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Seasonal Seafood Guide: What to Eat and When in Singapore

Seasonal Seafood Guide What to Eat and When in Singapore

Singapore, with its bustling food markets and vibrant culinary scene, is a seafood lover’s paradise. Blessed with access to some of the freshest and most diverse seafood, this island nation offers a delectable array of dishes that reflect its rich cultural tapestry. However, knowing what seafood to enjoy and when can make all the difference in savouring the best flavours and textures.

Our Seasonal Seafood Guide is here to help you navigate through the seafood seasons in Singapore. From the succulent mud crabs that grace our tables in the early months of the year to the tender king prawns perfect for festive celebrations, this guide will take you on a culinary journey through the year. Whether you’re a home cook looking to create mouthwatering seafood dishes or a food enthusiast eager to discover the best catches at local restaurants, we’ve got you covered.

  1. Pomfret – January to March

Pomfret, known for its delicate texture and mild flavour, is a cherished seafood staple in Singaporean cuisine. Highly prized during festive seasons and family gatherings, this fish comes in several varieties, with the Chinese Silver Pomfret (白鲳鱼) and Chinese Black Pomfret (黑鲳鱼) being the most popular. Understanding when pomfret is in peak season can enhance your culinary experience, ensuring you enjoy this fish at its freshest and most flavorful.

Peak Seasons for Pomfret

Chinese Silver Pomfret (白鲳鱼): Best enjoyed around January to March, coinciding with Chinese New Year celebrations when it is most abundant and symbolises prosperity.

Chinese Black Pomfret (黑鲳鱼): More widely available throughout the year but is particularly good from January to March.

Buying Tips

Freshness Indicators: Look for bright, clear eyes, firm and shiny flesh, and a clean, ocean-like smell.

Local Wet Markets: Visit places like Tekka Market, Jurong Fishery Port, and Chinatown Complex Market for the freshest catches. 

  1. Mackerel – January to June

Mackerel, a popular fish known for its rich flavour and high omega-3 content, is a staple in many Singaporean households and restaurants. Its versatility in cooking and nutritional benefits make it a favourite among seafood enthusiasts.

Peak Seasons for Mackerel

Mackerel (鲭鱼): Fresher and more plentiful from January to March.

Spanish Mackerel (西班牙鲭鱼): Peak season from April to June.

Buying Tips

Freshness Indicators: Look for clear, bright eyes, firm and shiny flesh, and a clean, ocean-like smell. The gills should be bright red and moist.

Local Wet Markets: For the freshest mackerel, visit local wet markets such as Tekka Market, Jurong Fishery Port, and Chinatown Complex Market.

  1. Crabs – January to March / April to June / September to November 

Crabs are a prized delicacy in Singaporean cuisine. Often featured in iconic dishes such as Chilli Crab and Black Pepper Crab, this seafood delight is highly sought after for its culinary versatility and delicious taste.

Peak seasons for Crabs

Sri Lankan Crabs – Generally available year-round, but the best catches are often from September to November and January to March.

Mud Crabs – Best enjoyed from April to June, when the crabs are at their most abundant and meatiest.

Buying Tips

Freshness Indicators: Choose crabs that are lively and active, with a firm shell and intact claws. The crab should feel heavy for its size, indicating a good amount of meat inside.

Local Wet Markets and Seafood Vendors: Visit reputable seafood markets such as Jurong Fishery Port, Tekka Market, and Chinatown Complex Market for the freshest Sri Lankan crabs.

  1. Sea Bass – July to September

Sea bass, known for its delicate flavour and versatile culinary applications, is a beloved choice in Singaporean cuisine. This fish, which includes varieties such as Barramundi, is prized for its tender flesh and ability to adapt to various cooking methods.

Peak Seasons for Sea Bass

Sea Bass (Barramundi/金目鲈): Peak availability from July to September, when the fish is at its freshest and most abundant.

Buying Tips

Freshness Indicators: Look for clear, bright eyes, firm and shiny flesh, and a clean, ocean-like smell. The gills should be a vibrant red and moist.

Local Wet Markets: For the freshest sea bass, visit local wet markets such as Tekka Market, Jurong Fishery Port, and Chinatown Complex Market.

  1. Squid – July to September 

Squid, known for its tender texture and subtle flavour, is a popular choice in Singaporean cuisine. This versatile seafood can be prepared in numerous ways, making it a favourite in both home kitchens and restaurants.

Peak Seasons for Squid

Squid (鱿鱼): Peak availability from July to September, with abundant catches and excellent quality during these months.

Buying Tips

Freshness Indicators: Look for squid with firm, glossy bodies and intact tentacles. Avoid squid with dull, cloudy eyes or strong fishy odours.

Local Wet Markets: Visit reputable seafood markets such as Tekka Market, Jurong Fishery Port, and Chinatown Complex Market for the freshest squid.

  1. Prawns – October to December

Prawns, cherished for their sweet and succulent meat, are a seafood favourite in Singaporean cuisine. Whether grilled, steamed, or stir-fried, prawns offer a delightful dining experience that appeals to seafood enthusiasts.

Peak Seasons for Prawns

Tiger Prawns (虎虾): Peak availability from October to December, especially during festive seasons when demand is high.

King Prawns (大虾): Peak availability and best quality from October to December, particularly during festive seasons and special occasions.

Buying Tips

Freshness Indicators: Look for king prawns with firm, translucent bodies and a fresh sea scent. Avoid prawns with discoloured shells or strong ammonia odours.

Local Wet Markets: Visit reputable seafood markets such as Jurong Fishery Port, Tekka Market, and Chinatown Complex Market for the freshest prawns.

  1. Scallops – October to December

Scallops, prized for their sweet and delicate flavour, are a gourmet delight in Singaporean cuisine. Whether seared, grilled, or added to pasta dishes, scallops offer a luxurious dining experience that seafood enthusiasts appreciate.

Peak Seasons for Scallops

Scallops (扇贝): Peak availability and best quality from October to December, making them ideal for festive celebrations and special occasions.

Buying Tips

Freshness Indicators: Look for scallops with firm, plump bodies and a slightly sweet aroma. Avoid scallops that appear dry or have an off smell.

Local Wet Markets: Visit reputable seafood markets such as Jurong Fishery Port, Tekka Market, and Chinatown Complex Market for the freshest scallops.

Singapore offers a delightful array of seasonal seafood that caters to every palate throughout the year. From succulent crabs and prawns to delicate pomfret and scallops, each seafood variety has its peak seasons, ensuring optimal freshness and flavour.

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