Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
I’m a huge fan of Thai salads, with their identifying hot, sour and sweet flavours. This Thai Oyster Salad known as Yam Hoi Nang Rom in Thai combines my love of that winning flavour profile with my love of oysters, what more can I ask for?
Thai cuisine is not just about the curries and the noodles, in fact, I’d go as far as saying that it is the salads that I am especially fond of. In our recent visit back, last month, I ordered 2 salads with every meal, because I couldn’t help myself! One thing I did notice though was that in Bangkok, they certainly preferred their salads wetter, with a little more sauce than you’d find say up north or in my home!
Generally speaking, Thai salads can be loosely classed into 4 categories, depending on how they’re prepared. There are always overlaps and these classifications and descriptions are not set in stone but to give you an idea:
Yam – where all the ingredients are mixed together, as in here
Tam – the flavouring ingredients are pounded, the most famous is of course, som tam, green papaya salad
Lap – more commonly known as larb, with its distingushing feature being the toasted ground rice it’s finished with
Phla – quite similar to yam in flavour but does contain quite a bit of protein. It also tends to be heavier on thinly sliced herbs like mint and lemongrass. When you look at today’s recipe, it can just as easily fall into this category – go figure!
I didn’t manage to get to a floating market this last visit, given that we were only there a week and had other things to do. On all my previous visits, I used to love nothing better than to pop down to one of these markets and then treat myself to many of the delicious fresh offerings, and the oyster salad was definitely one of those treats!
The whole week was one gastronomical adventure for my husband and kids, who were tasting Thailand for the first time. The above picture shows you just a small example of the street delights that we savoured; these are glutinous rice stuffed with various fillings, wrapped in banana leaves, then grilled over a charcoal fire.
We did drag ourselves away from the food at times to do some sightseeing as well, as you can see from the picture below, The Grand Palace in Bangkok. Click to read more.
When I make this Thai Oyster Salad at home, it is always fairly spicy, except when entertaining of course, then I have no choice but to make it mild for the heathens! However, in Thailand, this salad is always made “Thai style”, that is, spicy! Needless to say, the spice level is easy to control, use some mild red chillies if you don’t like your food spicy.
I did another Thai oyster recipe not so long ago, Thai Style Grilled Oysters, with an accompanying video on how to shuck oysters. You’ll find the video on my YouTube channel here: How to Schuck Oysters.
How would you serve this salad? The same way you would any other, perfect in summer but because of it complexity, it does very well during the colder months. I have been known to make half the portion here and just have it as my lunch, with nothing else, did I mention that I love this salad?
For more Thai recipes and the odd travel post, go on over to the Thai page.
Let’s get our aprons on!
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Thai Oyster Salad
- 1-2 Thai birds eye chillies finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 2 tsp palm sugar or white
- 20 oysters
- 2 stalks lemongrass thinly sliced
- 3 red shallots sliced
- small handful coriander cilantro leaves
- small handful mint leaves
- 10 Thai basil leaves left whole
- ½ a small cucumber
- large lettuce leaves to serve
- Let’s start by making the dressing. Mix all the dressing ingredients together and leave aside for the flavours to develop while you get everything else ready.
- Cucumber – you can either julienne it or quarter it lengthwise, then slice the long sticks up.
- Coarsely chop the coriander and mint.
- Shuck the oysters (see link to video above), being careful to retain all that delicious liquor. Do this over a bowl to collect all those spills.
- Strain the oyster juices into the dressing we made earlier (the straining is in case you have bits of shell in).
- Finally get a large bowl and lightly mix everything together.
- Line 4 small plates with the lettuce leaves and pile the oyster salad onto the leaves, creating little mounds for the best effect.
- That’s it! Let me know what you think!