A visit to the Sydney Fish Market
It’s funny how the Sydney Fish Market is not prominently featured in bucket or to-do lists for Sydney. I am on a mission to change that. To me, the fish market in Sydney is integral part of the city.
In fact, when we first arrived in Australia in 2004, the fish market was one of the first places in Sydney that we felt we simply had to visit. It’s probably due to my European upbringing – when holidaying in Spain a visit to the fresh produce markets (which included the fish markets) was always part of the plan.
So, back in 2004 we visited the Fish Market for the first time, and we were pretty excited about the fish and seafood on offer. Re-visiting now in 2015, I am still excited about the huge variety (as a matter of fact, Sydney has the third largest market in terms of variety in the world) and the great quality of the produce, and I really think that the markets are a fantastic place to seek out for any tourist or local.
There’s not just the local produce here, but also imported stuff from the Americas and the Pacific region. You will find live lobsters, swimmer crabs, impressive king crabs. There’s Moreton Bay bugs and Balmain bugs, both of which may look a bit archaic and unfamiliar to the European eye. Then there’s a wide range of fresh fish of course, from smallish whitebait to much bigger species that you can buy in fillets. Octopus and oysters, salmon, scorpionfish and mahi mani. And prawns, lot’s of prawns.
But there’s more to the fish markets. You don’t just go there to buy your fish (although it is a top destination for this, of course, in particular around Christmas time and New Year’s). You will find here all things deli, including fresh fruit and veggies, smallgoods and cheeses.
Hungry? No worries! At the fish market you can buy cooked fish and seafood too, as well as freshly chucked oysters. Just grab your bite and enjoy it next to the water at the picnic tables. Or, if you can afford, there are a handful of good seafood restaurants right there that will serve up beautifully prepared dishes.
What I find a little bit disappointing with the take-away shops is that most fish and seafood will be deep-fried. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a bit more play of flavours, some good quality olive oil, some white wine vinegar, some fresh salads with that? Deep-frying might be tasty to an extend, but it also kills the flavour of fresh produce. At least that’s my humble opinion.
Overall, the fish market has a lot going for it. Surprisingly, since my first visit 11 years ago not much has changed. As a suggestion, I think there is a lot of potential to develop the site to a wonderful tourist attraction. There is a lot of romance to it, with the fishing fleet right in front and the beautiful harbour views.
If you want to learn more about the market and the auctions, enrol in a 6.30am tour. Or maybe you want to learn more about the preparation of seafood? There are classes for that too at the fish market.
There is currently a lot of talk and work behind the scenes to transform the fish market into something special. It is, after all, the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere, and turns over more than 14,500 tonnes of seafood per year.
I am looking forward to further development of the site. If you are visiting Sydney, make sure you include the fish market in your itinerary. If you live here and haven’t been for a while, think about a visit in the near future. It’s really worth it!
Sydney Fish Market. Cnr Pyrmont Road and Bank Street. http://www.sydneyfishmarket.com.au/home (easily accessible by Light Rail from Central, by car and by private boat – fees apply)