The Queen Vic is my favourite market in Melbourne, it is the biggest (covers seven acres) of half a dozen or so markets. Although there are bigger markets and specialized markets with a higher standard of produce, I still believe that it is one of the great world markets. Appoximately 3.5 acres are taken up by produce vendors, this can be divided into the meat and fish hall, the deli section and the outdoor 'shed's' which sell fruit and veg.
Built in the 1860's the "Meat, Fish and Rabbit Building" or Meat Hall as it is actually know now has about 20 butchers and 10 fishmongers of various qualities and ethnic backgrounds. There are more prepared goods then I remember six years ago and the old man the specialized in offal is gone, but it is great to be able to source veal and good fish easily again. The fish selection is wonderful, as if should be in Australia. I would like to see a wider selection of shellfish, especially un-opened native oysters and clams, but I can't complain about the fish.
The meat selection is slightly more problematic. The meat here is relative broad and the meat is very cheap. Lamb, pork and veal is fine, although there is little in the way of information about the origins of the meat (age, breed, farm location), with the possible exception of Otway Pork, which has developed a niche market for it's free range, ethically produced meat. Some of the butchers also advertise that their pork is derived from female animals only (to avoid "boar taint"). I have been disappointed with the beef, to date none of it has approached the quality I have seen in England and Scotland. A lot of the beef is from very young animals, it has very little marbling in evidence and what external fat is on the meat tends to be cut off. I have seen "Wagyu" steaks being sold which have very little marbling, if any. Obviously this is all in reponse to that the public wants and it seems that in Melbourne this is very lean meat.
Redfish (Centroberyx sp.), barramundi () and "ocean trout" (salt water raised rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss).
Silver whiting (Silago sp.) and Sardine/pilchard (Sardinops neopilchardus, a different if similar looking and tastiing species to the Northern hemisphere Sardine/pilchard (Sardina pilchardus).
Red Mullet (most likely Upeneicthys vlamingii, but there are several other similar species in Australian waters), squid, judginf from the price this is likely to be Arrow squid (Nototodarus gouldi), which is of poor quality in comparison to the Southern Calamari (Sepioteuthis australis) which is also common in Melbourne markets. The "baby octopus" are actually the adults of a SE-asian species that is sold in Australia. The much larger octopus at the back is of a different local species.
Flathead (Platycephalus sp), garfish (Hyporhamphus melanochir, actually a species of halfbeak (family Hemiramphidae) rather then true garfish (family Belonidae). The reddish fish are Gurnard/Latchet (Pterygotrigla polyommata).
Uncooked moreton Bay Bugs (Thenus sp) and Balmain bugs (Ilbacus sp), both rather tasty. To the left is a very small specimen of the giant deepwater crab (Pseudocarinus gigas), the worlds heaviest crab species.
The indoor deli section has a vendors specializing in various cuisines (France, Italy, Greece, Japan, Africa and Poland). I had forgotten how easy it is to put together a casual dinner party in Melbourne, there are just stalls and stalls of meze, anti-pasti, cold cuts etc etc.