Really, really, fresh "trash" fish in Oakland Chinatown Farmers Market
If you can brave the old Chinese ladies (seriously, much tougher than they look), there's a booth at the corner of 8th and Washington where they sell their daily "off" catch. The lady tells me everything was caught earlier that morning. EVERYTHING I have purchased there is amazingly fresh, (i.e. still in rigor, the "really fresh fish slime", red gills, bright, shimmery, metallic skin)
Warning: these are whole fish, not cleaned (they don't clean for you), so there is a fair amount of labor associated with purchase.
The selection varies based on the season, but last week they had
Sardines ($3/lb or $5/3lb)
In the past I've also seen:
Black cod heads ($1.5/lb)
Funny, if you ask her how to cook certain fish I guarantee she'll say "fry it" or "make soup" every single time.
I've gotten some of the best fish ever from here. Last time I made a seafood scampi (treasures of the sea!) that came out much better than I had expected (was kind of winging it). The sardines are delicious.
The older ladies and I get along well--last week one of them split a bundle of cilantro with me. I think they can sense a fellow cheapskate.
I prefer this market to any other--especially Grand Lake. That one is closest for me, but I avoid the entire stroller-saturated area on Saturdays.