Chef Elías Tang, with his trophy and diploma. / sur

Spain's oyster king is a chef from Málaga

Elías Tang, of the Mercado San Martín restaurant, wins the national oyster-opening championship


Elías Tang is capable of cracking open an oyster in the blink of an eye. Specifically, he's able to open 30 of these molluscs is just 3.36 minutes, or one every 7.2 seconds. This feat has enabled him to claim the title of best oyster opener in the country after his triumph in the Spanish Oyster Opening Championship, celebrated in Madrid.

Born in Venezuela, Elías has been living in Spain for over 20 years, and in Málaga he's in charge of his own restaurant, Mercado San Martín, near the children's hospital.

The chef beat seven other professionals and caught the the attention of the judges, especially Susi Díaz and Paco Torreblanca, two renowned chefs. "They told me I'm one of the best they've ever seen," said Elías.

Regarding his performance, Elías was honest about how he did, stating that he did take five seconds longer than the other finalist, Yahya Jmaati, but the judges deemed the Venezuelan to be 'cleaner' with his opening and his presentation was also superior to that of his rival.

Elías Tang came to Spain as a 20 year old, and after going through training in Madrid, decided to move to Málaga. He first came into contact with seafood and oysters at El Morata beach bar, in Pedregalejo. After several years at different oyster restaurants, Elías finally settled and now operates Mercado San Martín alongside his wife.

He offers a 'roguish' style of cooking, fusing Asian and Latin flavours in honour of his roots- his mother being Latin American and his father Asian. Despite changing the menu every six months, oysters never leave it.

After 15 years of training himself, Elías now offers his services to teach those who also want to dive deep into the oyster business and follow in his footsteps. He's also managed to create and expand his own oyster brand, which now sells to some of the most important restaurants in Spain. That's why he's the oyster king.