Shopping for deep sea fish in Cotonou
Last week, I decided that I absolutely needed a hunk of fresh tuna. Never mind that I had no idea how to go about buying tuna. I had to have it. In Cotonou, salt water fish are bought fresh off the boat at the Port of Cotonou. Chaos reigns as fishermen and fish mongers negotiate prices and quantities. There’s never enough fish for all of the fish mongers to get their share, and the women get vicious. Once the women have their fish, they happily make their way to their stands, basins tottering precariously on their heads.
Yesterday, there was no tuna to be found. None had been brought in Sunday and frozen, and while there were still boats at see when I went to the market, the fish mongers didn’t expect to see any until later in the week. No problem. Now that I was at the fish market and had seen the fish debark from the boat, I was happy to settle for something else.
Bertrand and I went searching for good looking fish. Although we were hoping for some red carp, we were eventually convinced to buy Dorade. I only wanted one (they’re big!), but Bertrand wanted two. And since they’re sold in kilogram units, we bought three to bring the weight up to 2 kilos. 5 000 F CFA ($10!) for 2 kg of fish is a pretty good deal.
After paying for the fish, there are young women who are happy to scale and clean the fish for a hundred francs a kilo. Like all the women at the market, she was unwilling to have her picture taken. Next time, maybe. :)
Once home, I got online. What’s a dorade, and how do you cook one? Turns out, dorade is the French word for Mahi Mahi! We’d unknowingly brought home three enormous mahi mahis, something I definitely know how to cook.