saturday market @ market city – canning vale
So I smell like fish, and look like one too, being coverd in scales to the elbow. It’s the aftermath of a crazy morning at the Central Trading Area of Market City. 7am (or earlier) is a hideous time to wake up on a weekend, but supposedly the early bird gets the worm so we reluctantly haul ourselves out of bed to see what the markets have to offer. Normally the wholesale markets are closed to the public but on Saturdays two areas of the market are open to the public – the wholesale produce warehouse and the meat and fish area.
A word of warning – the people who come here for fruit and veggies are highly enthusiastic. Actually, enthusiastic would be an overstatement…they are crazy!! As each wholesaler lifts his gate, the waiting hordes madly rush through – bags flying, elbows shoving and eyes keenly searching out for the best produce. The scenes are reminiscent of Boxing Day sales, I kid you not!
Mangoes galore! Each box $15 each! “Do not chop the mangoes up!!”
These are clearance markets – selling the surplus and reject stock from the trading week. Therefore the produce tends to be of inferior grade and are bought by the box or large pre-packed bags – resulting in ridiculously cheap prices. By this I mean a box of mangoes sells for $15 but will most likely contain some over ripe and spotty fruits. With this in mind, scrupulous (or shameless) customers will swap mangoes from box to box, discarding the blemished fruits – causing the stall owner to shout and repeat ‘DO NOT chop the mangoes up!! Do not chop the mangoes UP!!??’.
As expected, the produce is hit and miss, some of it was passable, a lot of it wilted and no doubt had been picked through. No matter how cheap it was, the bargain glutton in me knew there was no way we would get through a crate of yellow zucchinis. Though I did get a big box of portobello mushrooms (about 4kg – did someone say stroganoff?) for $10. Bargain.
We surrender the produce section to the over zealous and grinning families and head to the teeming fish market. Inhaling the slight stench of fish, we walk through the turnstiles and did what the romans did – grab a pair of gloves, a fistful of plastic bags and join the crowd!
I have never seen a fish market like this in Perth! It’s wet, crowded and fish is constantly streaming in. The fish is exceptionally fresh and exceptionally cheap. Local squid, with gleaming vibrant purple speckled skin, are around $10 a kilo. Shiny boot black local mussels are a shop wide hit at $2.90 a kilo (when was the last time you saw mussels for less than $3 per kg?!). Whole snapper is less than $10 a kilo. Fresh jumbo sized prawns are $14 a kilo. We put on our gloves and dive right in with the middle aged mums and dads, sorting through the clear eyed and slippery fish! If you like fresh lobster and yabbies, this is THE place to get them. No sedate, on-the-verge-of-death yabbies here – they were so lively that fascinated customers were racing them. Just caught, angrily flapping lobsters can be bought for $16 each.
Crab linguine, please.
The result of a lot of scaling and a haphazard, first time attempt at filleting.
The fish market also stocks frozen foods which seem to be very popular. I walked out of there with a whole salmon, a kilo of whole squid and 4 big blue manna crabs for $60.
Next door (yes there’s more!) is a butcher. With exception to the cling wrapped carcasses, the meat is sold in bulk vacuum packs. With stroganoff on the mind I picked up a huge piece of gravy beef (to me it was huge, but it was the smallest one available… this is wholesale after all) for $3.50 a kilo. I saw some t-bone steaks for $10 a kilo but had to restrain myself due to freezer space.
I would probably go back to the markets for fish and meat. The low grade produce is not my thing and being that early in the morning, I’m not enthusiastic enough to elbow my way through for some chinese cabbage or a box of mangoes! My advice is to wake up early for these markets – especially if you are keen to buy fruit and vegetables (er… bring your running shoes!). Also, fold up trolley is handy for holding boxes of fruit – the produce section is heaven for jam and pickle makers, although some dedication and tolerance to bad fruit is required. For the fish market, bring covered shoes as the floor is wet. Some customers brought sturdy buckets to hold their catches which is a fabulous idea. Keep in mind that a fee is charged for gutting and scaling fish.
Market City, 280 Bannister Road, Canning Vale WA 6155
The fruit and vege markets are open from 7.30am – 9.30am every Saturday in the Central Trading Area. The fish markets are open from 6am – 10am every Saturday. The entrance to ample parking is off Bannister Road – look for the long queue of cars waiting to get through the boom gates. It’s a $2 per car entry fee (goes to Rotary).The produce and fish markets are cash transactions only.
p.s. I think I’ve been shopping in sterile supermarkets for too long, I found myself getting slightly squeamish when we headed to the butchers. I daren’t look at the giant yellow trolleys, I think they had spines or something in them. My companion told me not to look in!
p.p.s. The mushrooms on closer inspection were a little iffy. I’m thinking someone had gone through the box of mushrooms and sorted out the good from the bad and needless to say, my box seemed to bear the brunt of it (read: slightly blemished, oxidised and sometimes slimey!). However, it was still a bargain. Even though I threw out half the box (which can still be eaten if you diligently peel them) I came out with about 3 kilos of mushies for the said stroganoff.
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