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Apr 24, 2012 01:18 PM

best place to buy fish in NoVa

Where is the best place to buy fresh fish in the NoVa area? Is there a good fish market or a store that has a good reputation? I am near Chantilly/Centreville but am open to ideas in the general area.

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  1. Any large Asian market like Lotte, Super H, Grand Mart. I'm sure there is a Lotte in Chantilly.

    1. The H-mart at 13818 Braddock Rd, Centreville, VA 20121 will probably impress you with its selection and pricing. However, if you are concerned about knowing exactly where your fish was caught, which is often a factor if you are trying to buy only sustainable seafood, you might be better off at your closest Wegmans or Whole Foods.

      The one thing I'd be careful about buying at H-Mart is mussels. If they are still carrying the Mar brand, I have found that producer to be far inferior to Great American Mussel or the PEI offerings.

      1 Reply
      1. re: PollyG

        Generally if you stick to smaller fish that quickly reproduce you should be okay in the sustainable seafood dept. Whole Foods recently had to revise their own list of sustainable seafood

      2. If you care about where you fish comes from I would second Wegman's. They clearly label the sourcing of their stock.

        The have a big seafood counter with lots of options, including prepared (and partially prepared) items.

        If you want to stock you freezer - their store brand "Food You Feel Good About" gives you some excellent options as well.

        1. The Asian markets mentioned don't give country of origin on their labels (I thought that was the law).
          Wegman 's does not store its fish on ice.

          I hope someone comes up with a good resource.

          11 Replies
          1. re: happenings

            At some point all fish has been stored on ice

            1. re: happenings

              The only thing I miss about living in Richmond is Bon Air Seafood. I thought when we moved here, we'd have something similar, if not more choices, but thus far I have been pretty disappointed. Granted, I haven't even looked at some of the markets mentioned above, but judging by the comments in this and other threads, I'm pretty sure I won't like them- for fish. When it comes to buying fish, it needs to be fresh, it has to LOOK fresh to me, and the place has to be pristine. I don't mind eating food from a hole-in-the-wall, but fish is a whole different ballgame for me.

              Having said that, The Organic Butcher of McLean usually has a couple decent fish choices. A couple. My friend bought a whole rockfish there for a dinner party awhile back, and it was delicious. It's not cheap, of course.

              1. re: VaPaula

                Lol - There is really nothing pristine about a fish vessels or fishing in general its a nasty, dirty and smelly.

                1. re: agarnett100

                  Agreed - and I'd be happy to take one off a fisherman's hands in those conditions - at least I'd know it was fresh, which I can't say for a store, pristine or not.

                  1. re: VaPaula

                    I stayed on Kanawa island off of Flores in Indo years ago and the local fishermen would beach their boat off the side of the beach and let us look in the live well and we could bargain with the fisherman for the price of the still swimming fish and then he would hold it up for a couple seconds so the 'chef' could see it and then we would bargain with the chef to see how much he would charge to cook a fish we bought and brought to him. The crazy thing was, the yellowfin tuna we ate cost around $3 to pay the fisherman and about $4 to pay the chef and it fed 6 of us. And the fisherman looked like he thought he had taken us, so he must have expected less if he took it to Labuhan Bajo and sold it at market.
                    A living fish, as fresh as fresh can be, nearly 3 feet long, prepared by a decent chef/cook, and it cost around $7.
                    Of course this was in '98.
                    I have the picture of us at the table somewhere, I will have to find it.

                    1. re: Ziv

                      The only thing better is catching it and cooking it yourself. Below fresh caught rainbow trout

                      1. re: agarnett100

                        Ziv, you've just described a fantasy of mine. :-) That sounds amazing.

                        And that rainbow trout is so pretty, agarnett100.

                    2. re: VaPaula

                      The large asian markets also sell live fish which I am pretty sure have never been on ice. I've had only good experiences with them.

                      1. re: tcamp

                        The live fish that you see in store tanks are an illusion of quality. Most of the offerings are fresh water pen raised farmed fsh, where there are few regulations on water conditions and use of hormones.

                        The water quality in store tanks usually test high in amonia, nitrares etc, and are often treated with meds and chemicals to keep the fish alive.

                        When we visit our daughter in Arlington, we visit the Seafood Market under the I95 bridge just inside DC.

                        1. re: apschwaber

                          And yet, years ago, I asked a staffer on one of the boats if the shrimp were fresh. He replied "yes" even as, just behind him, I noticed another worker using a hose to thaw out another frozen block of shrimp.

                          1. re: wayne keyser

                            Once the shrimp are caught they freeze them on the boat . The only way your going to get fresh live shrimp is to go on a shrimp boat or visit a shrimp farm