To people who love seafoods, the Sydney Fish Market is indeed a culinary paradise. I had the opportunity to be there (thanks to Sam) during a recent trip to Sydney, and I enjoyed every minute of it. It was yum-yum, fascination, relaxation, heat and chaos - all in one.
Located in Pyrmont fronting the Blackwattle Bay in downtown Sydney, it is a must-visit for foodies in this beautiful vibrant city.
We arrived there on a hot summer afternoon, the temperature touching 40 degrees C. The first thing we did was to look for a place to settle down. They have a stretch of outdoor tables completed with big umbrellas at the waterfront, overlooking a marina. It was not a fantastic view. I have seen a lot better waterfronts. But the atmosphere was good and the food fantastic.
On the weekend afternoon, it was not easy to find a table. It was crowded to the brink. Many resorted to sitting and eating on the ground - on a sloping grass strip between the fish market and the outdoor tables.
We stood around for awhile and were lucky that a family at a nearby table packed their things and left. We quickly moved in to claim our territory. That done, we proceeded inside the fish market to buy our food , while one of us stayed back to guard our domain.
Inside, it was a chaos of sort. The place was crowded and noisy. There were more tables and more people merrily eating away. Others were walking around, jostling at the food counters and some talking at the top of their voices. It was literally.... a fish market.
There were a few retailers - selling all kinds of raw seafoods. They do not cook. You buy the stuffs to take home. There was such a fascinating array of things from the ocean. Everything looked so fresh. It was such a happy place.
And there were lots of food stalls selling ready-to-eats. The cooked food were on display for your pick. In some stalls, you pick your raw fish or crabs or lobsters, and they cook it to your specification.
We made our purchases and regrouped at our table. The feast began. What better way to start than some nice fresh oysters. They were absolutely exquisite. So very fresh. They was no need for sauces. Just some lemon squeezes. The oysters flowed into our mouths. What a fantastic feeling.
And then the sashimi. We had some tuna and salmon. Like the oysters, they were fresh to the superlatives. Eddy commented that the sashimi here were fresher than those in Japan. He should know - Japan is almost his 3rd home. There was only one problem. The wasabi and soya sauce were not quite enough.
The prawns were of good size. They were simply blanched and were perfectly done. Overcooking would make them hard and coarse. These were tender and succulent. As we peeled the shells, the juices flowed out. No flavouring was need. Prawns this fresh do not need any additional flavouring.
These were fresh scallops. They were cooked in a mild spicy tomato sauce. Again it was the freshness that made it so very delicious. The scallop meat peels out of the shell and was fleshy and tender in the mouth.
This was another plate of oyster. They were baked with bits of cheese and bacon on the surface. They were aromatic and delicious. However, I thought the fresh ones were better.
This plate was a single mud crab. The crab was huge. We selected it live from a basket. The stall keeper cooked it "Chinese style". It was lightly deep-fried and then cooked in a soy sauce with some herbs and spring onions. The meat was firm and sweet. It was a good crab by any standard. But it was damn bloody expensive. Alan paid AUD88 - more than RM280 - for the single crab.
The barramundi (siakap) was also selected fresh and the stall keeper pan grilled it for us. It was very well done. The skin was crispy while the meat was succulent. We picked on the fish with our fingers, savouring on the crunchy fins and head.
It was an awesome seafood orgy. We sat in the hot sun gorging on the food with some nice chilled white wine to cool us down. In spite of the heat, it was strangely very relaxing. The gulls eyed our every movement, hoping for scraps for which large signboards advised against.
It was a delightful meal. Great fresh seafood with great old friends. What a hot summer afternoon. If you are ever in Sydney, do not miss their fish market. Your trip would not be complete without a visit to the fish market.