Friday, May 15, 2009

How to make Oyster Omelette aka Orr Luah, Orh Chien,

There is one hawker treat among all the delicious Singaporean hawker foods that lives in my heart. Not even my mother who was an creative and accomplished cook in her time could make it.

Only Orr Luah Pek (Uncle Oyster Omelette), our neighbour hawker made fried oyster omelette like nobody else. I remembered Orr Luah Pek’s rusty tri-cycle, where his 3 foot cast iron skillet rested above a makeshift “wood-fired” stove which was fashioned out of an old 44 gallons oil drum. He would pour the magic batter-mix and with a couple of wrist movements, an almost translucence crepe appeared in the middle of the skillet. He would then crack a couple of eggs with his left hand and spread them evenly to form an omelette, and at the same time topping a handful of local oysters with a couple of splashes of fish sauce into it. In that incredible moment, one of the most wonderful aromas would float through the neighbourhood. Then in no time, there it was a thin round oyster omelette – his batter transformed into a crispy edge scattered with succulent oysters and garnished with fresh coriander treat.

Unfortunately,the dramatic repertoire of this exquisitely flavourful dish can only belong to Orr Luah Pek in the bygone era. But today, we can only walk down memory lane and try to reproduce this extradinary dish in our kitchen with some adjustments and our own imaginations.


1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup corn starch
3/4 cup water
pinch of salt
10 pieces of fresh oyster
4 eggs
1 tbsp fish sauce or soya sauce


1. Mix the two starches and salt with water. Set this aside for now.
2. Heat up a large cast iron or non-stick skillet on medium-high heat, add some oil to grease the skillet
3. Add the oyster and stir fry a min. or two, until it’s almost cooked.
4. Add the starch water mix to the pan and spread thinly to cook until translucent.
5. Break the eggs directly on to the crepe and use the spatula to break open the
yokes and spread around
6. Flip the omelette over to cook the top side. Garnish with fresh coriander and
chilli sauce. ( We like Tabasco chilli sauce best for this dish)


  1. Woahh.. this is way up in my list of favorite SG hawker food!!! But, I don't eat the cooked oysters, somehow. Don't ask me why. I also don't know :) "Orh luah, mai orh!"

    Next time you go to hawker center or foodcourt in SG, chances are you'd need to order in Mandarin :P

  2. wah gooooooooood.. i miss hawker food.. but.. i havent go back to SG for long long time... dun remind me how it has changed!

  3. Hi HW,
    Whaaat? Orh Luah Pek will think it is sacrilege to this dish. You are invited to be our guest next time we have the hawker's nite at our place. You can give all your "orh" to my son. He thinks it is such a waste to cook oyster. He reckons eating the oyster raw is the only correct way to treat such a luxury food item.

  4. Fried oyster is one of my favourite hawker food. There´s one stall at commonwealth hawker, very deligtful,the uncle always give alot of oyster & it´s quite crispy. Unfortunately we do not have oyster here in North Sweden, if there is,it will cost a bomb.Now I can only look & envy your photos, thanks for sharing.

  5. Hi BY,
    I am recounting the reminiscence of my childhood in the 50s and 60s. The hawkers came in push carts, tricycles even balancing the foods on their heads like the "kachang puteh" and "putu mayam" sellers.


  6. Hej Estee,
    Today oysters are considered a great luxury indeed. We have to pay the equivalent of A$1 or more for a Sydney Rock oyster here.
    Have to make my Tassie dream come true. There are heaps of oysters in Tasmania. Anyone care to join me in building my eco mud house there?


  7. Everytime I come here and see your food pics I get hungry. Go to kitchen, open fridge & pantry doors and then feel so disillusioned - nothing even close to "old" Singapore food.
    Tried making acar with local Florida cucumbers and they end up like rubberbands. (sigh)

  8. Hi Nonya Vin,
    Wow! Rumah baru yang chantek and modern tu. I just came across your vincain blog and was blown away with your new rumah. Look at the space and the garden.. you can have a tropical fruits garden. BTW, how to comment in the Cain blog?

    Sorry to hear your Florida tibun were no good for your acar. Try again with other specie of tibun.

  9. Just got an idea! Am going to try Orh Luak with canned oysters just to see if doable.
    Thanks. Rumah baru is our own design with feng-shui incorporated, many Asian features unusual to local builders we were told, trying to grow jackfruit, chiku, etc. :) Blog was meant to update family & friends in Australia, Spore, USA, etc. 1 update "pau-ka-leow", lazy person style, that's why I left the comment feature out. They just email me Q's lah. Didn't even list it on blogspot search.

  10. Hi Vin,
    Tell us the result. We have tried with prawns (Hay Luah) hmmm different but a good and cheaper version. Our Teen son simply loves seafood so we have to be creative. Seafood very mahal sini.

  11. Hi Uncle Phil

    Try Clam / Mussels Luak but lightly blanch Ur Clam before hand. The Best Orh Luak I had is at Blk 22 Toa Payoh.

    Sorry need to hijacked Ur Blog to msg Bibik Modern;
    Bibik, use the Japanese Zuchinni- small (remember to de-seed). Are U still living in Vero Beach? Did U try planting durian? :D


  12. Hi Notti Paw,
    You are most wellcome.That's what this blog is for.