Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mercado Central in Chile: Fish Heads

Visting the Mercado Central in Santiago, Chile brought back visions of the International Boston Seafood Show, at there was so much fresh seafood displayed at the market.  And lots of fish heads!

The market contains dozens of stalls selling a diverse selection of local seafood, as well as booths selling produce, souvenirs, wines, and more.  It is worth a stop to check out the market, though the strong fishy odor in parts of the market might turn off some people.  It can also seem like a bit of a maze, as you wander down narrower side aisles.  I picked up some merken, a Chilean spice, and some Yerba Mate, herbs used to make a tea-like hot drink. I'll be talking more about those items in the near future.       

You'll also find numerous restaurants, many specializing in seafood, with assertive individuals trying to get you to dine at their restaurant.  Walk twenty feet through the market and it will seem as if a dozen people try to harangue you to dine at their place.  To avoid that, just keeping looking at all the displayed seafood, making eye contact only with the fish. Yes, that might be unnerving but would you rather deal with the hordes trying to get you to sit in their restaurant?

Sea urchins, with that tender, salty roe within them.

Barnacles may not seem like a tasty seafood, but they are related to crabs and lobster, and actually do have a good taste. It all depends on the method of preparation. These are the Picoroco Barnacles, a species of giant barnacle found off the shores of Chile.

These Conger Eels are very popular in Chile, and we were told repeatedly that they were not really eels. But later research seems to indicate they actually are a type of eel.  Maybe more people eat Conger if they think it is merely a different type of fish, and not an eel.  Try fried conger or conger eel soup.

Just some random fish shots, none of which look too happy to be there.

And I'll leave you with a photo of actual Fish Heads! 

"Fish heads fish heads
Roly poly fish heads
fish heads fish heads
eat them up, yum!"
--Barnes & Barnes

1 comment:

JacquelineC said...

Love it! Chile has fun w/food and all that coastline means lots of seafood. But, also a real love for other proteins. I remember "Chancha con Chaleco" a sign that just cracked me up, a pig in a sweater. Go figger.