Fun and Fish in Hamburg

With a plethora of fresh seafood available, dining in Hamburg can be summed up in two words… “It’s fish!”

By Leah Larkin


If you like fish, Hamburg is the place. Turbot, cod, red fish, plaice (Steinbutt, Kabeljau, Rotbarsch, Scholle,) and more swim in the waters of the nearby North Sea and are found on many a dinner menu. The city even has a Fish Market, a rollicking, legendary early Sunday morning ritual.

Unfortunately fish are no longer the star at the Fischmarkt. On a recent visit, we found just one vendor auctioning off bargain packages of fish. In bygone days, there were many fish mongers who entertained the crowds, just as the jovial fellow we watched did.

After ripping a sheet of white butcher paper off a roll, then laying it across one arm, he shouted the names of fish in his display case: “Lachs, Aal, Heilbutt” (Salmon, eel, halibut). He held each critter high in a dramatic flourish for all to admire, slapped it down on the paper and made a package of several fish. Then he started the bidding, “30 euro, 20 euro…”, roaring like a carnival barker, cracking jokes and poking fun with the audience—all in hopes for a better price.

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