City stories: Jurong Fishery Port

Under the cover of darkness with an iPhone in hand, Ahmad Iskandar visits Singapore's answer to Tsukiji: Jurong Fishery Port

Jurong Fishery Port
As Singapore sleeps, Jurong Fishery Port busily reels in the fresh catch
Jurong Fishery Port
At only 5.1 hectares, Jurong Fishery Port may not be like the sprawling Tsukiji Fish Market, yet is every bit as bustling
Jurong Fishery Port
Singapore's weather doesn't make it easier for the Port's workers, many of whom throw their tops off while hauling the chilled cargo around
Jurong Fishery Port
As early as 2.42am, there were a few walk-in customers eager to bring back the freshest catches of the day at wholesale prices
Jurong Fishery Port
As you can tell, prices – if you're willing to buy in bulk – are pretty damn cheap
Jurong Fishery Port
While some fish are sold whole, others are chopped within the premises – with gargantuan cleavers like this one
Jurong Fishery Port
Next to the market, a U-shaped block houses the wholesalers' offices as well as resting quarters for the workers
Jurong Fishery Port
While the workers and merchants toil away at the market, the corridors become eerily quiet
Jurong Fishery Port
A stall on the ground floor fuels the workers with kopi and snacks
Jurong Fishery Port
The Port, as seen from the flat beside. Just beyond it is the Jurong River, which leads out to the sea

It's one in the morning, and the air hangs with a dank stench. Men clad in rubber boots (and not much else) are hurriedly dragging pomfret, squid, lobster and other types of seafood around a warehouse-like space. At this ungodly hour, Jurong Fishery Port is just starting to get busy.

The Port opened in 1969 as a docking base for foreign fishing vessels, as well as a huge wholesale fish market (about 20 basketball courts huge) that houses more than 100 lots for the trawls to be auctioned off. The Port is open all day and night – except Mondays between 2 to 6am – but the action peaks at around 3am. That's when the boats are unloading their catch and throngs of hawkers, chefs and wet market stall owners are buying in bulk. Yes, you can pick up a red snapper or two, some still flapping in their styrofoam boxes, for dinner. But even if you don't intend to, there's plenty of sights and sounds – not to mention smells – to check out, too.

Jurong Fishery Port is at Fishery Port Rd.