Since we were a little unsure of the street fish vendors here in Accra, we decided to go to the source. We made the 30 minute trip to a fish market in a nearby port city (Tema) with friends. The expats from the U.S. Embassy go here and one of them was our guide.
We really enjoy markets and bartering for things, so this was very fun (especially for Gregg)! We took a camera and a cooler with ice to bring our prizes home. The trick of the matter is knowing how to determine if the fish is fresh:
- Look for bright, clear eyes. The eyes are the window to a truly fresh fish, as they fade quickly into gray dullness. Dull-eyed fish may be safe to eat, but they are past their prime.
- Next look at the fish. Does it shine? Does It look metallic and clean? Has it dulled or does it have discolored patches on it? If so, It is marginal.
- Smell it. A fresh fish should smell like clean water, or a touch briny or even like cucumbers. Under no circumstance should you buy a nasty smelling fish. Cooking won't improve it!
- Look at the gills. They should be a rich red. If the fish is old, they will turn the color of faded brick
They offered us the fish heads and tails from our purchase, but we passed. Next time we will bring them back for the security guards or our Ghanaian friends that like to make fish head soup (very popular here).
We already have a shopping list for our next trip: tuna, swordfish and more lobsters!