Sydney Fish Market

I'm not a big breakfast fan, that is unless it's a proper breakfast, none of this cereal rubbish. I wouldn't have cereal for dinner, so why settle for it at breakfast?!

But what to have instead when in Sydney? Gorge on oysters and sashimi at the world’s third largest fish market, obviously.

The market is in Pyrmont, I’m staying in Ultimo near Darling Harbour, so only a 10 minute stroll down the road. I got there nice and early so as to not miss out on the freshest catch. 

As well as being a wholesalers for the majority of Sydney’s restaurants, the market, located on the waterside in Blackwattle Bay, incorporates a working fishing port as well as numerous retail outlets, delis, and a seafood cookery school. 

As soon as you enter the market the smell of fish smothers you, not in a bad way mind you, just a pleasant, fishy reminder of your locality. The smell of the coast. 

After a wonder round the car park, past the polystyrene mountains and outdoor fish shops, I headed inside – I’d been told to not eat outside as the seagulls have gotten wise and had a penchant for dive-bombing people’s food right out their hands, like taking candy from a baby. 

Inside you find more fishmongers, a couple of delis, a veg shop and a few dodgy restaurants; the food looked pretty dire – since when has it been acceptable to cook fresh fish and chuck it in a bain marie for hours to dry out before serving it?! A great waste. 

Dry, pre-cooked fish was not on the agenda, and with such an array of weird and wonderful fish, crabs and crustacea that I’d never seen before, there was only ever going to be one place where I’d get my grub from; the wholesalers.

I toyed with the idea of abalone sashimi, a native Australian mollusc, but ended up going for a mixed sashimi box, consisting of salmon, tuna and a white-fleshed fish, of which I cannot remember the name. As if one tray of fresh fish wasn’t enough I went on to treat myself, buying a tray of 6 Coffin Bay oysters with 3 different toppings and a lone Pacific jumbo oyster. Breakfast is served. 

Surprisingly, the fatty salmon was the tastiest fish in the mixed sashimi box, the tuna coming a close second, though all quite delicious with a dash of soy and a touch of pickled ginger. The larger, expensive Pacific oyster was tasteless and too salty – big is certainly not best! The six assorted oysters were just sublime, however. I’m not usually a fan of sauce and toppings on oysters – if they’re of good quality, they’re perfect au naturel. Saying this, the Kabayakki sauce was very tasty indeed; like a watered down, less salty soy, with a pleasant richness. The black caviar and Tabasco was the only dud for me, the caviar was great, but I could hardly taste it or the oyster due the excessive spice from the Tabasco. 
By far the stand out topping was the Tobikko and Ponzu sauce, which was fantastic. The umami laden Ponzu, the popping sensation and fishy undertones from the Tobikko (fish eggs) and the sweet oyster is a great combination. I could forget about the sashimi and the other oyster toppings and just have a tray (or two) of those!

Although not a cheap breakfast, and not one I could afford even once a week, it was a mighty fine treat and a great start to the day. I left intrigued what abalone tastes like; I guess I’ll just have to come back when I return to Sydney in a few months. Hard life. 

Tobikko and Ponzu oysters

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