When I first moved to Boston, I reviewed a lot of materials about a variety of fun activities around the city. One activity that caught my attention, but kinda scared me, was oyster shucking. First, you must know a little secret: I actually didn’t like oysters until I moved here. However, I love seafood and figured that oysters would just be a natural fit for me. What better place to learn about how to eat and prepare a proper oyster than Boston, right?
Well, that was a much more difficult feat than I initial anticipated. It was hard to find brave souls that already enjoyed eating them – and trying various kinds of oysters soon became a regular activity during visits from out of town friends. As I initially suspected, I did love oysters and soon started to assemble a short list of local friends who shared my secret obsession. One of whom mentioned on New Year’s Eve how much they wanted to learn to shuck. It seemed that the opportunity had arrived!
A month ago, this friend and I took a stroll down to the North End Fish Market to try out a free shucking class. The fish market is a small location on Salem St. (parallel to Hanover) and was started by two women who were tired of their day jobs and wanted to do something they truly loved.
In the market, they sell fresh and pre-prepared fish, as well as sushi and some sides. The shucking class is held every Saturday, between 1 to 3 pm, and it usually takes around 15 or so minutes. The best part? You only pay for what you shuck! There is no additional fee to learn. You can also grab a nice bottle of wine and bring it with you – which of course I did.
Despite what I thought about shucking before, I now know that it’s much harder than it looks. It’s also really easy to cut yourself (which I was thankful I did not do). Our instructor and the owner kept telling us that it wasn’t about strength – it was about the force and opening it depended on where the pressure was being placed. Also, the owners noted that opening oysters worked your core – can you say bonus?
The oysters that we shucked and ate were so flavorful that they just needed a squirt of lemon juice. Though, it was a little weird to learn that the oysters were technically still alive when we were shucking and eating them. I’m not sure why I didn’t realize that before though.
I managed to come away from the class with a new found respect of oyster bars – and with a belly full of some fresh, delicious seafood in my belly. If you are looking for an activity in the North End, and are fond of oysters, I would absolutely recommend the class (and my friend noted that she thought it was a great place for an adventurous date).