Have you ever heard of the remarkable fish market in Bali?
You have come to the right place! This article will teach you all you need to know about visiting the local fish market in Bali, exactly in Kedonganan, near the area of Jimbaran. This market is somewhat of a hidden gem and is often mostly visited by locals. Now we are not talking about the well-advertised touristy sunset beach restaurants of Jimbaran Bay. We are talking about a visit to the actual market, directly where the live catches of the day are bought in from the ocean shores.
The Kedonganan fish market is amongst beautiful blue water and colourful fisherman boats. The market is very local and doesn’t look like much from the outside – but once you enter there is an ocean (pun intended) of beautiful, delicious and fresh seafood for you to discover. The selection of seafood varies from colourful fish like red snapper and napoleon, to delicious tuna and salmon, beautifully coloured lobsters and crabs, many different kinds of shrimps, fresh Lombok oysters, calamari and octopus and much more!
First step: Make your purchases
Head into the market, start perusing and asking prices and make your seafood purchases. It can be hard to choose as there is so much deliciousness on offer. If you’re in a group we recommend making these purchases together and you can have them served “family sharing” style and get to try more things!
Second step: Take them to a nearby warung to have them cooked up!
After you have purchased all of your delicious seafood, there are a great number of small restaurants (known as warungs) that you can take your seafood to, to have it all cooked up and served to you. These restaurants are ready to prepare your food for you in whatever way you like for a very small price. They charge per kilo of seafood that you want to be cooked (around 15,000 Rp / $1 USD per kilo). You can request it grilled, fried, basted with spice and more. We particularly love getting our crab made into soup! They will also serve your dishes with rice and green vegetables too. Of course, they will have drinks and coconuts for sale to accompany your meal.
Third Step: It’s time to eat
Eat and enjoy! It all makes for a great day spent and possibly the best seafood of your trip. While you’re dining expect to see the roving band come by to serenade you with your favourite song (don’t forget to give them a small tip for their entertainment).
Tips you need before you go:
Go there before noon.
The market opens at 7 am and closes later in the afternoon. The seafood is freshly caught each morning; therefore, we recommend you go early in the day to get the freshest seafood of the highest quality. If you go around 10-11 am, you can easily spend an hour roaming the market looking for the best prices and most interesting seafood to purchase. This means that once you are done, you can go eat the seafood for an early lunch by the beach.
Bring a local
If you have a local guide or even a local friend, invite them to go to the fish market with you. They know the language and the price range better than you do, making it easier for them to communicate with the vendors and help you get the best deals on your seafood.
Try something new
There is a great variety of seafood in this fish market and it will most likely be way cheaper for you to buy seafood here than in your home country. So this is your chance to try something you have never tried before and have it cooked by people familiar with this particular seafood.
Know the prices before you buy
There are many vendors selling the same selection of seafood but they will give you different prices. So it is a good idea to walk around the entire market, asking for the prices of what you want to buy. After that, you will know which stall to go to to make a purchase. We have made a list of the average prices for you to have an idea about what the cost is for each variety:
- Octopus IDR 75k/kilo (5 US$)
- Shrimp IDR 100-200k/kilo (6 – 13 US$)
- Whole fish IDR 60-80k/kilo (4-6 US$)
- Oyster IDR 35k/kilo (2 US$)
- Crab IDR 160k/kilo (10 US$)
- Tuna IDR 38k/kilo (2,5 US$)
- Mahi Mahi IDR 55k/kilo (3,5 US$)
- Salmon IDR 330k/kilo (22 US$)
- Snapper IDR 75k/kilo (5 US$)
- Napoleon IDR 45k/kilo (3 US$)
- Lobster IDR 480k/kilo (32 US$)
Buy the appropriate amount
All of the vendors will give you the price of each item per kilo, but this doesn’t mean you have to buy a whole kilo. Especially if you want to try many different varieties, you should consider buying half a kilo plus/minus, depending on the size of your group of course.
Go to a local restaurant to have your food prepared
Right by the fish market, there is a long beach with a great number of restaurants ready to prepare your seafood however you would like. They weigh it for you and a price of roughly IDR 15.000 (1 US$) per kilo to cook and prepare your food. It is served with a side of rice, vegetables and chilli sauce. This is the best option since you get to eat it while it’s fresh and you don’t have to spend time and energy cooking yourself. Just remember to tell them if you would like your food spicy or not spicy, seasoned with garlic, or even fried so that your food will be prepared just how you like it.
Enjoy a performance by a local band.
If you are lucky, a lovely local band will walk by and ask if you want to hear a song. SAY YES! They bring all of their instruments and they are truly good! It has a lovely vibe and will surely put you in a good mood. It is the perfect cherry on top after a great trip to the fish market followed by a delicious lunch. Tip them however much you like to thank them afterwards.
No time to visit the Fish market during the day:
If you don’t have the time to go to the fish market by yourself during the day, the Jimbaran Bay beach restaurants are open during the night as well so that you can taste all of the great seafood from the market. Just know that the prices won’t be as cheap as if you go to the market yourself, which we highly recommend!
Location: The fish market and the restaurants are located right by the beach, there is only a small parking fee for your vehicle to enter.
Now you have all the tips and tricks you need before going to the fish market. We recommend you set aside at least 3 hours for the entire experience so that you can really enjoy it in full. We are confident that if you are a lover of seafood, it will make for a day well spent and that you will remember it for a long time.
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