Every couple of weeks since our holiday to Punta Sal (in the North of Peru), where we pretty much lived on fresh fish straight from the sea outside our bungalow, we have been going to the Terminal Pesquero in Villa Maria del Triunfo in Lima. It’s a big fish market where anyone can go and buy seafood by the kilo. From chefs buying for their restaurants to home cooks buying for their family, it is most definitely one of the cheapest ways to buy your seafood in Lima. You need to get there early. I believe it is open from about 4am, and normally we arrive around 6am.
You can buy all kinds of goods from the sea, from tuna to scallops. There are tables and boxes full of things like fresh shrimps, small dark fish, huge swordfish, shark, crab or squid. It’s a good idea to get a look around the whole market first, checking out the quality and the prices as you go, and then make a decision at the end.
We are lucky because we have the wonderful Rosa to help us with our fish purchasing. She is one of the filleters that works at the market, and we met her on our first trip there (and boy are we so glad that we did). When we get there she tells us what is good to buy on the day and what is not, and generally gives us advice on how the fish should feel and look. She then takes our purchased fish and fillets it/them for us, separating the carcass(es) into a different bag for us to freeze and make stock with. You can buy the fish already filleted but it is much more expensive than getting the whole fish and having it filleted for you afterwards. Also, when it is ready-filleted for you, you have no idea how fresh the fish actually was or the quality of it beforehand. Buying the fish whole is the best, and the most cost effective, way to get your fish.
Just to warn you that you will always leave the market with a fishy smell on just about everything you are wearing (and in your hair too), so don’t pop in to the market on your way to work, a dinner or anywhere where you can’t change and shower. Make it a separate journey, trust me on this one.
The smell aside, this is an absolutely fantastic way to purchase your fish, and with such an array you’ll be back again and again. Highly recommended.
CATCH OF THE DAY
Our catch of the day today was Lenguado (sole) at a bargain price of S/45 a kilo. It may sound a lot to pay for a fish, but when we normally hear the price as being S/60-S/65 a kilo, we knew we had to jump at the chance. This is the price for the whole fish, bones and all, but you can use the fish carcass to make fish stock or soup, therefore you are getting even more for your money. Lenguado is supposed to be one of the best fish to buy, so to celebrate Fiestas Patrias, we treated ourselves and took advantage of the sale!
(Last week we bought some great Mero Murique for S/35 a kilo. Beautiful, beautiful fish. See my Twitter for a photo, or check out the middle photo at the top!)
Terminal Pesquero, Av. Pachacutec (on the corner with Av. Maria Parado de Bellido), Villa Maria del Triunfo, Lima