Tuesday, 28 October 2008
Something smells fishy - Billingsgate Fish Market (first review), Canary Wharf, London
Fish here, there, everywhere.
We were at the Billingsgate Fish Market near Canary Wharf on Saturday, before sunrise. Why? Because all the good stuff gets bought by the restaurants by 7am, and if you want ANY of the good stuff, you'd better get there before the jumble sale finished.
This market is HUGE, it's like a superstore for fish. If you were a fish lover (i.e. of the cooked variety), this would be your weekend hangout.
The moment you enter the market (carpark), you smell fish. Not so good if you don't like fish. But then again, if you don't like fish, why are you up before sunrise at a fish market.
Let me describe the smells and sounds. It's a wet market, this means that everywhere you look, there are splashes. If you wear jeans that drag on the floor, you'd better fold them up (otherwise, the cats are gonna have a new hangout spot - your ankles).
The smell clings on to your nostrils, and to your coat. Days after the visit to the market, you put that coat on and still smell like Fred the Fishmonger. Trolleys are wheeled around the market like they're going out of fashion. Big trolleys too.
Name a fish, you'll probably find it there. The fishes are placed in styrofoam boxes with price tags on the boxes, usually priced at £/kg. Most of the stalls don't have a counter or sink where the fish can be filleted, so what you see is what you buy. One of the salmons we bought came in a bin bag.
Scallops are sold by the box, usually 1kg a box. The price of scallops vary from £10 to £12, depending on the grade.
Prawns vary from £7/kg to £12/kg, depending on the size of the prawns.
For those of you who can't seem to catch on to the fact that fishes come with tails, fins and all that, the market also sells fish of the frozen variety, and in the form of fish patties, fish fingers and fish cakes.
This box of salmon (I counted about 10 fillets) cost £20. Compared to the price of buying a whole salmon, this is way more expensive, but worth it if you don't want to have to scale and fillet the fish in the kitchen.
For what I did with the fish, read the next post.