International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Hangtown Fry

Hangtown fry breakfast

(American oyster and bacon omelet)

Image by Jef Poskanzer

Average: 3.7 (9 votes)

Hangtown fry originated in Placerville, California, during the Gold Rush. The town was known as Hangtown in recognition of the harsh justice often meted out there. The story goes that a prospector struck it rich, walked into a restaurant in town and ordered the best meal that money could buy. In that place, at that time, Hangtown fry was it.

1 portion


  • Oysters, shelled and patted dry -- 3 or 4
  • Flour -- 1/4 cup
  • Eggs, beaten -- 3
  • Milk -- 1-2 tablespoons
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste
  • Bacon, fried until crisp -- 2 pieces
  • Oil or butter for frying


  1. Toss the oysters with the flour, shake off excess and set aside. In a bowl, beat the eggs with the milk, salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the oil or butter over medium heat in a skillet. Fry the oysters for about 30 seconds on each side and push them to one side of the skillet. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet with the oysters and cook until firm, lifting the edges to allow any uncooked eggs run to the edges and cook.
  3. Lay the two pieces of bacon on the opposite side of the skillet from the oysters. Fold the omelet over, remove it to a plate and serve hot.

Hangtown Fry Variations

  • The bacon can be crumbled and stirred into the eggs.
  • Sometimes the oysters are dipped in egg and then breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs before frying.


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