EWS Field Trip: Tongchuan Lu Fish Market

The first thing I want to say about this fish market is that it really did not smell.  At all. 


And, it was really cool.  Basically, this is Shanghai’s aquarium and ground zero for all things submarine.  There are hundreds of stalls of fish mongers selling everything from imported Norweigan salmon to beautiful, fat scallops to abalone to grouper to those creepy looking sea cucumbers to giant (and teeny tiny) prawns and some tasty looking lobster.  Frogs, turtles and eels also abound.



But, since this is Eat Well Shanghai, lets talk health here.  Why do we love fish?  Because it is a low-fat source of protein and are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids that help protect your heart and boost brain development.  What do we not love about fish?  Mercury and other environmental contaminents that in large quantities can lead to birth defects and according to the US EPA, “impairment of the peripheral vision; disturbances in sensations (“pins and needles” feelings, usually in the hands, feet, and around the mouth); lack of coordination of movements; impairment of speech, hearing, walking; and muscle weakness.”  Yeash.  Sounds like happy hour gone bad. 



So, how do you get the health benefits of fish, but avoid the bad stuff.   Avoid large, bottom-feeder fish such as swordfish, grouper, tuna and tilefish are most likely to contain mercury since they eat so many smaller fish.   Shrimp, squid, sea cucumber, crab, clams and oysters are good bets but try to find out where they are coming from, and of course, how fresh they are.  If the color or smell is off, don’t buy it.  If they look pretty alive and kicking, thats a good sign.  Another good tip is to eat a wide variety of fish from a variety of vendors, thus spreading out whatever contaminents you may be eating.  Oh, and negotiate.  Hard.


So, check out the market, grab something new and make some new friends, like me!  Its located at Tongchuan Lu, near Caoyang Lu, Putuo District.