The L List Living: A Fishy Story

Day four in Dar es Salaam : 2 November 2012

It is Friday and we are going to Ras Kiroko on South Beach for the weekend. But first we have to stop at the Kivukoni Fishmarket on the way to the ferry as we want to buy tuna for a braai tonight.

My daughter confidently navigates her little Toyota Rav through the midday throngs of people already streaming to the ferry for the crossing over the harbour entrance to  Kigamboni. Many of the local people live on the southern side of the harbour and make the ferry crossing twice everyday.

As there is already a long queue of vehicles waiting to board the ferry, she drops us at the entrance to the Fishmarket  with  instructions to buy a fresh tuna, while she joins the waiting the queue .

Do not pay more than 35 000 tz tshillings ( about R170.00 ) for about 5kgs and please make sure the fish is fresh, check the eyes, it must not be milky and the flesh must be firm” , she instructs us .

I am amazed at how she has matured and adapted to this to me still strange environment !

My husband and I enter the Fishmarket and are immediately surrounded by people calling the by now familiar : Karibo”  

Our senses are overwhelmed by fishy smells and a babble of voices, all wanting to sell their fish.We move deeper into the Fishmarket and choose one well spoken man to be our spokesperson. I explain what we want and soon two enormous tuna are slapped down on the concrete slab in front of me. Mustering all my acting abilities, I confidently pretend to examine the fish looking at the eyes and prodding the flesh as instructed. I make a choice blindly and my husband handles the price negotiations.

The enormous tuna, look no milky eyes!

While the tuna is being cleaned and fillited I wander deeper into the market and encounter more people. Some selling their wares,others just sitting and talking and some even sleeping stretched out on the concrete slabs which no doubt housed fresh fish not too long ago!

A few hours later we ate thick juicy tuna steaks, marinated in soy sauce and garlic and fried on a wood  fire with the sound of the ocean in the background.