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Sydney Interlude

by Liz Thomas

It’s 11 am, the sun is shining and the cabbie is whistling cheerfully.   It’s a brilliant spring morning and we’ve just disembarked from a very comfortable Viva Macau direct flight to Sydney.  Such a lovely day calls for a perfect lunch in a perfect location, something spanking fresh and vibrant, straight from the sea and Sydney’s famous Fish Market fits the bill.
The NSW Fish Marketing Authority was established in 1964 and the market was located in the Haymarket area of Sydney, two years later it moved to its current premises in Blackwattle Bay, Pyrmont, not far from Darling Harbour.  The market is huge, the largest in the southern hemisphere and world second only to Tokyo.  The actual marketing business is conducted behind closed doors in vast warehouses but the section on the harbour front houses retail outlets and you can choose from fabulous displays of fish and seafood to be freshly cooked and eaten out on the dockside terrace.
There are lobsters, crabs and prawns, oysters, mussels and clams, squirming octopus and squid and a veritable rainbow of bright-eyed, glittery-scaled fish to choose from.   Every detail has been thought of, there’s a liquor shop for chilled beers and wines, a bakery and a deli with wonderful cheeses – everything you need for a delicious spread.  There is a cookery school located on the first floor which holds regular classes – www.sydneyfishmarket.com.au for mouth-watering recipes and other fishy information.
As we were early we easily found a table but Sunday is a busy day here and before long the tables were filling up – it became evident that this is a favourite Sunday haunt for Sydney’s Asian population and that made us feel very much at home!   Sipping a couple of cold beers we were soon joined by a delightful Chinese family (originally from Shanghai) and a system emerged.  They went to get their food and we held the table, then it was our turn to get the food and they held the table, and so on!   Our spread consisted of oysters au natural, mornay and Kilpatrick, lobster thermidor, some big juicy prawns and, of course, a crisp, chilled Sauvignon Blanc to wash it all down.
The place is alive with sea birds and although there are notices asking you not to, people just cannot resist throwing tasty prawn shells to a rather majestic pelican – and keep an eye on those seagulls, the cheeky creatures think nothing of swooping in a grabbing a morsel right off your plate!  But what counts is the sunshine, the brilliant dockside setting and the wonderful food.  Thanks to Vivia’s great fare deals, we’ll be back!

COOKING SUGGESTION

Oysters Kilpatrick.

Per Person:
6 freshly opened oysters
2 rashers of finely chopped lean bacon
1 scant teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
Sprig of Parsley

Loosen the oysters from the bottom shell and sprinkle them with chopped bacon.  Splash over the Worcestershire sauce and grill under a hot grill until the bacon starts to crisp, but not too long as you don’t want to overcook the oysters.  Garnish with parsley and serve with a glass of “Black Velvet” – Guinness and Champagne!

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