5am on a Saturday is not the best way to start the weekend but going to Billingsgate Fish Market is definitely a good enough reason.

It was a wee bit cold though, and dark. 🙁

Foot tunnel running over A1261, the boyfriend insisted we had to get the DLR one stop to Poplar instead of just walking from West India Quay. He did however concede that I was right and this was unnecessary.

The City of London’s site has some great information about the history of the fish market and its original location by London Bridge in central London.

The current building was opened in 1982 and “has 98 stands, 30 shops and 79 offices”, and is one of those odd bits of land run by the City of London Corporation even though it is in the middle of the borough of Tower Hamlets.

Prawns and sea bass from the Asian Fresh stall

I did ask before taking photos as photography at Billingsgate generally requires prior permission. We also bought our sea bass from this trader unlike some of the other snap happy tourists. Hmm.

We bought our huge crab from S&A Hart and our salmon trimmings from another trader who I can’t remember, darn it.

Our reward. The McDonald’s is conveniently situated next to the exit to the market

The boyfriend’s video of the crabs

Beautiful sunrise looking east, taken from the West India Quay DLR platform

£6 for 1.135kg of smoked salmon trimmings. OMG indeed

£10 for four sea bass, the de-scaling was done in the garden at the in-laws, it is so messy!

£24 for four huge crab, post boiling

I would thoroughly recommend a visit to Billingsgate, it is a wonderful place to go and the fish is so cheap. Be prepared to de-scale, gut and fillet your fish of course. You can buy prepared fish but that costs more money and defeats the point of going there in the first place. However, the prepared fish is still cheaper than anything you will find at a supermarket.

My favourite buy would have to be a whole salmon for £10. You need to de-scale, gut and fillet it but you will get up to fourteen fillets plus loads of bits for a really good salmon and leek pie.

If you buy sea bass this Gordon Ramsay recipe is my favourite.

As for our smoked salmon trimmings, I vote for smoked salmon and scrambled egg or cream cheese on bagels for breakfast.

Alternatively, lightly fry some cherry tomatoes in a little olive oil with some balsamic vinegar thrown in at the end. Serve with rocket and smoked salmon with some lemon juice and black pepper mixed in together (credit to the boyfriend for this lovely dish).

But because we have 1.135kg of smoked salmon we can do both, twice. 😀

The market is open from 5am to 8.30am Tuesday to Saturday, and we got up at 5am to get the first DLR from Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich at 5.30am. I would get there by about 6am as the market gets really busy by then and you don’t want to miss out on the good stuff. The market has plenty of parking if you come by car, and of course you can get there earlier if you don’t mind getting a bus.

Be prepared to smell a bit of fish when you get home but that is all part of the fun!