Friday, June 03, 2011

9 May 2011: The Sydney Fish Market Behind the Scenes Tour

Lovers of seafood will find Sydney Fish Market the place to visit for delicious and fresh seafood. The Sydney Fish Market is the world's second largest seafood market outside Japan, and the largest market of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

What goes on inside the Sydney Fish Market?

I was curious to gain a more intimate knowledge of the operations of the market behind the scenes so I signed myself and my mother up for the Behind the Scenes Tour conducted by the Sydney Fish Market. The tours are held every Monday, Thursday and Friday (except Public Holidays and between Christmas and New Year). Bookings for the tours are essential. I have found that the better time to call the market would be before noon hours.

Fish Market Light Rail Station.

My mother and I woke up early on 9 May 2011 to attend the tour which began at 6.55 a.m. sharp. It was an easy affair getting to the Sydney Fish Market by the Light Rail. We alighted at the Fish Market station.

The meeting point: Doyle's Seafood Cafe.

Before the tour was to start, we had to each sign the indemnity form and put on the special safety-vest. We were briefed of the safety measures to abide to.

What is the tour about?
During the tour, we learnt about the Dutch auction and buying system. Our dedicated tour guide explained to us the computerised Dutch auction system and what the various parts of the computerised clock represent. The buyers seemed to be having a competitive time bidding for the seafood.

We also had a tour of the auction floor. My mother's eyes were very attentive during this part of the tour. I suppose it was quite an interesting experience getting so close and personal with very fresh seafood. I was intrigued learning about the difference between the traditional auction system and the reverse auction system. Our tour guide introduced us to various species of sea produce. I learnt that flathead are commonly used in fish-and-chips.

Our guide also shared with us how to determine if a fish is fresh. Here are the strategies:
1) Check the eyes. Fresh fish has rounded eyes.
2) Smell the gills. Gills of fresh fish smell like the sea or the beach, and has none of the fishy smell.
3) Touch the skin. Fresh fish has a smooth, wet texture on the skin.
4) Move the tails. The muscles are supple, not rigid, yet not too soft.

We also learnt about the Sydney Seafood School which is Australia's leading cooking school. This school is the place for people to learn to cook a huge variety of cuisines. If you have no idea how to cook a delicious cuisine using octopus, squid, crabs and mussels, you can learn how to do so at the various classes conducted by the Sydney Seafood School.

This tour also brought us to learn more about sashimi, live produce and the Sydney Fish market retail arcade. We caught glimpses of abalones and oysters. I think this is one tour that seafood lovers who like to find out what goes on behind the scenes at the Sydney Fish Market could go for. Each participant is treated to a cup of coffee/ tea after the tour.

Crayfish alive!

After the tour, I treated my mother and myself to a set of grilled seafood platter for two persons and a sashimi set. Yummy.

Grilled seafood platter for two persons at AUS$36.50.

Sashimi at the Fish Market is sold by weight.
This set cost AUS$5.15 and includes the chopsticks and the condiments.

Sydney Fish Market
Booking is essential, and must be made between Monday and Friday during business hours.
Cost: $20 per adult, $10 per child under 13 years old (children must be at least 6 years of age).
Tel: (+61) 2 9004 1143.

All the photos on this post were taken using a Canon Digital IXUS 1000HS camera.


pinkie said...

thanks for the tip of choosing fresh fish, I never knew how... so that's really useful :)

oceanskies79 said...

Pinkie: I am glad that you have found the tips useful. Thanks to the guide who had shared the tips with me and my Mom. :)