When we first moved to Canberra, there were a few grumbles within the family ranks that we would never be able to enjoy fresh seafood again - unless we drove to the coast. Over time however, this view has changed, as we have learnt from locals the best places to go to get fresh seafood before Christmas, as well as at other times of the year. Most of the fish are caught just two hours away on the South Coast, however others get transported here from further afar. After buying seafood from all of these locations, we can attest that yes, you can live in Canberra and enjoy freshly caught seafood. The following are venues that were recommended to us by Canberra locals, for fresh seafood all year around. You won't find any fresher...
Source: Original photos from FishCo Downunder Facebook
This indoor market is located on the north side of the city, with shop fronts open between Wednesday and Sunday. The carpark at the markets is full each weekend, as locals do all their weekly shopping in one place and support local businesses. There are two quality seafood markets that are located here - FishCo Downunder and Sea Harvest Australia. Both of these outlets have decades of experience and a large following of locals and restaurateurs, who appreciate their range and quality. FishCo Downunder in particular, is a large shop to walk into with an extensive range of fish to choose from - either on beds of ice or swimming around in fish tanks.
Both of these seafood markets also have outlets on the south side of Canberra. Sea Harvest is at the Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets, which is next on this list. FishCo Downunder has outlets in Fyshwick (outside the markets) and Woden Westfield Shopping Centre - see here for details.
For an article on the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets, see here.
Admire the huge range at FishCo Downunder, Belconnen Fresh Food Markets
These markets are also shop fronts as above, however this market is open between Thursday and Sunday on the south side of the city. Shoppers park their car in the centre of these markets and then walk where they want to visit, so it is a handy location if you are just popping in for seafood. Locals recommend the best place to shop for seafood at these markets is Sea Harvest (which is also located at the Belconnen Markets above). This is a larger store however, with a wide variety of freshly caught seafood from up and down the coast. If you are wanting a particular type of prawns for Christmas, visit the store beforehand and put in an order to you ensure you get the size you want. They also have a fresh oysters, whole fish, octopus and other Christmas BBQ favourites. Also at these markets is Ocean Fresh Seafoods on the other side of the market, which also sells hot fish and chips if you want to stop for a tasty seafood lunch whilst out shopping.
For an article on the Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets, see here.
There are two main Farmers Markets in Canberra - on the north side it is the Capital Region Farmers Market (Saturday) and on the south side it is the Southside Farmers Market (Sunday). These large weekly markets usually have different stallholders - however some stallholders visit both venues each weekend. One of these is Narooma Seafood Direct, which always has a line of happy customers at each market, with reasonable prices and ocean fresh catch. Their range is large, with a dozen trays of different varieties of fish kept cold on beds of ice. When you look at the fish, their eyes are clear and their scales are glistening as they are fresh from South Coast waters. Our family particularly enjoy the tips from the friendly people behind the stall, who give tasty ideas on how to cook each variety. Whilst at the markets, also check out Moruya Seafoods, for more ocean fresh South Coast fish. See here for the listings of stallholders each week at Southside Farmers Market.
There are also seafood selections at large supermarkets and seafood outlets tucked away at local shops around the region. There are seasonal events throughout the year where seafood is popular, however it also an affordable option all year around if you choose a cheaper type of fish. With the Omega 3 benefits of eating fish, it is a tasty dinner dish for all seasons. If you haven't cooked seafood before, or don't have any favourite recipes, why not ask the seafood experts behind the counter for some tips and tricks of cooking each type of fish.
With so many delicious options to choose from - why not try out a new recipe this weekend?
Fresh Ocean Trout, panfried with organic cooking butter, Himalyan rock salt and cracked pepper. Source: Sea Harvest Facebook