fancy soup.  Oysters are pretty scarce in Montana now, I can imagine how expensive they were in ’22.

Here’s a recipe for ‘old fashioned’ oyster soup, posted at  It’s pretty much like all the old recipes out there for this dish:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 12-16 ounces standard-size oysters with liquid
  • 1 quart half-and-half
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (14-ounce) box oyster crackers

“Melt butter in a heavy saucepan.  Add oysters and cook over low heat just until edges curl.  Slowly add half-and-half and heat gently.  Do not boil.  Add salt and pepper.  Serve steaming hot with oyster crackers.”