Fish Tales Olhão

Floundering in Fish

Not sure we exactly flounder but there are certainly some days when you walk into the market and gulp at trying to decide what to have that evening. This is my 7th Fish Tale chapter, and the last fishy one before we return to Olhão.  I can’t wait to be overwhelmed again by the choice in the fish market. I still have a few fish left in my photo album but today, as it is a Saturday, I’m going to mostly focus on photographs of the market itself. It is not just the range of fish in Olhão that makes it amazing, but also the quality and the fact this is a daily fish market. Saturdays though are extra special as you also have the markets outside.

European Flounder - I think!
European Flounder – I think!

Before I share my fish market photos let’s start with a fish, and my first one of course has to be a Flounder. The Flounder is a flat fish, so both eyes are on the same side. Flounders such as the European Flounder are dextral, which means like soles the eyes are on the right hand side, occasionally though European Flounders can be sinistral so their eyes are on the left. I think this is the European Flounder, however the Portuguese also use the name Azevia for the Four-Eyed Sole so I could be wrong! Generally Flounders are best fried or poached, having said that though there is a view that Flounders of the Iberian waters are amongst the best to be had, and so you may see them grilled.

Wide-Eyed Flounder but might be a Scaldfish or even Spotted Flounder.
Wide-Eyed Flounder but might be a Scaldfish or even Spotted Flounder.

The only other Flounder photo I have taken is of a Carta. Again I am hesitant as to what we would call this one in English. According to my fish book a carta is the Wide-Eyed Flounder but unfortunately my photograph is not good enough for me to confirm this is the case. In the photograph it looks more like a Scaldfish to me.  When we return in just over two weeks I am simply going to have take more photographs!

Everyone seems to have their favourite market, and unsurprisingly many will tell you that their local town has the best market in the Algarve. However what makes Olhão’s fish market extraordinary is the fact it is daily and huge.  My photographs don’t really do it justice but I hope they give you a flavour.

One of the challenges we have discovered is that sometimes the names used in Olhão’s markets are either unique or not the ones our fish book uses which can make it challenging. The Licas are one such example.

Grey Mullet - the ones at bottom not the stripy ones!
Grey Mullet – the ones at bottom not the stripy ones above!

We could not work out what these were for ages as when you type Lica into Google you are told again and again it is a Leerfish. Well this is clearly not a Leerfish. Finally, thanks to discovering FishBase.Org it was identified as Grey Mullet. Not highly regarded because it can have a muddy taste, and occasionally might even be used as bait for larger fish such as tuna. Our guidebook advises that the Portuguese name is Tainha Olhalvo, quite different to Lica so no wonder we were struggling. Interesting though when I type that into Fishbase it comes up with nothing.

No idea! Can't find this name anywhere
No idea!

Before I go I want to leave you with a fish we are still floundering over. We have photographed it with its labels, but despite that have yet to determine its English name. It could be another grey mullet, but the Thinlip one this time but we’re not really sure. It is cheap, only 2.5Euros per kg so either extremely common or not very highly regarded. The latter of course would support the theory it is a mullet.

If you recognise it do tell.

4 comments on “Floundering in Fish

  1. Olhão fish market is the best in Algarve, that’s for sure, and not only in variety but also in quality. I understand you get a little confused with all the variety of flounder fish because I feel the same, and I’m a native! So, unfortunately, I can’t help you with that. And when they are in the plate I don’t care too much whose specie they are 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. All seems a bit fishy to me. Wonder how the locals cook it? Enjoy your fish.

    Liked by 1 person

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