With dozens of food and beverage options at Union Market, some vendors can be easily overlooked. But next time you visit the area, head to The District Fishwife for some of the best seafood in the District.
The stall, located at 1309 5th St. NE, is a locally-sourced seafood stand on the far right side of Union Market. At first glance, the stand looks like a place to purchase and take home fresh fish – like sushi-grade tuna, sea scallops and branzino – but it also serves made-to-order dishes you can enjoy at the market.
There is not much seating near the stand, but Union Market has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating options in and around the area.
Depending on the day, you can soak up the summer sun at the picnic tables outside the market or hide from the District’s humidity in the comfort of Union Market’s air-conditioned space. I opted to sit by one of the open garage-sized windows so I could enjoy both the warm weather and cool air inside the marketplace.
The District Fishwife is known for its fish and chips ($14.50) served with cider apple coleslaw and house-made tartar sauce and colorful salmon poke bowls ($12.50) garnished with seaweed salad, pickled ginger, shredded carrots and wasabi. The poke bowls are also doused in spicy mayo and soy ginger sesame sauce.
While every dish at The District Fishwife – including its salmon burgers and fried-fish sandwiches – is guaranteed to be delicious, the vendor’s shrimp tacos ($14) should not be missed. With shrimp that tastes fresh off a boat, the tacos will make you feel like you’re on the beach and not in the middle of a market.
The three tacos served are wrapped in warm corn tortillas that are slightly charred for a slight crunch. Then pieces of fried shrimp are generously piled into the tortillas. While the shrimp is fried, each piece tastes lighter than many other fried foods.
The juicy shrimp is first topped with pickled onion slaw and jalapeno. The tacos are then drizzled in a lime crema and dusted with thinly-sliced scallions. The pickled vegetables add both an intense crunch and tangy flavor to the tacos while the lime crema balances out the more acidic flavors in the dish.
The combination of all the different flavors – the salty fried shrimp, zesty pickled vegetables and luscious lime crema – make for a balanced taco that will fill you up for lunch or dinner without stuffing yourself.
Before leaving Union Market, be sure to grab some shrimp to take home and cook from The District Fishwife. You can attempt to make them yourself once you’re done eating your tacos, but it may be worth making another trip back for its other popular meals.