Top Species for Autumn at Sydney Fish Market

Tue 01 Mar

Summer may be over, but that doesn't mean you have to stop enjoying seafood! Many Australian species come into their prime in Autumn, and paying attention to seasonality is guaranteed to get you the freshest seafood and the best prices. 

Our tour guide Alex Stollznow has pulled together a list of Autumn recommendations for you – try one of these species over the next couple of months to discover the best seasonal seafood Australia has to offer. 

Wild-Caught Barramundi 

While farmed Barramundi is available year-round (thanks to Australia's fantastic aquaculture sector), wild-caught Barramundi peaks in supply between February and May. Large Barramundi is usually sold as fillets; when purchasing these, look for lustrous, firm, moist white-pinkish flesh without any brown markings or oozing water, and with a pleasant fresh smell. Small Barramundi is mostly sold whole; here, look for firm flesh which springs back when touched, and a pleasant fresh smell. 

Barramundi is great barbecued or baked, wrapped in paper or banana leaves to protect the delicate flesh. Great Australian Seafood has a fantastic collection of Barramundi recipes on their website: click here to explore

Yellowfin Bream 

Autumn is the absolute peak season for Yellowfin Bream, meaning they are regularly seen on special in Sydney Fish Market retailers around this time of the year. They are usually sold whole (gilled and gutted), and occasionally in fillet form.  

Bream are great plate-sized fish cooked whole, and their flesh also works well steamed with Asian flavours. Don’t be daunted by the idea of cooking a whole fish – it is deceptively simple and infuses it with incredible flavours. Try this recipe from Sydney Seafood School for Steamed Whole Bream with Green Chilli and Coriander.   

Southern Garfish 

Found in shallow, coastal waters almost everywhere in Australia, the Garfish is one of the few species in Australia that could be said to have lost popularity over time. This is almost certainly due to their preponderance of very fine bones coming off the spine - even though they’re so fine that they can be eaten with no discomfort.  

We can guarantee, however, that Garfish haven’t lost their unique flavour over time, and in fact remain one of Australia’s sweetest, finest fish, highly prized by top chefs. John Niland, for example, has been known to crumb butterflied garfish and serve them with a yoghurt tartare and herb salad (this recipe gives you the crumbing basics). You can also try crumbing and frying just one side of the fillet, allowing the natural presentation of the fish as well as a moreish crunch.   


Banana and Endeavour Prawns 

These are two slightly lesser-known prawn species, but those in the know will tell you that they are absolutely delicious when they are in season!  

Endeavour prawns have a sweet flavour that is stronger than most other Prawns (sometimes with a slight iodine taste); this stronger flavour means they are better suited than other Prawns to punchier spicing and seasoning. 

Banana prawns have a taste that is closer to your classic Tiger or King, but they are most commonly used in hot dishes, rather than bought cooked and served cold. Their firm flesh holds together well in soups and curries, and threaded on skewers for kebabs. 


Moreton Bay Bug 

These delicious crustaceans are available year-round, however Moreton Bay Bugs are usually caught as bycatch in northern prawn fisheries, and supply therefore peaks alongside these prawns in Autumn. They have a reddish-brown shell, broad flat head with eyes at either edge, a short narrow tail, and 5 pairs of small legs. 

Bugs can be cooked on the BBQ in the shell, or removed from the shell and pan-fried, poached, or baked. Chef Joel Bickford from Shell House in Sydney's CBD makes a delicious tomato pasta topped with pan-fried bug meat, and a sea vegetable called Samphire (for an extra hit of saltiness).