One of the biggest adjustments anyone makes when taking up residency in a new country like the UK is to find the foods that one is used to and most importantly where to get these foods from and when. One of these is fish. The kinds of fish I like in London are really what tastes good to me. Different people of course have different tastes so what I like may not necessary be what you like. For me the simple starting point was fish and chips, mostly cod. I developed the taste for it when I lived in Central London and visited my favourite fish and chips shop, ‘The Laughing Halibut’.
Over the years I’ve come to enjoy fresh mackeral which is small in size than the ones I’m used to in PNG and I prefer it barbequed or grilled so the bones are easy to remove. It is quite bony so consume with care. I also include smoked mackeral on my shopping list as a handy addition to a healthy salad with balsamic vinegar, a dollop of mayonaise and a sprinkling of Tabasco sauce. Sometimes I add it to my otherwise vegetarian risotto dish. The smoked mackeral is vacuum-packed. I also like smoked salmon flakes which also finds its way into my lunch sandwiches or salads (for any season).
The last time I saw a great big cutlet of mackeral was in a Sri Lankan restaurant near Victoria Station in the city. I was pleasantly surprised and gobbled it down with some other sumptuous morsels. It took me back to those really big cutlets at Foodworld in Gordons, Port Moresby. When I was shopping for fish in my early days here I was expecting big round cutlets but was quite disappointed. Anyway, a few years on I find it is a great fish, size notwithstanding. I also find tuna and enjoy it more as fish teriyaki but rarely. For this I ensure that I have lots of soy sauce and periperi (spicy mix of herbs and chilli) handy.
Living here in the UK, I’ve had to adapt to other kinds of fresh fish as I wanted to maintain a healthy life. Being an islander myself there is no way I could live here without fish as a main part of my diet! Nowadays, I buy bream, sea bass, Dover sole, salmon, trout, haddock, plaice and cod. I use some of these white fish mainly in fish curries but barbequed and grilled most of the time. I sometimes fry the fish but mostly enjoy fish grilled. You can find most of these fish in restaurants and the likely ones I frequent are Chinese restaurants or designated fish restaurants like Loch Fyne (enjoyed the one in Covent Garden, London and in Chelmsford, Essex). Unfortunately, I’ve yet to find barramandi and travelly here but perhaps I am not shopping at the right places. One of these days I need to visit Billingsgate – a big fish market perhaps they may have travelly or who knows I may just find some barramandi. A couple of my former colleagues make Billingsgate a major stop in their monthly shopping forays into London.
So what can I say, I find fresh fish in supermarkets, fish stalls and in the big markets – the sort of places one would go to to look for fresh fish. I love fish in my diet and to find fresh fish in this city and to enjoy it is a big step towards enjoying life in London.
At least I can say, fresh fish is no longer a dream because now I can find fresh fish anytime, anywhere. If you are a fresh fish lover, I hope that you too will find your favourie fish anytime wherever you are.