Consumers Association of Penang

Giving voice to the little people...since 1970

Buying fresh fish - what to look for

Buying fresh fish is a difficult task for those without the knowledge or experience in the selection of fish. Here we show you what to look for when buying fresh fish.
 
  • Eat the fish on the day you buy it, if possible. This is because fish, like any other perishable food will lose its edible life very quickly.
  • Pick a stall that has good patronage. This will be a good indicator of likely freshness, attracting customers to the stall.
  • The fish display should be clean, with a considerable amount of ice on it.
  • Buy a variety of fishes. Don't just consume certain species. Make an effort to try those that are in plentiful supply, cheap and fresh.
  • Don't be fooled by the red lighting near or at the stall. They can make the fish look fresher by camouflaging any brown or yellowish discolouration.
  • Ask the seller if you can have the cuts from the whole fish that look fresher rather than those cuts already on display.
  • Bring it home quickly and put it into the refrigerator. You may also use a storage box packed with ice for the journey.

HOW TO JUDGE THE FRESHNESS OF A FISH

Eyes
Should be bulging out of the socket and should not be cloudy, bloodshot and sunken.
Gills
Should be bright red and not slimy or dark.
Scales
Should be firmly attached to the skin.
Gut
Should be firmly attached to the bone and not discoloured.
Body
Should have a firm, elastic texture when poked.
Skin
Should be bright and glossy with a luminous, wet sheen and not dull and dry.
Smell
Should have an ocean-like scent and not a strong fishy smell.