Oyster Cocktail


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes


Appears in

Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad and Tobago

Sweet Hands

By Ramin Ganeshram

Published 2018

  • About

Oysters are a well-loved street food, although the government made it illegal to sell the mollusks along the roadside. Trinidadian oysters grow on the roots of mangrove trees in the large Caroni swamp that covers hundreds of acres in the middle of the island. Although small, they are meatier than sea oysters. Simple though it may be, this appetizer packs a unique punch. It’s the seasoning sauce that really makes this dish. While the sauce’s respective ingredients are kept in separate bottles by street vendors and squirted onto paper cones full of oysters, my recipe mixes them together to be dolloped onto oysters on the half shell, as desired.


  • 12 Blue Point oysters, or oysters of your choice, shucked, with top shell removed
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup mixed with 1 teaspoon sugar*
  • ½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce


  1. Arrange the oysters on a bed of crushed ice.
  2. Place the cilantro and lime juice in a blender and puree to a smooth paste. Add the remaining ingredients and puree. Drizzle ¼ to ½ teaspoon of the sauce on each oyster. Serve.

*Trinidadian ketchup is much sweeter than American versions, hence the addition of sugar in this recipe. You may omit the extra sugar if you like, or use Hunt’s ketchup, which is the sweetest of the American brands.