Location: Selby Road, Negombo
Opening Hours: 4:00 AM to 8:00 PM (closed on Sundays)
Time needed to explore: 30 minutes – 1 hour
Local Fishermen on Negombo beach in Sri Lanka throw out their fishing nets in the air, clean and pack them together for tomorrow’s early catch. Opportunistic seagulls and crows touchdown the beach and hover in the sky, urgently looking for fresh fishy snacks. The wind sweeps up the sand from the tropical beach next to Negombo fish market and gently scratches the skin whilst walking.
Both men and Women are working hard on the beach. From early in the morning till late in the afternoon. It’s 8 a.m. and some of the fishermen have just only arrived from an early day search for fresh fish. They catch crabs, lobster, and prawns in the lagoon next to Negombo and fresh fish in the open waters of the Indian Ocean.
Local Negombo fish market
In an early moment of the morning, the local Negombo fish market opens and so does the fishy smell sweep up as freshly caught fish gets hauled to be sold in the market. It’s quiet, still. The real action happens early around 4 – 5 a.m, right after the fresh catch for which local fishermen have been working hard since after midnight.
The sight of the ocean next to Negombo fish market gives a feeling of peace. The sun shines bright and gives a tropical touch to the atmosphere. Negombo fish market is located in the area next to Negombo fort on the beach. You will be able to buy loads of seafood there varying from raw shrimps to fresh squids. I liked the market a lot, that’s the reason also why I listed it in my top 5 of Sri Lanka flea markets.
Dried fish: Process of drying
Huge coconut fiber mats decorate the sandy beach close to the Negombo fish markets. The fish on the mats is dried using an ancient method of open air drying. The dry wind and radiant sun remove all the water from the fish and it gives the catch a longer expiration date for storage. After the fresh catch, they lay out the fish on the beach and come flip it over after a few hours.
Dried fish on coconut fiber mats on the beach next to Negombo fish market.
Dried fish is a commonly added ingredient in the national dish of Sri Lanka; rice and curry. It’s often added because it’s a good source of proteins. The dried fish from Negombo fish market first gets salted and then shipped all over the island to be sold in shops & local flea markets.
When I was staying in Kandy we often ate dried fish mixed up with rice and curry on a banana leaf.
Negombo fish market is a unique and cool place in the country to visit on your backpacking trip. It’s one of the most authentic fresh fish markets in Sri Lanka. It’s a most recommended place to visit for when you find yourself in the area. Hence, if you like easy-priced, but high-quality seafood and fresh fish.
Tip: Negombo fish market is closed every Sunday. But you can consider to visit it on Sunday if you want to avoid the big crowd. A quiet day can be great for walking around in peace between the dried fish on the beach and for enjoying the view of the ocean.
More information about Negombo Fish Market on tripadvisor.com