Fresh fish is a staple along the southern coast of Portugal. Most towns in the Algarve are small, fishing villages that thrive on selling their early morning catch to locals.
Not far from where we were staying was a small town called Lagos that has a thriving marina, along with a beautiful fish market.
The fish market is open daily from 8am till usually around 1pm. It all depends on when they sell out. Once the all the fish is gone, the doors close. They have every imaginable type of fish and shellfish here...all caught that same day. When I say fresh, I mean only a few hours old.
A lot of people are kind of squeamish when it comes to fresh fish. I, on the other hand, think it is amazing. I felt like I was a kid in a candy store. Fish are just like people...some are pretty, some are ugly, some are skinny, some are fat -- they all have a personality. Plus, I think it's important to see where your food comes from. Part of the enjoyment of food comes from knowing that someone out there is making a living catching these sea creatures for our enjoyment.
There is a sense of everything coming full circle in Portugal. Walking down the marina, you may see an older, weather-worn man walking towards you and you wonder to yourself... 'is he the one that caught the dinner that I'm having tonight?'
There is a lot of talk these days about the 100 mile diet. Simply put, it's a way of eating that emphasizes on eating locally; food that travels no more than a 100 mile circle from you. I've always admired how anyone would be able to sustain that type of life...thinking that it just seems so hard. However, after being back from Portugal, it just all seems so natural. The locals are already doing this, where most of their produce comes from their yards, the fish from the marina down the road, and the wine from the vineyard in the next town over.
It's a simple, yet better way of life.