Today we are taking another look at the colourful fish market in the heart of the Mediterranean Turkish port of FETHIYE, the town that offers fish lovers a wide selection of culinary delights.

In this, the third and final part of our series, we will help you identify the names of some of the most popular regional varieties, so you can make some different choices, prepare them to perfection and eat it the way the locals do.

Wondering what fish to eat?
Wondering what fish to eat?

A fish feast for lunch or dinner is, for many people, an integral part of any visit to Fethiye but not everyone is aware of the wonderful local varieties on offer, most of which are caught by small-scale fishermen along the Muğla coast.

Fresh and full of flavour

If you’ve ever wondered about the fish on display but with Turkish names you don’t recognise, here are some of the delicious local varieties you can enjoy at this time of year from Fethiye’s fish market.

Fresh and full of the flavour of the sea, these fish are simple to cook and totally delicious.

Sea bass or sea bream are the two varieties of fish the usually spring to mind when thinking about what to buy from Fethiye’s fish market but there are also some delicious local varieties of fish with Turkish names of which foreign visitors to the market will probably not have heard.

Season – January to April

In this article, we would like to introduce you to the ones on sale at this time of year, if you haven’t tried them before, and if you have, to remind you of how tasty and simple to cook, they are.

Don’t forget that the fishmongers will prepare them for you at no extra cost and of course, if you don’t want to cook them at home you a can always ask one of the restaurants that surround the fish stalls, to cook them for you!

How to eat – We use our fingers and have a water bowl and large napkin… but it’s really up to you.

Barbunya

Red mullet, this is a big favourite with fish lovers, particularly when pan-fried.

Barbunya
Barbunya

 Mercan

Mercan - red sea bream
Mercan – red sea bream

 A delicately flavored fish, red sea bream is very tasty when cooked in the same way and barbunya or it’s relative, sea bream.

 Kefal

Kefal (at the top of the picture)
Yellow eared kefal (at the top of the picture)

 Grey mullet in English, kefal is a vastly underrated fish. Kefal is meaty, tasty and very economical. Try them grilled or pan-fried.

 Sokarca

Sokarca
Sokarca

Last but not least, this species is actually an alien to Turkish waters; it is thought to have come through the Suez Canal and is held partly responsible for devastating the marine environment for many local species. You are really doing Turkey’s fisherman and Mediterranean a favour by eating as many as possible of the pesky creatures. Although their strong flavour is not to everyone’s taste they can be fried and served with Turkey’s condiment of choice, nar ekşisi (fermented pomegranate juice).

Bon apetit or, as we say here, Afiyet olsun!

For part one click here, and part two, here.

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