Good sources to buy live fishes in the Bay Area?

The mention of fishes in the HKFL discussion reminds me that I should try to cook live fishes more often at home. But the markets around me seem to mostly stock 4 vanilla varieties:

  • tilapia (立魚)
  • catfish (塘虱)
  • silver carp (鰂魚)
  • big mouth bass (盲曹)

Looking for markets that sell ‘fancier’ fishes requires some effort. The closest source to me seems to be Marina in Cupertino, which usually stocks some grouper looking fishes.

Question: Any other good sources elsewhere in the Bay Area?

I vaguely recall New Sang Chong in Oakland may have some but its been a long time.

Here are the ones I looked at in the last few months that don’t venture beyond those 4:
99 Ranch Mountain View
99 Ranch Foster City
Marina Foster City
H-Mart (they have abalone but its not a fish)
New Wing Yuan Sunnyvale

Not helping here since I don’t live in SF. I just want to share some observations.

Recently, I have moved from New Jersey/New York to San Diego California. I recognize that there are subtle difference. For example, as you have pointed out, here in California, I have seen live tilapia, catfish, silver carp in supermarkets. Back in New Jersey and New York, I saw many live striped bass (銀花鱸魚), Marble Goby (荀殼) and always some kind of carp fish. You are lucky in San Francisco. Here, where I am, even the the so called seafood Chinese restaurants do not carry many live fishes, which is unfortunate.

There are live fish markets with better variety in some of the main Chinese shopping districts in SF. The ones I know of:

Stockton between Pacific and Washington St
Clement between 7th and 8th Ave
Irving between 23rd and 24th Ave

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Han Kook, Sunnyvale, El Camino, north of Lawrence. Selection varies, 6-8 tanks.

I think our local grouper looking fish are local rock fish, aka rock cod. The genus is sebastes, lots of pictures on the internet.

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Thanks! I never thought to look for live seafood there. I will make sure to check it out next time I am in the area!

Thanks! I am in the city sometimes but don’t usually spend time at the markets. I will stop by and grab a fish some time.

Do you like some better than the others?

New May Wah? Are there others?

Do you know which market there has them?

Good luck in the search in San Diego. I am guessing the flow of customers isn’t enough to support carrying live fishes…

Perhaps better options in the Latino markets (though not live)? Oddly (to me) enough, I’ve gotten live oysters from Mi Pueblo up here that are farmed in Ensenada, Mexico. So perhaps there are some good stuff down there.

I do have the name of this market but there is a store which give the largest group of live fishes in Chinatown. It is across the street from the Chinese Hospital on Jackson St. Most fresh water fishes but I have seen salt water fishes in the past. Better then anywhere else in Chinatown. No dead fishes here alive only. Unless they have some that are dead or dying then they are sold at a reduce price.

I should be more clear. There are live fish in supermarkets, but not a lot of restaurants carry live fish on a regular basis. Good luck to you finding the more expensive live fish in SF. I have a feeling that the higher end fishes mostly end up in restaurants.

What about Pillar Point?

I think I’ve seen flash frozen fishes and live crab, uni, etc. Do any of the boats bring fishes back live?

The one with the blue awning? I think it’s the M.P. Seafood Market.


That the one. I do not travel up to the City much these days since the raise the parking fees. But most everything is alive. Thanks

On Stockton, I usually walk around and look at what’s good

On Clement, it’s not New May Wah, but a live fish store about a block away. It’s next to a thai noodle place. King of Thai maybe?

On Irving, there is just one live seafood place on that block, middle of the block with a red awning. Sorry I don’t recall the name of it.

We saw some live black cod (sablefish/butterfish) at Liang’s seafood at 1207 Stockton in San Francisco today. There were only a couple left in the tank.

We used to get excellent live black cod from the fishmonger on Pacific Ave, across from Dol Ho. Black cod has a delicate texture with large flakes, one of our favorite fish. We once purchased a feisty one fresh out of the truck parked outside that was making the delivery. Unfortunately, that store is closed due a recent fire.

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I don’t usually see expensive live fish at Asian supermarkets, but today I see one. Farmed fish from Korea.

Not often to see a Korean farmed fish. Which market is that, or is it in SoCal?

I cannot be sure, but that is what the labeled stated (origin: Korea). Yeah, this is at a Ranch 99 in San Diego. $22 per pound is pretty expensive compared to other live fish they have there. I am too lazy to cook today… I hope they will have them next time.

Yeah, the Ranches up here only stock fish that’s up to around $10 or so per pound.

Well, I should be clear. I went to Ranch a few times in the last two months. This is the only time I have seen this. Usually, the typical. $$6-10 per pound fish.