You might be getting the impression I'm not trying and eating anything but sweet stuff over here but that's not true at all... or at least not entirely. ;) One example for savoury eating-out would be the amazing Sydney Fish Market I've already visited twice and which I love... Any seafood lover stopping by in Sydney should definitely go there and to everybody who thinks they're not all that into fishy things - wait until you've gone there and tried the good stuff, you might actually find yourself being converted!
The first time I went there was with a total stranger to me at that time but who I know now is a well-versed fellow foodie. He took me out for lunch and although I didn't mean to actually eat anything because I had a BBQ to go to later I just couldn't resist all the yumminess he so kindly offered me... Obviously he'd been to the market lots of times because he had a favourite sashimi place and generally knew what to get and where to get it so that we had a lovely selection of seafood at the table.
Sydney Fish Market is located on the water near the Anzac bridge and is a group of buildings with lots of different stalls and shops selling all thinkable kinds of fish and seafood to eager eaters. The great thing is that you can't only buy fresh and raw produce to take home but there's also several counters selling cooked dishes or actually cook your previously bought products to order. The fish could not be fresher as there is auctions every morning and therefore the quality of the seafood is very high. Crabs and lobsters can also be bought alive and there are some tanks with creepy sea crawlies of sizes you probably haven't seen before they're that big! I certainly wouldn't mind having a 50-kilo lobster all to my greedy self! Mouth-watering.
Can I ask you a question that has been niggling away at me for a while now? Is it bad or weird that I don't see an anial when I look at fishy creatures but rather think how they delicious they would be? You could compare me to the hungry cartoon character who suddenly begins to see people as walking bacon because he's craving some... just that I'm not a cartoon character, I think. Don't judge me too hard now though because I don't see bacon when I look at pigs or steak when I look at cows. Quite the opposite actually because I'm a true animal lover and this only ever happens when I look at sea creatures but probably not even fish because they don't look anything like the dish you get but unfortunately lobster does! Ha, that must be the sole reason, I've solved the mistery.
Anyway. Back to food. And yummy creatures, hehe. Oh, shame on me, that's not a nice thing to say. Poor little creatures simply want to crawl around sideways on the bottom of the sea and have a good old time. I can't help myself though and seriously, if crabs didn't want to be eaten then they shouldn't be so darn delicious! Come on, they should really know better. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't taste half as good marinated in garlic and pan-seared! Except that I did keep licking myself when I went to the beach on Saturday because my skin was so lovely and salty. Jeez I must really be freaking the lot of you out now, sorry if I'm giving you disturbing thoughts...
For my first fishy lunch we had medium oysters which I believe must have been Tasmanian and which I didn't want to try at first because the last oysters I'd eaten gave me food poisoning... awful. These didn't though, no, they were firm, meaty and delectable - the way oysters should be.
The trick must be that the oysters at the fish market are opened under running water wish washes away all the dirt bacteria and prevents particles from the outer shell getting into the oyster. A drizzling of lemon juice and these babies were ready to be slurped and although not having been the greatest fan of them before I do have to admit they were very good. As in most things the secret is in the quality of the produce and I can understand now why people are willing to fork out a bundle of cash for these wobbly wonders.
We also had grilled garlic and herb baby octopusses which were absolutely delicious. Octopusses can go rubbery and tough if they're overcooked but these had a great texture and a lot of flavour. Thumbs up all around!
Some people can't stand the thought of eating raw fish but I've always been a great fan of sashimi. Once again the quality and freshness of the fish is absolutely vital but when you get good meat - because it's texture is certainly like meat and there's nothing fishy whatsoever about it - it feels like silk on your palate. Soft but firm and smooth, cut into thin slices and dipped into wasabi and soy sauce and you have heaven on your tongue.
First I had salmon sashimi and when I came back again went for tuna because getting hold of great quality tuna sashimi is usually harder than finding a nice slice of salmon, might it be sashimi or not. Besides that I love tuna sashimi and it's almost beef like qualities and deep flavour.
On the side we had seaweed salad with sesame seeds and albeit sounding a bit off it is scrumptious. I did try to eat seaweed at the beach the other day in a moment of feeling like Dora the Explorer but obviously and sadly it was nothing like this lovely salad. It would be too simple, now wouldn't it? People would be sitting around the cliffs stuffing their faces with green, slimey leaves and nobody would go to the fish market before... that would be a shame. Although wait a minute - more fish for me, yay!
On my second visit to the fish market I meant to try Australia's famous Abalone shellfish but in the end I've to admit that I was too stingy. It would only make sense to get the nice, big and juicy Abalone and have it made to order but I could only afford the small cocktail ones and decided that it wouldn't be worth my time or money to try a tiny amuse-bouche drenched in over-powering marinade.
I did go for crabs though, two different kinds to be exact and I was literally stunned at how cheap they were! The friendly Asian sales woman beamed at me when I told her to come again after telling me the price for a cooked female and not-so-blue Blue Swimmer Crab. Holy Maloney!
I immediately went for a bigger crabby fellow and it was conveniently cut in half and served with lime ( there's never enough of it! ), wasabi and soy sauce - a total bargain at Aus$ 4.something! Unfortunately I didn't get any of the handy tools you would at a restaurant so that it took me forever to crack the shell and pull out the lovely white meat and I made quite the mess. It completely destroyed my nails too but at that time I still had high hopes for the manicure I would go to after... we all know how that went!
The other crab was a soft-shell crab in batter and deep fried and was very yummy indeed. I loved the fact that you could just chow down the whole thing and didn't have to fiddle about with the shell and the batter added a nice flavour. It wasn't seasoned so I added salt and pepper, a bit of lime as it adds an even nicer touch than lemon and I can never have enough of it with seafood. Delicious.
My friend went for chili calamari with salad and she was hardly able to finish her portion. She had expected pure calamari but there was a slight crust on it which I actually thought made for a nice crunch and the chili delivered a well-fitting kick to the very light and summery dish.
After we had walked around, oogled the goods, made up our minds and bought the food we went outside to the seating area where you get a table next to the water if you're lucky. This place tends to be very busy and over-crowded with tourists around lunch time but we were able to score a table and fight off the lingering seadgulls. I recommend coming here on a fairly nice day because the whole point is to buy fresh food and be able to eat it right outside on the water and if the weather isn't good the background of the fish market doesn't make for the nicest scenery but it's lovely to sit under the umbrellas on a sunny day. A scrumptious experience!