Frugal Food Recipes: Taiwanese Oyster Omelettes

Daily Origami is a way for us to record our off the cuff thoughts, feelings and observations about the world around us. Published every weekday, Monday through Friday.

Ivan here.

I'm not a foodie. Unlike Jennie, who has an emotional connection to certain flavors and dishes, food to me is only as interesting as what it stands for. 

The first time Jennie and I met was back in October 2008 in Kyoto. My BFF and I were hosting a small (Canadian) Thanksgiving dinner for some friends at our dorm. I was responsible for the appetizer and decided to make oyster omelettes, a popular street food in Taiwan. 

The ingredients are as follow: 

  • 3/4 cup of sweet potato or corn starch 
  • 15-20 oysters
  • Bok choy cabbage, chopped
  • Eggs
  • Five spice powder 
  • White pepper powder
  • Chinese sweet chili sauce

Instructions for IVan's Oyster Omelettes

First, mix the starch with half a cup of water. Season with salt and white pepper powder. Heat 4-5 oysters on frying pan with oil until halfway cooked, then pour some starch mixture to cover the pan. Once the starch is half coagulated, add a handful of cabbage, then crack two eggs over it, breaking up the yolk with your spatula. Season with five spice powder (my secret).  Cover with lid for one minute. Flip (or fold) the omelette over when the underside is crispy and light brown. Cook until the vegetables are soft. Plate the omelette and drown in sweet chili sauce. 

It Happened One Night


I never invited Jennie to the dinner because I didn’t know her very well. She was that strange, bubbly Asian girl who lived alone in an apartment, after she’d lost the lottery to live in the dorms (a recurring theme in her life). 

But one of her hobbies must’ve been inviting herself to other people’s parties, because she showed up when our friends arrived. 

The only thing I remember from that evening was her excitement, as she stuffed her face with oysters, while peppering me with questions. At the end of the meal, she slyly suggested that we get married so I could cook for her every day. We both laughed at the joke. 

And now, nearly a decade later, no one’s laughing anymore.