Monday, April 02, 2012

Aberdeen Wholesale Fish Market - Fresh off the Boat

Salt and pepper squid
This is from a while back - it was a pre-Chinese New Year gathering with friends old and new (mostly new*!) at the Aberdeen Wholesale Fish Market. It's has had a lot of buzz recently, as the media has suddenly "uncovered" a "hidden", "secret" eatery that is off-limits to the general public.


Stir-fried garoupa fillets
It's hardly hidden, if you've been to Aberdeen, you will have seen this wholesale market area right by the coast, and beside the pier where you get sampans. Off-limits to the public, yes, sort of, because this "eatery" is actually the market canteen for people who work at the markets. The canteen of course, is capable of doing larger banquets, since the market association needs to hold events and meetings here too, so strings were pulled and so was I, into this "exclusive" dining hall.

Steamed garoupa head/face area
Indeed, you get a lot of fresh seafood for a very good price here. I think this meal was just a few hundred per head. The cooking methods were kept simple, and they could afford to be kept so, because of the freshness.

Pan-fried fresh abalone with chilli and soy sauce
I particularly liked these fresh abalones that were simply pan-fried with a bit of soy and sugar and sprinkled with chilli. The way the soy caramelises on the abalone, especially the jagged edges, is delicious.

Steamed scallops with garlic and vermicelli
The best thing about this place is the bang for your buck, and if you like shellfish and crustacea, especially those not native to the waters around Hong Kong, this seems to be a good place to find them. But don't go begging at their door, or working your connections like you'd max out your credit card on a one-of-a-kind, vintage Noguchi chair just yet.

Mantis shrimp fried in chilli and salt
The Aberdeen Wholesale Fish Market is a fun place to go for "hawker" style, rough and ready seafood, but it's not that marine epiphany you never knew you had to reach. All things considered, Lei Yu Mun is still an excellent place to go, especially for fish and prawns.

"Haam sin"
This "haam sin" is an example of hawker or fisherman's food - smaller fish that can't sell for a lot of money are often kept by fisherman for their own meals, and to preserve them, or keep them edible till the next day, they would cover them in salt for a night. The next day, they'd be washed and steamed like normal fish, but the flavour is noticeably more intense, and not in a bad way. "Haam" means salty, and "sin" means fresh, in a way, this describes the flavour quite well - it's salty but somehow retains, or even concentrates, the freshness of the fish.

It should be noted that vendors at the market generally welcome the public towards closing time, once their main, wholesale, clients - restaurants and fishmongers from other markets - have been served. You can check out what's left and maybe nab a bargain! (If you don't, you can always go across to Ap Lei Chau and nab a fashion bargain at the Lane Crawford and Joyce outlets...)

*A shout-out to Caleb & Josh of Angeleno Wines / the super-cool HK internet TV food sensation Twins Kitchen for getting us in!

Aberdeen Wholesale Fish Market
102 Shek Pai Wan Road
Aberdeen
Hong Kong


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