Top 3 Best Fish Markets

I love to eat. And nothing gets me more excited than a food market, particularly as fish market. I love to eat seafood in general, but a place where I can try new or weird delicacies? I’m there! I also like bargaining so places like these are my heaven!  Here’s my top 3 favorite from my travels.

3. Fish Market, Essaouira waterfront – Morocco

Essaouira itself is an amazing place to visit. Google it and you’ll find stories of Jimmy Hendrix and other musicians of that time who would travel there to smoke weed and write music. Understandably because it’s a very inspiring place and people are offering you hash cakes left, right and center! All that aside, the city is also host to an adorable little fish market located right outside the port. It’s not umber big, no more than 9 or 10 stalls. But any more would only take away from the adorableness.

Unlike the other markets mentions on this list, the food is cooked at the stall from which it is purchased. As it was my birthday, we went HAM and bought enough seafood to feed a family of four. We got a whole crab, lots of BBQ shrimp and a whole grilled fish. Everything was prepared at the stall, bbq’d on a grill then served with bread and dipping sauces. The tables are set up out front of the market so you can dine alfresco with other patrons of the market.
Be careful though! As enjoyable and yummy as the food was, I did get food poisoning from it 🙁 Saying that, I would happily go again. I would just make sure to tell the chef to overcook everything slightly!


2. Mercado do Peixe, Maputo – Mozambique

Maputo is not the best city I’ve ever been to. In fact, it may be one of the worst. Mainly because it’s mostly in ruin and there isn’t much to do there. There is, however, a fish market. Located a little out from the city, it is worth a visit if you ever find yourself in Mozambique.
It’s small, like the market in Essaouira, but is basically a bunch of local fishermen/women who set up shop on wooden tables underneath a large wooden pavilion. The  ground is dirt and is probably the smelliest of the three markets I will talk about. The vendors were unfriendly and weren’t too keen on us taking photos so apologies for the lack of. They did have oysters though. As well as massive tiger prawns, different fishes, eels and other local seafood indigenous to Mozambique.
We opted for oysters and some of those large prawns. The smell put us off from purchasing anything else. Once the fish is bought, you take it around the corner where you bargain with the host on a price to prepare your food. We agreed on a price and sat at a table next to two older Israeli women. We chatted with them for a bit while they informed us of how much they loved this market. They go here every year because they love it so much. They also warned us to watch out for the hosts who will probably try to rip us off. 


Our food came and it was to die for! The oysters were huge and came with a signature Mozambican piri piri sauce (real piri-piri, not the kind you get at Nando’s). The prawns were juicy and perfectly cooked. We enjoyed the food and the company but when it came time to pay, (as the women predicted) the host gave us a larger price than we had agreed to. We argued back and forth for a while and I think in the end paid the higher price just so we could leave. My advice to those looking to visit would be to agree on the price then pay it right then and there so that you can simply leave once you’ve finished your food.

1. Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market, Seoul – South Korea

Ah, possibly one of my favorite places in Seoul. The fish market in Noryangjin. I could eat there everyday and not get bored. What’s especially fun about this market is that they have tons of weird seafood like urchin, different types of mollusks, abalone, even sea cucumber for you to try. If you’re not into bizarre foods, there’s the usual flounder, shrimp and clams too. I’ve been here numerous times during my time living in Seoul both with natives and without.
The place is huge! It’s a wholesale market so provides fish to the restaurants in the city. When you first walk in, you will first notice the smell. But that goes away within a few minutes. You’ll find yourself overwhelmed with the various stalls and fish tanks which hold live fish for you to purchase. There’s barrels of clams, mollusks, mussels and other shellfish which line the stands. The front row has the usual stuff like different fishes, clams, oysters, as well as some slightly unusual stuff like sea cucumber and abalone. In the middle is where you’ll find the weirder stuff like fermented skates, stingrays and larger squids and octopus. In the back is where you’ll find kimchi stands where adjumas (older Korean women) sell homemade variations of the national dish.

Once you’ve chosen your fare, the stand will then kill your fish (if live) or sashimi it for you. I don’t recommend watching this if you are faint at heart because it can be very graphic. Once your food is dead, you then take it over to the plethora of restaurants that will cook and prepare the food to your liking. There, you sit on the floor (proper Korean style) and enjoy your fresh seafood and the ban-chan (side dishes) it comes with. 


Haggling here is slightly more difficult than the aforementioned markets as the people who work here don’t speak enough English to successfully come to an agreed price. If you go, I would suggest going with someone who speaks the language. That said, it is doable to visit the market on your own, you may just find yourself writing down prices back and forth with the vendors.


One of the more popular things to try at this market is octopus which is taken and killed then while the tentacles are still moving, you eat it. It’s an interesting experience but in retrospect is a big gross. Having been to this market a few times, I’ve tried urchin, sea cucumber and Urechis unicinctus (which is nicknamed ‘penis fish’ for what it looks like), all of which taste terrible but very fun to try.


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