From Morton Bay Bugs to Nile Perch, few places offer more local discovery than Abu Dhabi’s legendary Mina Port Fish Market.
From the hustle and bustle of vendors to the variety of seafood on display, a visit to a local market is one of the best ways to immerse oneself in the pulse of a new city. The Mina Port Fish Market is one of the remaining historic areas of Abu Dhabi, and it’s one of the few places where the daily lives of workers, Emiratis and travellers converge.
The Mina Port Fish Market has three main areas. There is an area for buying fish, for cleaning fish and for cooking fish. The fish market is a cacophony of sounds with sellers beckoning you to their artfully arranged mounds of seafood. Many tourists take a brief tour of the market, a couple of snapshots and move on, but this is such a lost opportunity. Instead, you
must also take the time to eat.
With such a selection, it may be hard to decide what fish to buy. The large prawns and local white fish are an affordable entry point into eating at this market. Your seafood selection is weighed, bagged and paid for, and then visitors bring it to another area to be cleaned and grilled with spices. After about 30 minutes, it is wrapped in foil and ready to go accompanied by a tasty tahini-based dipping sauce.
Yalla suggests that you take a walk to the Corniche and eat on the beach or find a bench along the back of the building by the water where traditional dhow boats are on view. Open your divinely fresh fish, lather it with sauce, and you’ll be in on a real, and often missed, local treat!
Take Your Fish to Sayyad Marine
After you buy your fish, bypass the restaurants and take your fresh fish to a hidden gem with a bit more ambiance: Al Sayyad. The restaurant is about five doors down from the Fish Market. It’s not fancy, but they will cook your seafood well. Located right next to the dhows that fish early every morning, you will be guaranteed the freshest catch at this spot.
Al Sayyad Marine Restaurants and Grills, +971 2 673 3711
✓ Arrive early. Most shops shut after lunchtime.
✓ Walk from the Corniche or take a short taxi ride there.
✓ The grill stations get busy so plan for a short wait.
Published on April 2018