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I am planning to invite Asian family in law to Germany. They are big fans of seafood, especially crabs, shrimps and mussels. In my experience, the selection at the markets in Germany is rather sparse compared to the places in Asia I have visited so far. I would still like to try to include a German city with a comparable selection in our itinerary.

My own googling shows several recommendations for markets (e.g. Hamburg, Munich) in Germany, but not many details about the products sold. I'm also wary of the culturally different views on what constitutes a great selection.

Could anyone recommend markets in Germany that have a great selection of fresh seafood?

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    The term to look for is Fischmarkt togeather with Wochenmarkt (Weekly market day). Thursday: Wochenmarkt Fischmarkt / Große Elbstraße - hamburg.de and Sundays: Fischmarkt Hamburg - Altonaer Fischmarkt mit großer Tradition Feb 17 at 3:55
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    @MarkJohnson I am able to find Fischmarkts on Google, but have no easy way to verify their selection without visiting first (hence the second paragraph). I am looking for local insights, preferably from people who are also familiar with markets in East Asia.
    – NN314
    Feb 17 at 4:50
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    As a general rule, you’re going to want to look at the northern coast, as that’s where they would be getting most of their fish domestically. Schleswig-Holstein, and particularly the city of Kiel, are where I would look first, probably followed by Hamburg, Bremen, and Bremerhaven. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and the rest of northern Lower Saxony outside of Bremen/Bremerhaven are probably also safe bets. But there’s not much point in checking around, for example, Bavaria (Munich probably has some, but the quality is likely to not be as good as you would find in Kiel). Feb 17 at 13:18
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    Not familiar with the situation in Germany, but I think you’ll have a hard time matching the selection present in some Asian cities, and the prices are also very likely going to be very different! Like everywhere, your best bet is along the coast, though big cities are probably going to have a few places (shops rather than markets, suite often) with very good but very expensive selections.
    – jcaron
    Feb 17 at 22:47
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    In larger cities, there are Asian supermarkets, which usually carry a variety of frozen seafood.
    – corvus_192
    Feb 18 at 20:21

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I have more experience with Asian fish markets than German ones, but generally speaking, you'll find a lot more fish eaten in northern Germany than anywhere else, for the obvious reason that it's near the coast. So the Fish Market in Hamburg, the largest city in northern Germany, is likely your best bet.

That said, it's still going to be a different experience. Asian fish markets (Tsukiji in Tokyo, wet markets in China and South East Asia, etc) are usually devoted purely to the retail and wholesale of raw fish and maybe some fish products, with restaurants and food stalls in a separate section. European markets, particularly tourist attractions like the Fischmarkt, are much more "mixed" with plenty of stalls selling ready-to-eat food.

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Do you want a wide selection or a traditional German selection?

You might go to ports at the North Sea coast and get fresh shrimps. They can be purchased boiled but not peeled, since peeling means transporting them to places where labor costs are lower. So self-peeled is fresher. Go to places like Husum or Greetsiel. But then, it would be a long way to go for a little fish unless your inlaws also like the scenery.

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You could try something like Bremerhaven's Fischereihafen, which was formerly the largest harbour for a fishing fleet.

https://www.bremerhaven.de/en/tourism/architecture-monuments/city-history/fishery-harbors/shop-window-fishery-harbor.59240.html

https://www.bremerhaven.de/en/tourism/shopping-gastronomy/around-the-gourmet-mile-shop-window-fishery-harbor.111675.html

Some of the museums there are also worth a visit.

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Coming from Norway, but living in Germany for a long time, I completely agree that even dedicated fish mongers in Germany usually only have a small range of products. And even if you can always get some kind of fish, the selection of crustaceans and molluscs is often limited to one kind of shrimps and with some luck you might also get blue mussels.

I've never been to the fish market in Hamburg, but looking at pictures from there, it seems to me as if it is a large number of vendors, each however again with a quite limited selection. I would not take it for granted, that you there will find a broad selection of 'especially crabs, shrimps and mussels'.

When I want to buy fish and sea food, I almost always go to Metro. The selection varies a bit from store to store, but is usually very good by German standards. A great advantage is that you can always check online which products are in stock in each store. Here in Munich, I could now get four kinds of blue mussels, vongole, fasolare and scallops if I look in their mussels section. A great disadvantage is that they only do wholesale and do not sell to end-consumers. You will need a customer card issued to a company to shop there.

Another option is the deli chain Frischeparadies. They have around 10 stores in different German cities and usually a good selection of more top-level and pricey sea food.

There are of course other fish mongers in Germany with a larger than usual selection, but difficult to suggest one without knowing exactly where you are located. Here in Munich, there are a few at the Viktualienmarkt. In Berlin, I would perhaps suggest going to the department store KDW.

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  • It should be noted that the whole "metro is just for wholesale shoppers" is really more of a.. gimmick. As in: I've never known anyone who wanted to go shopping in metro not being able to get a card from somewhere. Not practical as a tourist, but if OP lives in Germany I imagine it's doable.
    – Voo
    Feb 18 at 21:01
  • As a local, I have not the first idea of where I'd get such a card in a way that's not at least mildly fraudulent or using some weird loophole that I know is wrong (even if Metro doesn't). Not recommended for tourists, if only to avoid a bad experience. So I'd say it is definitely more than a gimmick for some people. @Voo
    – AnoE
    Feb 19 at 9:38
  • @Voo I have no idea what you mean. I have a Metro card from my employer, but that is not particularly common and if I hadn't, I would not know where to get one. Metro will only issue up to 5 member cards to any company and these member cards are issued to designated persons (with name and photo on them), so unless you are self-employed, work for a very small company or there is a justified interest in giving you such a card, it is not at all common for employees to have or being able to get such a member card. Feb 19 at 11:25
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    @Tor-Einar Yeah and metro will issue cards to virtually every EPU or Verein if they ask. Your name isn't on the card? No problem, just have a slip of paper with you from the owner saying that you're allowed to shop for them (or just get an actual card for them if they want to do it more often). It's almost as if a business wouldn't have a vested interest in making it difficult to buy things from them ;-)
    – Voo
    Feb 19 at 12:02
  • I am accepting @lambshaanxy's answer, which answers the question as stated. Metro cards are unrealistic for the typical traveler. But visiting Selgros or Frischeparadies is a perfect tip for my specific situation, so thanks!
    – NN314
    Feb 20 at 9:47
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I‘m living in Hamburg and I agree that your best option would be the Altonaer Fischmarkt. Please be aware that nowadays this is more of a dedicated tourist attraction than a real market. For a more „market“ typical experience you could try a little walk further west in the „Große Elbstraße“.

While the Fischmarkt is open on Sundays morning, the real sellers in the Große Elbstraße are open only on weekdays.

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