Shopping in Chinatown: Fish

Manhattan's Chinatown is a great food source. Especially for fish.

Shopping in Chinatown: Fish

Manhattan's Chinatown is a great food source. Especially for fish.

To the uninitiated, food shopping in Chinatown can be intimidating.  But after just a few visits and getting acquainted with some of its quality fish and produce stores, this neighborhood can be a rich and value-packed resource.

Don't think of Chinatown as a place only for Asian ingredients, although it's certainly the place to find both familiar and exotic foods for Chinese, Thai and other Asian dishes.  But you can equally buy beautiful fish and shellfish here and cook it in the Greek manner, with just a little olive oil and fresh oregano.  While Chinatown is, in many ways, a closed community, it is also welcoming to city cooks looking for both quality and great prices.  After all, business is business.

The best way to start is by taking the subway to Canal Street and walk to where Canal, Baxter and Walker Streets intersect.  There's a tourist kiosk there where you can pick up a map of Chinatown.  The neighborhood has hundreds of fish markets, produce stands, Chinese butchers, and pan-Asian grocers and all merit a visit.  Wander the streets, enter the markets, engage the fish guys, and look.  Much of Chinatown's commerce takes place on the street and sidewalk.  Local knowledge advises not to buy produce or other food from sidewalk vendors only because you can't be sure how it's been kept and handled.  But you'll see that many established and good quality markets spill out from their storefronts into the streets.  It's how it's done there.

Using the same criteria for good, fresh food as you would for any market anywhere, here are some tips:

 

Chinatown Fish Markets

 

These are just a few from one section of this sprawling neighborhood and we hope it inspires you to explore others on your own.

And if you find fish, meat or produce markets in Chinatown that you love, please let us know so we can share the information with all our readers.

 

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Fish & ShellfishChineseAsian

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