Would You Eat Fresh Live Oysters from a Food Truck? See what happened when I did…

By Tom | Tom’s Foodie Blog

Would you eat oysters from a Food Truck? This is the same decision I faced when presented the opportunity to eat live shell fish at a food truck lot.  But let me back up for a minute, I was on my way home and had a serious hankering for Gourmet Food Truck Fare. To my luck, it was Wednesday night and the OC Din Din A GoGo at the Irvine Lanes was in full swing with 7 trucks present. I discovered that The Lime Truck was serving full on platted dinner dishes, I was intrigued! Then learned that the platted dish for the night was Live Fresh Shucked Oysters! Holly Crap I thought!…..Fresh Shucked Oysters served from Food Truck!!! I gotta get some. But then I thought to myself, will I get sick?

So the question I present to you my readers…. would you eat raw oysters  from a food truck? For me, it is a conditional YES!, IF the truck can pass my decision analysis. (see my decision analysis below)

Decision Analysis: Should I order raw seafood from a food truck?

    1. Is this a sketchy lunch truck ?
      1. If yes, RUN!!!   This is a roach coach, stick to their deep-fried burritos
      2. If No proceed to #2
    2. Is it a gourmet food truck?
      1. If no, beware it is probably a roach coach dressed up in a fancy wrap to look like a gourmet food truck…stick to their fusion tacos
      2. If yes, proceed to #3
    3. Does the  Gourmet Food Truck have a strong reputation for serving extremely fresh food?
      1. If no, stick to the fully cooked gourmet dishes and  buy some Pepto Bismol from eating too much
      2. If yes, order raw fish!!!

I ran through this decision analysis and came to the conclusion that the The Lime Truck was not only a safe place to eat oysters,  but they would bring creativity and flare to these tasty bi-valves. I also came to the conclusion that there are only a handful of trucks that I would eat raw seafood, The Lime Truck was in that elite circle.

Before I give you a description of each of the special “flavors”  topped on the oysters, allow me to talk about the oysters themselves. The oysters presented were the “Pacific” variety, which are caught in the Pacific Northwest. The flesh of these oysters is a creamy white with a dark ring around the mantle.  The texture of this yummy bi-valve is plump, firm and slightly crunchy. The flavor is mild, sweet and has a subtle ocean brine taste in the nose.  These oysters were extremely fresh in smell, texture and taste. The quality of the oysters were akin to those found in a high-end seafood restaurant, except I picked these oysters from the side of a food truck!

The “Special Platted Dish of the Day” as a quintet of  “Pacific Oysters”, each with their own special topping. The oysters where served over a bed of ice  and plated on a china. The themed oysters where as follows:

  • Yuzu Miso with Scallion
  • Yellow Curry with Jalapeno
  • Honey Gastrique with Lime Supreme
  • Black Berry Gelee with Lemon Supreme
  • Hatch Chili Salsa with Cilantro

Yuzu Miso with Scallion Oyster

This Miso base sauce  has a Japanese fruit called Yuzu (flavors are a mix of grapefruit and mandarin orange)  mixed in during cooking. This combination gives the normal rich miso paste a little citrus kick which brightens up the flavor and adds citrus overtones to the aroma. When the sauce combines with the oyster flesh, the sweet and briny flavors of the oysters are accentuated by the citrus and balanced by the savory of the miso. The scallion on top added a little punginess to the entire mouthful, adding a little more balance to tie the flavors together.

Yellow Curry with Jalapeno

The light layer of yellow curry had both a pleasant musk and bright aromas. The flavor was rich, pungent, sweet and slightly spicy. The flavor of the curry was complex, no doubt to it’s 20+ ingredients including curry powder, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, chili and pepper. With this dish, the oyster flesh played a supporting role by providing a stable structure to taste the curry.  Dont get me wrong, I could taste the Oyster perfectly and in its own glory, but it served as the Paxil to the multiple personalities of the Curry.

Honey Gastrique with Lime Supreme

Gastrique is a sweet-and-sour sauce at its simplest. This sauce is made by caramelizing sugar (in this case  honey) and combining it with equal parts vinegar. The mixture is then slightly reduced over heat to  make a sweet and tart, thickened syrup. This sauce was poured over the oyster and topped with a Lime Supreme (lime segmented with all white pith and rind removed). This is a French cooking technique complimented the natural flavors of the oysters. When chewing the oysters,  I tasted salty, tart, sweet all in the same bite. It was very pleasant to eat and I wanted more. This flavor was a good transition after the heavy curry flavor.

Black Berry Gelée with Lemon Supreme

Black Berry Gelée is essentially fresh black berries mixed into a gelatin. This gelatinized toping provides a very sweet topping and gelatin texture to the oyster. The sweetness and brine flavors played well off each other, creating a good balance. The black berry flavor also complimented the sweet flesh flavor of the oyster. The acidity from the lemon balanced the sweetness of the berry gelee and accentuated the oysters sweet flesh.  The Berry created a subtle nose aroma, which sweetened the nose flavor of the oyster’s brine. This combination was elegant.

Hatch Chili Salsa with Cilantro

The Hatch chilli is a variety of chile from the Hatch Valley in New Mexico and is a close relative of the elegant Anaheim chilli. The Hatch chilli is known for providing sweet and medium spicy flavors with a crunchy flesh.  The chilis appear to have  been first roasted and then ground into a course salsa. The flavors were smokey, spicy and slightly sweet. This spicy smokey flavor was intense, so it required that I chew the oyster throughly to really get a good flavor combination. In this dish, the oysters played an equal role in the flavor profile with the sweet brine coordinating an attack on my taste buds with the sweet and spicy chilli. This was the most intense of the flavors, so I am glad finished on this oyster.

My Final Thoughts

By the time I finished this “oysters of the world experience”,  my taste buds were feeling a little jet lagged but happy from visiting the flavors of Japan, India, France and North America. Although the oyster dish was much more expensive than a standard food truck meal, the dish passed the ”WOW! test”, meaning I enjoyed the food so much I didn’t care how much I paid for it ($18).  This dish was a great experience and was a showcase to the culinary skills of the  talented dudes of the Lime Truck. I am giving this Oyster Dish and The Lime Truck a very rare 4.5 out of 5 on my scale. This score means I will compulsively seek out The Lime Truck and order  the Oysters every single time it is on the menu. This score also means I will be  rabidly tell my friends that they have to try it.

Note: Many times my readers will have questions about my rating scale and ask me how can I give a fine dining restaurant a low score and give a food truck such a high score. It simply comes done to this , does the food and service rise to the price tag of the final bill? A fine dining restaurant better WOW! me with their dishes if I am going to pay $30-40 for a dish. A fine dining restaurant better offer dishes that are outstanding in terms of flavors, technique and presentation in order to receive a 4 or 5 rating. In the same vein if I am reviewing a food truck, I am expecting very unique dishes, novel ingredients, use of  fresh ingredients,  use of professional cooking techniques,presentation and making the food accessible to eating standing up. Any food truck can make a “fusion taco” or “pulled pork sandwich”, but the question is can they make this dish stand out from their competition and make me say WOW! I got that for only $6?

Link to The Lime Trucks Website: http://www.thelimetruck.com/lime/Home.html