Food + Beverage
The Galway Oyster and Seafood Festival is Ireland’s second most popular festival after St. Patrick’s Day. The World Oyster Opening Championship is a highlight of the event, drawing competitors from around the world.
A chef from the Hong Kong Jockey Club has once again won the Hong Kong Oyster Shucking Championship. But while second place also went to a member of the club, the venerable body failed to make a clean sweep as it did last year.
To Yin Lok of The Hong Kong Jockey Club took first place in the Hong Kong Oyster Shucking Championship 2017, which were held on 8 April Café Deco in The One on Nathan Road in Kowloon’s touristy Tsim Sha Tsui district.
Yin Lok’s prize? Two round-trip tickets to Ireland with accommodation and a chance to complete in the World Oyster Opening Championship in September at the 63rd annual Galway Oyster and Seafood Festival.
Lo Wing Ho, also from The Hong Kong Jockey Club, was first runner up, winning an Apple iPad Pro 32GB. Second runner-up was Man Kong Ming from Cafe Deco. He won an Apple iPad Air 2 32GB.
A total of 13 chefs from food and beverage outlets across Hong Kong took part in the competition, which was judged by a panel of oyster experts, who examined the oysters freshly shucked by the contestants to select the winners.
The competition was followed by sumptuous seafood buffet with yummy dishes prepared by Executive Chef. Except for the oysters, the dishes were all prepared using Guinness as one of the ingredients.
Galway Oyster Seafood Festival
The Galway Oyster and Seafood Festival is held each year during the last weekend of September in Galway, Ireland.
According organizers, it is the most widely recognized Irish festival after St. Patrick’s Day. It is also the world’s longest running oyster festival, dating back to 1954.
Events include seafood trails, tasting events, cooking demonstrations, and foodie talks, which are held at some of Galway’s best restaurants.
Opening Night Party
The festival will open this year on Friday 22 September with an opening night party, which will begin at 7 pm.
There will be a Food Village with mouth-watering seafood from local restaurants and live music.
There will be a DJ spinning the discs from across the decades from 11.45 pm.
Tickets include admission to the event, one drink token for beer or wine, and one dish from the kitchen.
There will be a no-host bar throughout the evening.
World Oyster Opening Championship
The highlight of the festival will be the World Oyster Opening Championship, which will be held on the afternoon of Saturday 23 September.
The five-hour event will run from 2 pm to 7 pm, beginning with a parade of competitors through the city’s medieval streets to the Festival Marquee on Nimmo’s Pier.
Tickets to the event will include admission to the Festival Food Village, live music, one drink token for wine or beer, half a dozen oysters, and two dishes from the festival kitchen.
Masquerade Mardi Gras
The Masquerade Mardi Gras will follow the Oyster Opening Championship. Running from 8 pm “until late”, it will feature a buffet dinner, wine, and entertainment.
The event will begin with an Oyster and Prosecco reception followed by starter courses at different venues.
A Mardi Gras style parade will then lead attendees to the final venue for their main course, desert, and dancing until the wee hours.
Wild Atlantic Tastes
The festival will wind up on Sunday 24 September with Felile Bia Na Mara, or Wild Atlantic Tastes.
Running from 12 noon to 7 pm, it will showcase seafood with national food demonstrations and family fun.
Festival events will be held at the Festival Marquee at Nimmo’s Pier at the Galway City Centre.
Located on the West of Ireland, Galway is the fourth largest city in the Republic of Ireland and the sixth largest city on the island.
How to Get There
Galway's local airport doesn't have scheduled airline service, so you will have to fly into one of Ireland’s other airports and get to Galway by bus, train, or rent-a-car.
Dublin Airport is Ireland's busiest airport, and it is served by numerous air carriers with links to carious travel destinations across Europe, North America, and the Middle East.
It is, however, a bit far. The drive to Galway takes two and one-half hours.
Shannon Airport is the closest major international airport to Galway. It is roughly a one hour’s drive from the town.
While close to Galway, it doesn't have nearly as many international links as Dublin.
A third option is Ireland West Airport at Knock, which is also a one hour’s drive. While relatively small, the airport does have direct links to other cities in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
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Where to Stay
There are dozens of hotels in Galway to choose from, running from the upscale Park House Hotel and the Radisson Blue Hotel and Spa Galway at the high end to some smaller properties with limited facilities.
Expect to pay at least US$70 to as much as US$190 a night.