I made it a point not to eat at the Sydney Fish Market (SFM) in the year I was living in Sydney. It seemed, well, too touristy (yes, I am ashamedly aware of the hypocrisy). There are always throngs of tourists chowing down on what seemed like overpriced seafood platters in a canteen-like atmosphere.
Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy visiting SFM but only to purchase seafood. We’ve bought crabs, Moreton Bay bugs, prawns, mussels and fish. All very fresh, and marvellous. The selection is enviable; if it’s in season, you’ll find it. Plus there are multiple reputable vendors to select from.
Eating at the SFM is one of the picks for Grab Your Fork’s top Cheap Eats for Tourists, so I was keen to see if it really was affordable (my yardstick for an affordable meal out is $20 per person).
BL and I were on the lookout for oysters. At the entrance, were a couple of young men selling oysters from large bins, and shucking them on demand. There were about 8 different oyster provenance available from up and down the NSW coast. They were too pricey for us; oysters from Bateman’s Bay were available for $4 each (compare that to $14 a dozen at the Oyster Shed in Bateman’s Bay).
There was a stall grilling aburi scallops resting in cheese in a half-shell. The flame jetting out of that torch was seriously impressive.
We purchased our dozen Pacific oysters ($15.99) from one of the stores. They look plump and fresh, and were recently shucked. While these were on the small side, they were sweet and succulent, with a clean finish.
There are options galore, – from fresh sashimi, sushi, various fish options, crustaceans and shellfish au naturel or cooked in a myriad of ways.
We decided on a grilled half lobster ($13) and a large deep-fried soft shell crab ($8.50) and took our meal to eat at one of the picnic tables in the outdoors courtyard. The lightly spiced lobster was sweet and tender, if slightly dry at the edges from sitting under the heat lamps. The soft shell crab was excellent; the crispy batter complemented the succulent flesh. The seasoning was subtle, and could do with some chilli heat. For less than $20 a head, we had delicious seafood, so I can somewhat grudgingly agree that SFM can provide an affordable meal.
After lunch, there’s nothing better than wandering around the market checking out what’s on offer, and gawk at some of the pricier options.
As a souvenir of our trip, we picked up a couple of oyster knives for $5 each for our next oyster adventure.
SFM is an easy light rail ride from Central or Haymarket, or if the weather is beautiful and you’re keen for a walk, it’s a nice saunter across the Pyrmont Bridge from the city.
Sydney Fish Market
Bank St & Pyrmont Bridge Road
Open 7 days (except Christmas)
Mon – Thu 7am – 4pm
Fri – Sun 7am – 5pm