Fish Market visit with Chef Paul Lewis of Le Meridien Bali Jimbaran

I try to visit the local market in every state or country that I go to. Many people may not understand it, but I think wet markets and grocery stores/supermarkets are a fabulous way to experience the culture as well as to acquire better understanding of the locals’ way of life, plus not to mention the dietary habits of a state/country.

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Besides, I have a fascinating obsession with fresh produce.  😀
This is the popular Mahi-Mahi fish by the way, that has a mild sweet flesh that can be eaten raw (sashimi style) or grilled, baked or pan-fried.

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For Kathmandu and Shanghai I didn’t manage to visit any markets as both were media trips and we didn’t have time for marketing. In Japan, I spent hours strolling Tsukiji market and I loved it. Fortunately for my Bali trip, Chef Paul of Le Meridien Bali Jimbaran took me on his bike, helmet-less to one of the fish market in Jimbaran!

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Traveling in Bali is best done on 2 wheels. The traffic is bad at most times but traffic is never a deterrent for those on 2 wheels! 🙂

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We whizzed past rows of shoplots and food outlets and homes. The locals smiled as we rode past. Everyone looked friendly but sun-browned! The weather is hot and humid even though it was 10am in the morning. I thanked heavens for the motorbike!

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After numerous narrow alleys and lanes, we finally reached the market. Appropriately enough, it’s located right beside the sea. Stench of ocean life wafted around us.

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The sea is so blue and the sand so fine. It’s so beautiful!

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This is a panaroma shot of the beach with Chef Paul. I love this shot. What do you think? 🙂

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Chef Paul lead the way into the small but busy fish market. Inside, stall after stall displays rows and rows of shellfish, fishes, squids, lobsters, prawns and sea creatures!

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Some of the fishes were easily identifiable while some were new to me.
And that’s one of the reasons why I love wet markets! I get to learn about new species of sea creatures and if you ask nicely, the vendors are usually more than happy to part with some recipes on the best ways to prepare that particular fish/seafood.

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All fresh seafood at the market were caught using these boats and from around the sea from Jimbaran. It’s amazing how the fishermen catch such big fishes, squids and lobsters and in such large quantity using these simple boats isn’t it?
In fact, a number of them goes out to sea for days. Chef Paul told me that some of these seafood are exported and sent to various locations around Bali.

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Some of you may be squeamish to see a fish being cut up but not me. I actually find it fascinating. 🙂

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And oh, this rather interesting contraption is actually the weighing scale used in this market.

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The vendor will put the selected fish on top of the scale (the bowl) and shift the weights (bottle-looking things) on the scale on the other end. Then he informs you of the weight and price to pay. So medieval isn’t it?

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After exploring the market, both of us went down to the beach and watched as the fishermen go about their work. Chef Paul said if I were to come here early in the morning, I would be able to see them coming back from the sea with their catch.
In fact, once they land, there would already be some buyers waiting to snap up the best and freshest seafood for the day.

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We stood and admired the beautiful beach for a while. Blue skies, blue sea and soft sand… it would have been wonderful to hang around the beach for a while longer if it wasn’t so blazing hot!

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Chef Paul is a firm believer of using local produce as much as possible in his cooking and his menu at Bamboo Chic reflects his creative approach to food. He has cleverly infuses local ingredients in some of his dishes while picking up some local recipes since he started his stint in Le Meridien Bali Jimbaran. More of his food will be in another post.
Meanwhile get to know him better by watching this video. See him mingle and source for produce at the local market and organic farm. I was literally salivating as I watch him barbeque seafood at the beach!

Travel Bali: Taste of Discovery with Le Meridien Bali Jimbaran

Talking about BBQ, as we walked towards Chef’s bike, I saw a stall barbecuing fresh seafood. Chef Paul said these fellows cook your seafood for a fee and all you have to do is buy your seafood from the market.

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These clams smelled really good!

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There were fresh coconuts for sale at the entrance to the market; fabulous for the sweltering heat.

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And then it’s time to head home!

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Enroute back to the hotel, we passed another market which sells vegetables and meat. Chef Paul asked if I would like to have a look as well and I would have if it wasn’t for the scorching heat. Perhaps next time!

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Thanks Chef Paul for your time and the ride! :DD
Now, how many of you are like me, loving to tour the local market when you’re in another country?