I came across a locally distilled gin when I visited the Maltby Street Market. It was called Little Bird Gin, and it surprisingly had great botanicals like grapefruit, orange and ginger. So I decided to use it to make some Vietnamese inspired gin-based dressings for freshly shucked oysters. If you can’t find cumquats, use half a mandarin instead. Luke Nguyen, Luke Nguyen's United Kingdom




Skill level

Average: 4.4 (9 votes)


  • 100 ml light soy sauce
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) malt vinegar
  • 100 ml gin
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 4 cm piece ginger, peeled and finely shredded
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 3 cumquats
  • 500 g coarse sea salt
  • 12 oysters, freshly shucked
  • 2 tsp fried garlic (see Note)
  • 2 tsp fried shallots (see Note)
  • 2 tsp chopped samphire

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Place the soy sauce, vinegar, gin, sugar, ginger, spring onion and chilli in a jar. Using a microplane or the smallest holes on a grater, finely grate the cumquat rind and set aside. Cut the fruit in half, then squeeze the juice into the jar with the dressing ingredients. Seal with the lid and shake vigorously. Set aside for the flavours to infuse.

Place the sea salt on a serving platter or chopping board, then nestle the oysters in the salt so that each sits flat and you don’t lose any precious juices. Spoon 1 teaspoon of dressing over each oyster and top with a pinch of fried garlic, fried shallots, kumquat zest and samphire.



• Fried garlic and fried shallots are available from Asian supermarkets. 


Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Alice Storey and Georgi Larby. 


BO platter and Tam dip bowl, both from Country Road. Artistica serving platter and Artistica round dish, both from Tomkin.


Luke Nguyen's United Kingdom starts Thursday 14 May 2015 at 8pm on SBS ONE and finishes 2 July 2015. Visit the Luke Nguyen's United Kingdom website to catch-up on episodes online, scroll through recipes or find out more about the show.