I grew up in Singapore where weekend mornings are spent in a wet market while mum seeks out the best produce, seafood and meats. (side note: Singaporeans call grocery shopping – “marketing”. Or maybe it’s just my family. Weird).
When we moved to Vancouver in 1989, we were introduced to the Hollywood of Grocery Shopping – the neighbourhood Safeway and Save-On Foods. Glitz, glamour, coin-operated carts, and bins and bins of nuts.
However, over the last few years, I’ve started to realize that you really compromise on the selection of produce and freshness by shopping at big-box. You can hardly find any locally produced fruits and vegetables – which means your off-season unripe produce is being shipped, railed and trucked in from Guatemala or somewhere super-remote.
By no means am I a total snob when it comes to shopping at big-box. After all, I still need to get TP and pit-stick. I just try when I can to seek out BC-made stuff and I will go a little further out of my way to get fresh fish or meat.
As you may have already noticed in my recipe or restaurant blogs, I love seafood. So, I thought I’d give some props to the local fishmonger I visit in Kits. Seven Seas Fish Market on 4th avenue is ironically located directed across from Safeway. They’re super friendly and will answer almost all my stupid questions.
One of my favorite things to do (which you can’t do at Safeway) is to get a sampling of seafood, e.g., a small fillet of fish, bunch of clams and mussels, a few jumbo prawns and some squid or scallops. Finely cut up ginger, red chillies, lemon juice and either steam, bbq or pan-sear on the stove. You can make yourself an awesome meal for one for $6 – $7, or get enough for a dinner date for under $10.
So the next time you feel fishy, check out Seven Seas. If you have your own local shop you visit, or have any rants about big-box grocery, I would love to hear about your experiences.
Seven Seas Fish Market
2328 4th Avenue West
Vancouver, BC V6K 1P1