Our first trip to the completely-awesome Fethiye fish market

When we asked Scout how she wanted to celebrate her recent NaNoWriMo triumph (10,000 words in 30 days—way to go, hon), my girl didn’t hesitate. Her request? A meal at the Fethiye fish market, please!

Our friends at Turkeys for Life introduced us to the market on a recent stroll through town. It blew us away, and we’d been meaning to get down there ever since.

Here’s how it works.

Fishmongers (why does that word make me giggle?) share a central space in the market area, while restaurants with outdoor tables ring the perimeter. You select and buy your fresh-caught fish from one of the vendors and then bring it on over to one of the restaurants. For 6 TL (about $3) per person, they cook your fish and provide fixings for dinner—salad, toasted bread, and lemon/garlic sauce.

I’ll admit, as first-timers the process was daunting.

First of all, the selection of fresh-caught, glistening fish is completely overhwhelming. Tuna, sea bass, six-inch prawns, calamari, anchovies, sardines, mahi mahi, barracuda, and sea bream (a lovely fish I first had here in Turkey), along with other species I didn’t even recognize.

The vendors, often with identical selections and prices, all vied for our business, calling out to us as we passed, urging us to stop and buy. If one of us stopped to inspect a particular fish, the guy selling it would pounce, a ready-to-be-filled plastic bag open in his hand. I’d feel bad if we didn’t buy anything, so obviously I need to practice ignoring people or just saying no.

Scout and I had to take several slow laps around the entire market just to get a decent overview. After a lot of hemming and hawing, I finally zeroed in on a beautiful foot-long tuna for 7 TL ($3.50). Scout liked the sardines, so we got half a kilo of those for 3 TL. That was plenty for the three of us, so off we went for our meal.

The restaurants all look and charge alike, and they all have barkers out front, so we just picked the lady we liked best. (Our meal was fine, but next time we’ll try one of the other places that had offered to serve Scout for free. This place charged for her meal.)

The hostess took our bag of fish, suggested we grill the tuna and fry the sardines (fine), and then took drink orders (two bottles of Efes, a bottle of water and a chocolate milkshake). Within a few minutes, our lovely meal appeared. Both the tuna and the sardines were divine.

Scout’s got no problem chomping down sardines, bones and all, but the fish in this particular batch were too big. So instead she nibbled around each skeleton with surgical precision. (Remember Tom Hanks and the baby corn in Big? Yeah, it was like that.) It took her 45 minutes to get through about a third of the plate.

Everything was delicious, and we will definitely go back.

Next time I’m heading straight for the calamari or some of those large prawns. And I’m going get some of the mezes as well (stuffed vine leaves are my favorites!). At 10 TL for the fish and 37 TL for the restaurant (about twenty bucks altogether), this was a fairly affordable feast and a refreshing change from North America, where fresh seafood is so often a luxury item.

As if we needed another reason to love Turkey!

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jenn December 5, 2011 at 6:15 pm

My mouth was just watering reading your post. We loved the fish market there! Our favourite was the salmon and the giant prawns…so delicious!! So glad you’re there for the winter to enjoy the fresh fish. Cheers!


2 Renee December 6, 2011 at 7:15 am

Isn’t it great? I’ve been dreaming about those prawns for a week now. Guess it’s time to go back.


3 Kirk December 6, 2011 at 1:27 am

Sounds great – especially the sardines. Looks like you guys are still having a blast! Michelle and Zoe say hello…


4 Renee December 6, 2011 at 7:45 am

Hi, Kirk! Yes, those sardines were great. Too bad the kiddo was freaked out by the bones this time round, poor poppet. I’ll steer her (as much as anyone can actually steer Scout!) to the calamari next time.

Yes, we’re still having the time of our lives. No big surprise, I’m sure. 😉 How are things in Vancouver. Did you guys get snow?

Give our best right back to the ladies.


5 Mark December 7, 2011 at 9:58 am

Kirk, can you believe Scout cleaned that little fish bone so thoroughly?


6 George M. December 6, 2011 at 7:21 am

What a fantastic idea! You buy the fish, and pick a restaurant to cook it for you. I like it! The meal looks great in the photo. Go back soon, so we can hear about the prawns and calamari.


7 Renee December 6, 2011 at 7:47 am

Yes, it’s brilliant, isn’t it? We’re happy to head back soon so you can have a prawn/calamari report. 🙂


8 Alan December 6, 2011 at 3:51 pm

. . king prawns cooked in garlic – fantastic and our favorite when in Fethiye. Missed you at the Christmas Fair; would have loved to say ‘Hi!’


9 Renee December 7, 2011 at 9:58 am

Yes, we had our eyes open for familiar faces at the Christmas fair, but it was quite a crush. Where were you? Strolling or manning a booth? You weren’t Santa were you? 😉


10 Turkey's For Life December 7, 2011 at 8:30 am

Well you were warned about the tendrils of Fethiye slowly tightening their grip and not allowing you to leave. 😉

I don’t know what impressed me more with Scout; completing the writing task (yeahy, well done!) or getting such a clean backbone from a little sardine! Mmmm, you’ve just made me crave some king prawns in chilli and garlic oil. My favourite.



11 Mark December 7, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Oooo! King prawns in chilli and garlic oil. When shall we go back? The hell with my cholesterol! We just might have to come back to Fethiye once our European saga is finished. I want to know what all the seasons are like.


12 Christy @ Technosyncratic December 9, 2011 at 7:16 am

Congrats to Scout for tackling (and completing!) NaNoWriMo! This fish market meal sounds fascinating; Kali and I rarely eat fish (so I imagine I’d find the whole thing ridiculously overwhelming), but it seems like a great place to experiment with different kinds of seafood.


13 wandering educators March 6, 2013 at 4:58 pm

yum, yum, yum.


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