Dec 02, 2010

Shibumis are the third tide-tumbled Pacific oyster to hit the market, along with Shigokus and Chelsea Gems. (Looks like Hama Hamas will be close behind.) At the moment, they are sweeter and plumper than Shigokus, which hail from Willapa Bay—a leaner, brinier terroir. Shibumis and Chelsea Gems both are grown in Eld Inlet, in southern Puget Sound, and they are very similar. What you get is a small, 2.5-inch oyster with a smooth brown, purple, and white-striped shell. There’s a slight pink tinge to the flesh, a beautiful balance of creaminess and brine, and an inimitable finish of Jerusalem artichoke and raw green bean that is distinctive to Eld Inlet. Wow!

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