Scallops before
Scallops after

I love seafood so much that I believe I could easily become a pescatarian.  I've been wanting to visit the famous Billingsgate Fish Market for some time so decide last weekend I would make the journey.  Before I continue I must confess.  I went out for a couple of work drinks on the Friday night, fully knowing I had to get up at 4:45am the next morning and may have had slightly too much red wine.  I woke up on the Saturday, rolled out of bed, into my clothes and onto the backseat of my Grandpa's Mercedes.  I live in West London so the journey to Billingsgate alone was enough to upset my stomach and make me feel queasy.  I thanked the heavens when we pulled into the car park and I jumped out of that car faster than lighting to get some fresh air into my lungs.  However, as soon as I stepped out of the car I cannot even begin to explain to you the overpowering smell of all things fish related that hit me.  For some reason, I did not even consider that the smell would be an issue.  It was.  I wrapped my scarf around my mouth and nose as many times as possible and tried to focus on the produce.  Unfortunately, this was not that easy to do and I had to politely excuse myself, slid my way across the wet floor and into the bathrooms where I'm sure you can imagine what happened next.  This was not how I wanted my first experience at Billingsgate to play out but once all of the above was out of the way I felt much better and was able to enjoy myself.  The market sellers created an incredible atmosphere, it was like watching theatre and the fish, oh my goodness the fish.  The variety on offer was more than I could have imagined and the shellfish (my favourite) on display was exquisite.  We spent an awful lot of money in an awfully short space of time, (the market is open between 5:00 and 8:30am) and it was worth every single penny.  Scallops can only be bought in their shells, there is a law from Brussels which means the sellers aren't allowed to clean them for you.  I am proud to say I stood in my kitchen and shucked each one of the dozen scallops myself which was quite possibly one of the smelliest and most disgusting things I have ever done! 
If there are any seafood lovers who truly enjoy great quality fish at insanely cheap prices then I strongly urge you to make the trip to Billingsgate.  Just don't do it with a hangover, it will only end in disaster!

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