This Sunday at the crack of dawn we were out and about. A short drive through the uncharacteristically deserted lanes of the old city and then, turning the corner to Laxmi Road, we were in mayhem.Trucks line up on the side of the narrow roads , each spewing out blue, heavy duty crates, full to the brim with fish on ice. We follow the line of people, each with a bag under the arm) in a winding slushy tramp through a filthy street.The crowd goes from a trickle to a riot in the space of 200 yards and we can barely enter the gates where three wheelers, porters, vendors and buyers all jostle for space.
If we didnt know it before we know it now...the appropriateness of the term- fish market.
This teeming crowd, shouting, yelling, ankle deep in mud and slime, smells of the sea, of garbage and sweat ,all mingling in the excitement of making a large bargain before the sun rises.
This is the wholesale market for fish placed in the very heart of Pune, behind Alpana Cinema,at Dulya Maruti Chowk in Ganesh Peth, where shark and prawns, eels and bombli and a host of other fish lie gleaming in the early morning light .
This is where fishmongers from the rest of the city come to pick up their catch of the day to resell at substantial profit to seafood lovers all across town.Buyers for five star hotels and local restaurant alike.
We picked up two kilos of the very best large prawns after ascertaining the market price. It is at least 50% less than what I would pay at my local fishmonger.
Delighted with my haul I squeeze my way through the crowd in the general direction of the guys who clean and prepare your fish. They charge Rs 20 a kilo and its well worth it. Nobody there today and so I look forward to a morning of shelling and deveining prawns . Hmm...not so wonderful.
But the end result ,Kerala prawn curry with freshly ground pepper and just squeezed coconut milk, piled on plates and polished off by our guests was well worth it . Wonderfully fresh with a bite and sooo much better than the tasteless stuff that sells as "Prawns" in our fanciest supermarket's frozen food section !