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El Mercado de Mariscos

You find yourself with a day or two to kill in Panama City and have no idea with direction to go. There is so much to see and you’re lacking direction! To wander Casco Viejo and take in the sighs, visit Avenida Central and do some shopping, walk the Cinta Costera towards the looming skyline or simply kick back and enjoy the cool breeze that blows in off the bay. One of my favorite places in Panama City is the fish market at the beginning of the Cinta Costera. “El Mercado de Mariscos” rests just down the ramp and around the curve from Luna’s Castle. Full of activity, culture and food what is there not to love? You can purchase everything from shrimp and octopus to tuna and sea bass. The season and migration of fish effect what is available but you can always get something tasty to cook up for dinner! You can get shrimp for about $4 a pound and when the season is right, you can get beautiful tuna for about $2 a pound! The largest and freshest selection in Panama City; be sure to snag yourself a tasty treat! Every vendor will tell you they have the freshest fish, caught that morning. But, how do you tell if your fish is fresh? The old wives tale about clean smelling fish is true! If it smells fishy, steer clear! However, in a giant building filled with fish it’s hard for it to not smell fishy! Make sure that the eyes of the fish are clear, not milky and that the flesh feels firm to the touch! Also, the earlier you get there the better. All the fish comes in before the sun rises! Most locals go between 4 and 7 am. Undoubtedly my favorite part of the fish market is the ceviche! You can buy a Styrofoam cup of fresh tangy fishy goodness for a buck or two depending on the variety. Most of the locals favor the Corvino (sea bass) but the shrimp and octopus are my favorite! I often eat my ceviche in the shade of the tree in front of Luna’s, with corn chips and a cold Squirt! Upstairs from the fish market is a hidden gem of a restaurant! You can purchase your fish downstairs at the market and have them cook it for you. They will prepare the fish anyway you like; I suggest buying Corvino and having them fry it whole. The service, food and prices are excellent! Be sure to bring your best Spanish skills to the market because none of the vendors speak English and many are quick the throw slang into the conversation!!


Monday, April 16th, 2012 Uncategorized