What I Say:
Billingsgate is not a “glam” market like Borough or La Boqueria. The venue appears industrial; the display is careless; the fish look grotesque; the crabs in multitudes could become features in any horror film; the floor is wet; the smell is fishy and foul. There are hardly any tourists but many Chinese cooks trying to catch the biggest bargain. Everything there is fishy (and shellfish-y) – dehydrated, cured, smoked, frozen, wet, alive and kicking. Chances are there that you could collide into many fast-moving carts. Fishmongers yell and shout. Boisterous. The positives? Things are dead cheap, big and fresh. Many “rare” fish you’d hardly find in a restaurant may also be purchased at Billingsgate. The negatives? For home cooking, you need to know how to fillet a fish; also, you need to think twice about the size of your pots and pans at home. These are restaurant-sized fish befitting a banquet.
And, you’ll need a fresh shower as soon as you get back. It is THAT smelly!
How To Get There:
Bus towards Poplar or Canary Wharf and a short stroll. It is usually too early for Tube or DLR. A taxi ride from Central London will cost around £25.
Best To Go:
The life at Billingsgate starts at 5am, from Tuesday to Saturday. Almost half of the stock disappears before 6am. If you want to see an overwhelming amount of fish, I’d suggest aim to arrive there just before half 5. For more information, check the Billingsgate site here.
What To Get:
Fish. Crabs. A lot of crabs!!
Super salmon – £18 each
Middle aisle.. and more fish!
The price is a joke. Think I shop at Fortnum&Masons too often.
One of the very nicely stacked stalls…
And this one..
WTF are these?
A guy hauling a turbot…
Scallops, razor clams, geoducks… you name it!
And the bloody massive snowcrabs!!!!!!
£3.50 per kilo
And many kinds of lobsters. Some are bigger than my cat.
Many fishmongers – sullen and jolly.
Some cured ones.
Breaking dawn at half 6. I was leaving Billingsgate.
Crabs, see you all again soon X