Riyadh Fish Market
Trip Start Dec 31, 2009
3Trip End Ongoing
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The fish market is near Dirah and it pays to get there early in the day.
The Riyadh Fish Market is not large, but it does get busy. As Riyadh is in the middle of the desert the fish is brought in from other areas. Outside the market are numerous trucks with Jeddah emblazoned on the sides.
How fresh is the fish. Well, it's hard to get a definitive response. Language issues mean we are told 'It is fresh'. But that could just mean fresh off the truck! Though hubby's fail safe fresh fish detection method - he looks at the eyes to make sure they aren't dried out - has found us sizable red snapper that were lovely to eat
The Riyadh market is swarming with fish merchants, all men mostly from Bangladesh and Egypt. Any westerners at the markets are pounced upon so they can put the price up. Haggling is acceptable but when we compare the prices here to those at home, fish in Saudi Arabia is not expensive.
There's quite a range of fish and a lot of it we didn't recognise. Most of the fish merchants don't speak or have very limited English so determining what a fish may be called is difficult. Most presume you are asking 'How much is this fish?' so respond with price per kilo.
If we ask "Is this Hamour?" we are told 'Yes', even if we point to completely different looking fish.
We discovered a fish that looked like Tuna. "Is this Tuna?" we ask. 'Yes, tuna'. We aren't sure, but buy the fish anyway. It turns out it's Bonito. In New Zealand we use Bonito for Bait. The fish merchants weren't lying, Bonito is a type of tuna, just not the type we were hoping for.
We eventually found Abdule, from Egypt, who speaks sufficient English so we understand each other.
All fish are whole so once you've decided which one you want you can have it cleaned and filleted for a few extra riyals. They'll also give you back the head and bones if you ask for them.
Adbule made sure to put ice in the bags with our fish for your trip home. It is amazing how quickly the temperatures rise in Riyadh.
Our daughter came for trip to the market once. It took a little encouraging to get her over the drain surrounding the market though, as we promised, once in the shade of the market proper, the smell is greatly diminished. It did not help that while in the Riyadh Fish Market a young man with increased sensitivity threw up on the floor nearby.