Cooking a slap-up seafood meal can be as daunting as it is delicious – but it doesn’t have to be difficult. We’re blessed with variety and volume in KL – but how can we find the best value with a tight budget? We’ve put together some top tips for your seafood shopping and featured the best places to buy fresh fish in the city without going overboard on budget.
If you’re buying fish to cook at home, you must make sure it is as fresh as possible. Learn to look for the signs that assure you your fish is literally the catch of that day:
- Look for any bloodlines such as the gills; any blood should be a fresh red, not brown.
- What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh … terrible jokes aside, the eyes do the talking – they should be clear, not cloudy (and if they’ve been removed, steer clear).
- Scales should be firm to the touch; if they come off easily, the fish has been sitting there for some time.
- If a fillet looks like it’s falling apart, it’s no longer good.
- There should be no odour but the sweet smell of the sea. The smell of chlorine could be covering up formaldehyde – so follow your nose!
- When it comes to crustaceans, look for the crabbiest crabs and the liveliest lobsters. The water in the tanks should be clear and your soon-to-be-dinner should practically be dancing in it. If they’re not moving, they’re not fresh. Prawns should be firm, with big bulging eyes – and avoid the black spots. And you can test the suction on tentacles to see how much time they’ve been out; octopus and squid will stay ‘sticky’ for a full day after being caught.
- Wet markets can be an attractive option for price and promotion; you might find a ‘famous’ local fishmonger who will give you a special deal on seafood that the supermarkets can’t match. However, wet markets are also extremely competitive, so a suspiciously low price might be a problem, as the stall-owners sell off whatever they can to stay afloat. For the first-time buyer, the olfactory overload can be overwhelming (it smells pretty awful). If you want to brave it, check out Chow Kit Market; it’s cheap, cheerful, authentically local and the biggest wet market in KL. Or, for literally a more ‘upmarket’ experience, try Taman Tun Wet Market; possibly the cleanest in the Klang Valley and full of fresh fish produce.
- Top Catch Fisheries are a perfect premium option for seafood shopping on a tight budget. Celebrated for their sashimi, they offer quality fresh and frozen produce from Japan and East Malaysia, including special items such as Hokkaido scallops. Drool over their fantastic fishy feed on Instagram and make sure to call ahead for top cuts!
Of course, we’re in 2018, so there is always the online option; Myseafoodmart will deliver the freshest fish (that have never seen a freezer) to your door on the same day they were caught, thanks to their seafaring set-up in Pulau Ketam which caters to everyone in the Klang Valley from households to high-end restaurants.