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Sydney Fish Market

Home > Sydney > Cheap | Family | Free | Fun Things To Do | Markets
by Lionel (subscribe)
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Published December 31st 2012
5 Top Reasons to Visit Sydney's Iconic Market
Sydney Fish Market

Located on Blackwattle Bay since 1966, the Sydney Fish Market is managed by a fisherman's trust that includes families and networks of Italian, Greek and Chinese Australians. It includes a working fishing port, wholesale fish market, fresh seafood retail section, food and beverage outlets, a bakery and delicatessen, fruit and vegetable section, and indoor and outdoor seating.

It may sound like another fish market but there's something about the sights, smells and sounds of this Sydney institution that draws bus loads of residents and tourists every day of the year. For many locals, it is the place for a seafood lunch or fish and prawns for the home barbeque. For tourists, the wharf with its fishing boats and stalls with fresh seafood in all shapes and sizes makes the market an iconic representation of Australia. It is one of my must-visit venues to enjoy live oysters from various parts of New South Wales whenever I'm in Sydney.

Photo by happy_stomach of Flickr

As the New Year rolls in, it's worth taking another look at this popular venue. Here's 5 top reasons to make your way to the Sydney Fish Market.

Iconic Attraction

The Sydney Fish Market is one of the largest working fish markets in the southern hemisphere. As one of the rare working fish markets around the world that is located in the city and close to the Central Business District, the Sydney Fish Market add to Sydney's attraction as an interesting city to visit and live in.

Photo by happy_stomach of Flickr

For Sydneysiders, the Sydney Fish Market is part of the local Christmas tradition, with car loads of residents combining family outings with trips to buy seafood for Christmas Day lunches. It draws over two million local and international visitors annually as one of the most popular Sydney attractions.

Photo by avlxyz of Flickr

Fresh Seafood Daily

Seafood in Sydney can't get any fresher or varied than at the Sydney Fish Market.

In the pre-dawn hours, more than 100 species of seafood live in boxes and iced in crates arrive at the port daily, equating to some 14,500 tonnes of seafood traded annually.

6 retailers will help meet all your fishy needs including abalones, billfish, blue mussels, breams, bugs, giant crabs, dories, flatheads, freshwater crayfish, leatherjackets, mackerels, mullets, oysters, periwinkles, pipis, prawns, rays, rocklobsters, salmon, scallops, sea urchins, snappers, squids, trevallys, trouts, tunas and whitings. There are always seasonal specials and discounts among the different stalls to help you get the best and cheapest during your visit.

Regardless of the day you visit, the general atmosphere is electric with residents making their grocery runs and flashes of visitors capturing the seafood and buzz.

A walk around the open displays filled with all kinds of seafood makes you appreciate the bounty of our oceans and wonder at the toil of fishermen to land their catch and haul them into the Market for our convenience of purchase.

Sydney Seafood School

Initially established in 1989 to teach people how easy it is to prepare the wonderful array of seafood found in Australia's oceans and rivers, the Sydney Seafood School is now the nation's leading cooking school catering to 13,000 guests annually. The classes cater to residents, interstate and even overseas visitors, teaching them how to use the wide variety of seafood in Australian, Italian, French, Asian and barbeque dishes. They also feature some of Australia's finest chefs as guest presenters including Guillaume Brahimi of Guillaume at Bennelong, Matthew Moran from ARIA, Justin North of Bécasse, Mark Best from Marque and Damien Pignolet of Bistro Moncur just to name a few.

Guests can enjoy a range of practical lessons for all skill levels featuring demonstrations and actual kitchen time using state-of-the-art cooking islands and appliances to recreate the featured dishes. Over 80 seafood recipes covering a wide range of species and cooking styles from Sydney's leading chefs who have taught the classes is now available in Sydney Seafood School's cookbook.

Wholesale Fish Auction

Photo by happy_stomach of Flickr

In the early hours of the morning while most of us are still fast asleep, the Sydney Fish Market is busy with the buying and selling of seafood through the largest wholesale fish auction in the Southern Hemisphere and the second largest in the world in terms of variety.

Photo by happy_stomach of Flickr

The Market introduced the Dutch auction system used for over 130 years in the Netherlands to replace the labour intensive voice auctions in 1989.

Photo by happy_stomach of Flickr

Visitors can be part of this daily pre-dawn buzz by participating in a behind the scenes tour of the wholesale fish auction. The tour is one of the best ways to see the day's catch from live mud crabs to blue fin tuna, as well as over 100 species of fish in crates and ice.

Inexpensive Seafood Dining

Dining has long been an attraction of the Sydney Fish Market, and its not just confined to fish and chips on the wharf from Doyle's or Yum-Cha at the Fisherman's Wharf Seafood Restaurant. Every stall has something different or a different cooking style so it's worthwhile to check around before deciding what to buy from whom. I often end up with a platter comprising of seafood from various stalls that make for a delicious lunch.

Many Sydneysiders visit on the weekends for a few kilograms of cooked prawns and trays of oysters to take onboard their boats. It gets very busy especially during Australia Day supplying vessels of all kinds that dominate Sydney Harbour. Another common sight are Aussie families enjoying al fresco lunches with plate loads of cooked crays, grilled fish and deep-fried calamari by the wharf.

Weekdays are dominated by tourists chowing down self-made platters of live oysters, sashimi fish and cooked seafood that cost a fraction of similar offerings in Darling Harbour.

Especially popular with Asian visitors are the Cantonese-style wok-cooked lobsters and crabs from live tanks that cost at least half the price of Chinese restaurants like Golden Century Seafood in Chinatown. The onsite bottle shop provides a wide range of beers and wines to accompany every type of seafood meal.

Photo by happy_stomach of Flickr

The Sydney Fish Market remains a favourite place for many locals and tourists to chow down inexpensive seafood. So make sure you're there early or you'll be left with cold scraps by 3pm.
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Why? 5 top reasons to visit irregardless if you're a local or a tourist
When: Monday to Sunday: 7am – 4pm
Phone: (02) 9004 1111
Where: Sydney
Cost: Varies from stall to stall
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