: For seafood enthusiasts, there is no substitute to a freshly fried, personally cracked, piping hot oyster served up on a Sunday evening.
It was a weekend of oysters on the half-shell, fried and wrapped in puffs as Kochiites celebrated Shellcon 2014 — the country’s first shell food festival — with great enthusiasm. Organised by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute in Kochi, the two-day event that concluded here on Sunday, hosted hundreds of people who wanted to get a taste of the fishing industry’s fresh offering.
“Oysters are different at different places. But they are sweet and delicious too. If you taste one you tend to come back for more,” said Umesh Pai, a Kochi-based businessman and a sea-food enthusiast.
Oysters were obviously the main course at the event, but an impressive variety of local cuisine and treats made of clams and mussels were also available at the show. It also gave the visitors the chance to swallow live oyster on a half shell, a first-time experience for many Kochiites.
Roopesh, who likes to describe himself as a true oyster person, said the experience of having raw oyster was indeed refreshing. “It was pretty much tasteless and flavourless. But there is still something in it, when you tilt your head back and swallow it with closed eyes,” he said.
On the importance of such a festival, K.Sunil Muhammed, head of Molluscan Fisheries division of the institute, said the event was a great opportunity for people to taste some of the best seafood. “The programme is aimed at creating an understanding among people that bivalves are among the most healthy and nutritional meat available in the market,” he said.
According to him, the increased consumption of the shellfish will also help improve its production. “We now look forward to come up with a bigger edition,” he said.