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Fresh, Inexpensive Seafood in Houston


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After living in Houston for 7 months, I've become pretty dissatisfied with the seafood options in town. There don't appear to be any wholesalers. Grocery store fish is either of very poor quality (fiesta, Kroger), or fancy and pricey (whole foods, central market). The fish markets are pretty limited in selection and also tend to be fairly pricey.

So, today I checked out the fish markets in Seabrook and was quite impressed. After about a 40 minute drive from inside the loop, I went to 5 different markets there. The selection was primarily fresh and local, and very inexpensive. I bought a 3lb whole striper for $9, and a pound of headless jumbo shrimp for $4.

But there was so much that I wanted to buy that I couldn't justify today. Yellowfin tuna $5#, salmon filets $3.5#, whole snapper $2.5#, mackerel, pompano, oysters. It's the freshest, highest quality, least expensive fish I've seen and eaten since moving here.

What I suggest is a co-op with a weekly or bi-weekly rotating trip to Seabrook buying shrimp, local catch, and staple fishes to divvy up. For me, this price and quality of fish is the only option for me, and I'd like to make seafood the major protein in my diet.

Interest? Thoughts? Adivce on getting a co-op going?

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Have you hit Airline seafood on Richmond? I think they are just a notch below what they were 5 years ago but they are still good. Maybe not as good as the seabrook joints but certainly as good or better than CM or whole foods.

I bought some killer red snapper at this vietnamese grocer in Sugar Land at hwy 6 and dulles. IIt was $3.5 per pound.

The Hong Kong mall grocer has good fish selection.

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Your better off driving to the water and getting fish off the boats. we drive down on mondays just to see what they are pulling in. Your going to pay way to much for anything and everything retail! Find a friend in the buisness and get them to get you fish - just my thought! ... too make it more clear, all of our seafood comes from out of town because it is hard to find "proper" fish in this city! God love it!

Edited by greensNbeans (log)
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Your better off driving to the water and getting fish off the boats.  we drive down on mondays just to see what they are pulling in.  Your going to pay way to much for anything and everything retail!  Find a friend in the buisness and get them to get you fish - just my thought!  ... too make it more clear, all of our seafood comes from out of town because it is hard to find "proper" fish in this city!  God love it!

Randy, could you define "proper" for us? Not a challenge, just curious as to what you mean. What's better about the out-of-town fish, and what's wrong with the locals?

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Have you hit Airline seafood on Richmond? I think they are just a notch below what they were 5 years ago but they are still good. Maybe not as good as the seabrook joints but certainly as good or better than CM or whole foods.

I bought some killer red snapper at this vietnamese grocer in Sugar Land at hwy 6 and dulles. IIt was $3.5 per pound.

The Hong Kong mall grocer has good fish selection.

Airline is too expensive for me. Their fish is pretty good, but it costs too much for a regular thing. Also they don't have a great selection, and rarely have whole fis.

Does the Hong Kongmall grocer have any live fish?

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I've always found that Airline has a huge selection. And I usually get whole fish when I ask for it. I also find it a lot easier then driving 40 miles to seabrook to save a dollar or 2 a pound. Now, when I am feeding a big crew and want to make a half day of it, seabrook is awesome.

Yes the Hong Kong joint has live fish. They usually have whole fish and will filet to your specs.

How would a coop work? How many people would be needed? And does the person driving to pick up get reimbursed for driving/time?

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Your better off driving to the water and getting fish off the boats.  we drive down on mondays just to see what they are pulling in.  Your going to pay way to much for anything and everything retail!  Find a friend in the buisness and get them to get you fish - just my thought!  ... too make it more clear, all of our seafood comes from out of town because it is hard to find "proper" fish in this city!  God love it!

Randy, could you define "proper" for us? Not a challenge, just curious as to what you mean. What's better about the out-of-town fish, and what's wrong with the locals?

All I meant was the freshest possible. Local guys have good product but they sit on stuff for 1 or two days and that is an eternity when dealing with seafood. I trust a busy company like steve connolly or pacific seafood for most of our seafood needs. Nothing wrong w/ local! If price wasn't an issue I would shop at Whole Foods or Central Market - they always have nice stuff, but I know better than to pay $8.50/lb for salmon. Just my .02

Edited by greensNbeans (log)
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I've always found that Airline has a huge selection. And I usually get whole fish when I ask for it. I also find it a lot easier then driving 40 miles to seabrook to save a dollar or 2 a pound. Now, when I am feeding a big crew and want to make a half day of it, seabrook is awesome.

Yes the Hong Kong joint has live fish. They usually have whole fish and will filet to your specs.

How would a coop work? How many people would be needed? And does the person driving to pick up get reimbursed for driving/time?

Don't get me wrong -- I think Airline is an excellent store, and the place to go for seafood from other parts of the country (got some very good, inexpensive mussels there the other day). But I guess what I'm looking for is the ability to let serendipity guide fish shopping somewhat. For example, in Seabrook they had these huge Kingfish for sale, as well as mackerel -- that's not something I'd ever expect to see at Airline. And the price differential is more than a couple dollars a pound. $5/# yellowfin is $11 cheaper than at Airline. Whole striper and snapper are $8/# or $6/# at Airline vs. $2.5 or $3 in Seabrook. That's pretty significant. Also huge shrimp are ridiculously cheap

And in Seabrook you can get basically everything they have as a whole fish.

As far as setting up a co-op, I would think that drivers would be compensated for gas, but time would be volunteer, and rotating. I haven't thought much about the details, but it would probably require at least 4 members to be economical and not an enormous pain in the neck.

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Your better off driving to the water and getting fish off the boats.  we drive down on mondays just to see what they are pulling in.  Your going to pay way to much for anything and everything retail!  Find a friend in the buisness and get them to get you fish - just my thought!  ... too make it more clear, all of our seafood comes from out of town because it is hard to find "proper" fish in this city!  God love it!

Randy, could you define "proper" for us? Not a challenge, just curious as to what you mean. What's better about the out-of-town fish, and what's wrong with the locals?

All I meant was the freshest possible. Local guys have good product but they sit on stuff for 1 or two days and that is an eternity when dealing with seafood. I trust a busy company like steve connolly or pacific seafood for most of our seafood needs. Nothing wrong w/ local! If price wasn't an issue I would shop at Whole Foods or Central Market - they always have nice stuff, but I know better than to pay $8.50/lb for salmon. Just my .02

Gotcha, Thanks!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Someone else is on my quest!

Hong Kong supermarket is great (and the kids love it). Very good selection and prices. A bit of a hike from inner-loop but closer than Seabrook.

Have been pretty unsuccessful in finding great and reasonable places. Like Airline and it's much closer. Selection seems to vary a bit. WF and CM (esp CM) are awesome but it's hard to pay the same price for snapper as ribeye steaks.

Would be happy to participate in some sort of service - maybe hire a buyer (?) to make weekly runs. Would one of the Seabrook places deliver if there was enough volume?

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