Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Cerveza, Cargols i Covid - a summer in Catalonia


Recommended Posts

In these challenging times, a full summer vacation is not an easy task. For the last 1.5 years we have been mostly at home with the clear plan to visit Catalonia (or more precise my wife’s family) latest this summer. And it looked good for a while. Unfortunately, the recent rise in case numbers in Spain have resulted in …

 

OK, let’s skip this part. Long story short - my wife and me are fully vaccinated, as are >90% of the people we care about in Catalonia. After some discussion (after all, Germans tend to prefer to be on the safe side of things) we simply fueled up the car, got each a test (for the transit through France) and started to drive …

 

After a leisurely 11h drive we arrived at a small fishing town somewhat north of Barcelona around 3.00am. We unloaded the car and my wife an the little one went straight to bed. 

 

F94BFD98-5568-4F1C-9E94-5A22ACB3EBF1.thumb.jpeg.171cb86a528b01029f6fb74e73e3a0a7.jpeg

 

EC829B83-2CA8-4BEF-9137-98A4636CEB00.thumb.jpeg.fffbd17d7c2a24485b74f46c10cdccfa.jpeg


I found an expired beer in the elsewise pretty empty fridge and enjoyed the cool breeze on the terrace. Holidays, here we come …

 

64A7AD01-9EFE-409C-84E4-5B49F63C1EA2.thumb.jpeg.4353186da28288ceae2083a3b33c1810.jpeg

Edited by Duvel (log)
  • Like 12
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This cannot help but be a great diversion! Thanks for taking on the job of amusing us!

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow

 

good for you

 

11 h in a car

 

( even a nice one )  not so much

 

I translated the works on your 

 

' consol '

 

but  can't of course fine what the 

 

three ' jugs ' mean to the R of P

 

enjoy your trip

 

carefully

 

nice car.  new-ish ?

Edited by rotuts (log)
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, rotuts said:

but  can't of course fine what the 

 

three ' jugs ' mean to the R of P


That is an indicator whether someone is sitting in the rear (three seats) and if he/she/it is using the seatbelt …

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 minutes ago, rotuts said:

11 h in a car

 

And all of it without oxygene😂

  • Haha 5

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I personally think 

 

  Oxygene

 

got them there

 

they won't be listening to it much

 

any more.

 

[ed.:  don't you hate those YouTube ads ? ]

Edited by rotuts (log)
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Good morning from Catalonia !

 

After a (slightly longer) good nights sleep we started the day with a local breakfast. Little one and me headed out to pick up bread, tomatoes and some toppings.

 

We are staying at my wife’s parents house (who are not living there right now, story for another day), which is just off the central street of this town of ~15k people. The street is not busy and the 500 m leading down to the central square is dotted with small shops including five (!) bread shops.

 

561EFBDC-3F53-4BAB-962D-B00F2CA43271.thumb.jpeg.7f1db1cae1aca70e319e907b0d64c643.jpeg
 

AE2A9BAF-9596-44AC-82AE-5D449AF87712.thumb.jpeg.a2f31186e8730a5b7b64f6b123359376.jpeg

 

1DBCCC87-76BF-4FBE-B171-07894F442B44.thumb.jpeg.dde8a654fe5be01528f8ae5dbf2f84cd.jpeg

 

(… you get the idea)

 

Of course my wife prefers the bread from the shop farthest away from the house - a small local chain that has a very high turnover and more often than not you get your bread still warm from the oven. There is always a queue …

 

A906E234-691D-4BFA-AE4F-4D3A2CF2F29C.thumb.jpeg.3290454df2c291fa951d6917058bdaee.jpeg

 

Options include several baguette varieties …

 

201853C5-AEF7-45AE-B427-B1DADB2BF85F.thumb.jpeg.49e511980ecc261d123937fe9fad3e47.jpeg

 

… and sweet items, but filled and unfilled (sorry for the lousy pictures).

 

E10986EA-B978-4E14-AE30-148215D81B9D.thumb.jpeg.3360e556ed4f0f2687bc76ad0690d123.jpeg

 

AF7DF952-C8ED-4CC7-BAA8-B53BC263C8E2.thumb.jpeg.1595ac3f8dc7b0cbf22d3ee658fe748c.jpeg

 

Little one was so enticed by the smell of the warm catalana (a rustic local baguette variety, that has a bit of whole wheat mixed in), that he had to sample on the spot).

 

AA3C0E8B-5B33-4866-81A6-C44A73BCD6AC.thumb.jpeg.a3ac361339f679da89084d725c68dd7e.jpeg


B1F928C0-69E8-4603-ACA0-CCA381C6402D.thumb.jpeg.8a2ee4bc08b8f452a69e01b02439fd8c.jpeg

 

Back at home, the bread was sliced up, rubbed with a halved ripe tomato, sprinkled with salt and olive oil and served with choriço, serrano ham, goat cheese and truita de patates (with onion, of course).

 

9BCD6FB3-FE7E-4C32-AC5C-7A4C061F0ED8.thumb.jpeg.248f40b05bae2bc16bcf3a52e97cba18.jpeg

 

5A8F83F1-90EA-434E-9560-5FF5A1AC1F65.thumb.jpeg.5bdf113db3ff3cedca297a3069c27d26.jpeg

 

Sweet options included a brioche and this puff pastry item with chocolate.

 

9E4E0AC3-1277-4224-BD0D-24C5DED8AC47.thumb.jpeg.8a84f0caff04892de5f6bb926c05a75a.jpeg

 

89F6262D-D46E-4CF5-A790-9BF8901B0FE8.thumb.jpeg.3e388ee53145138e824b4e919b935b8a.jpeg

 

A good start into the day !

 

Edited by Duvel (log)
  • Like 15
  • Thanks 1
  • Delicious 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 hours ago, weinoo said:

Oooooh, lucky you!

 

I mean very lucky you.

 

Is your plan to be making any excursions into Barcelona, or might you be trying to avoid the potential for crowds?

  • Like 2

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The town looks as though it belongs to another century which I guess it does! What an experience for the little one. And such a breakfast!

  • Like 3

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, weinoo said:

 

I mean very lucky you.

 

Is your plan to be making any excursions into Barcelona, or might you be trying to avoid the potential for crowds?


I think we will skip extended shopping trips to Barcelona this year … we will visit some family members there, but visiting La Boqueria for example will need to wait.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Duvel 

 

if you are able to take pics 

 

in markets and the like

 

as you have w the bread etc

 

Is appreciate it.   only w safety first

 

I lived in Spain and France  for several years

 

'50's  and early '60's

 

place like the town you are in

 

extremely common.

 

back then , not so much of the colorful 

 

paint and signs.

 

BTW   wise move to avoid Barcelona

 

as a tourist this trip.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, rotuts said:

@Duvel 

 

these days , how much  Catalan is

 

used ?    signs , language , etc ?


Catalonia is an autonomous province, and all the official signs etc. are either in Catalan or sometimes bilingual. I’d say 90% of the rest of the public lettering is in Catalan as well. Here in this town very little Spanish is heard, most people talk in Catalan, albeit to me as a foreigner they try to speak in Spanish first (until they realize that I don’t speak Spanish and try to talk to them in Catalan, which usually they find odd …).

Edited by Duvel (log)
  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, rotuts said:

@Duvel 

 

if you are able to take pics 

 

in markets and the like

 

as you have w the bread etc

 

Is appreciate it.


Sure thing - I’ll try to capture as much as possible 🤗

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Because the house in which we are staying was mostly empty, we went to a local (larger) supermarket. It is not very photogenic, so you’ll have to cope with my selection of points of interest (or oddities, for that matter) …

 

In the entrance, where the special offers are placed, they had a stand of Salsa Espinaler. This is local condiment used to spice up tinned clams, sepia etc. They make fantastic tinned products as well.

 

43BCC141-D9FA-4D80-805E-FE29F724814E.thumb.jpeg.fbd940a69e0d173450b377bd5abb9e75.jpeg

 

6E875EC4-DB32-4C3B-AC77-54A9CBD36CB2.thumb.jpeg.75a7bb25366a49d95f5de053a82d5e06.jpeg

 

A similar, but less fancy version is made by Dani, a company featuring other items for the very important aperitif (for e.g. Sunday lunch) as well …

 

7B7A0E6F-6668-434A-BDEC-D5A5F4C56006.thumb.jpeg.446054dda1ef41e1a223e4c808445a96.jpeg

 

I would have loved to get this Vermouth bottle, but then again I prefer other drinks for aperitif …

 

6D0B674D-A379-4B89-B4DA-0B0762F47C9C.thumb.jpeg.a4ebc5694eac475aa0af1e656e68cad6.jpeg

 

This visit I want to stock up on two or three paella pans. Just maybe not here, although the selection was decent …

 

79A9ADD1-FD14-419F-8503-4A11A1D95D51.thumb.jpeg.29a7961d3233df6e8e5c8cbff8e0824d.jpeg

 

These 1.5L bottles contain a mixture of red wine & lemonade, premixed for your convenience. I like the idea & it is cheap …

 

83BC577F-DEC1-4114-9AD0-E7880271C7C5.thumb.jpeg.f6deb6fda6f16e2d8661576aad3a90a1.jpeg
 

Some pork rinds (which I had to purchase, of course) …

 

015BF3C2-3AFB-4D63-8C96-470285F601BA.thumb.jpeg.7cd3c8afb74de6ebef1bfcf8ce12baf4.jpeg

 

The cookbook section was a bit disappointing, although they covered most regions. Plus all of them were in Spanish. I’ll need to look elsewhere …

 

2CCEE594-8078-42F3-9849-A8029F516557.thumb.jpeg.9c173f9c668370ab70c436aee054999d.jpeg

 

Got a nice whiskey for the vacation: Chivas Regal Mizunara 12. Decent price as well, although …

 

B7922981-78A0-410A-9095-3ACDA17FAD71.thumb.jpeg.fa7421cf6d171a732dc85796ca7f7b89.jpeg

 

… in Spain, Gin & Tonic reigns supreme ! This is just the “pink section” of their products.

 

9DD7F34B-89F4-4F2C-AB65-B1EE4F930863.thumb.jpeg.44ba3a349a9d1111264b093120f28aea.jpeg

 

Combined with myriads of tonic waters …

 

A510627B-A150-4945-BA43-1083C768BB34.thumb.jpeg.2af3f11c7d82bb09f05e1a48e04a44d3.jpeg

 

… and the odd “dry add-ons” that are immensely popular to doll up your G&T.

 

08C278FE-B854-48CC-8576-E08DD6C8FDAA.thumb.jpeg.4cb4d843094e2e4e4df7f32460e48037.jpeg

 

Seemingly white canned asparagus is a thing, too. My wife was a bit puzzled …

 

BD32EFBD-B6DA-45CD-BEBC-92DBB2DE216D.thumb.jpeg.e3ae367d2de77a9e84294bf93ff4210d.jpeg

 

Beans are very important to the Catalan people. One of my goals for the vacation is to prepare the prefect pot of beans. They have great varieties, but I am looking for the elusive “Mongetes de St. Pau” variety. I might drive up there …

 

C5E20156-54F7-4A5B-9D6F-040416B3240B.thumb.jpeg.2aa8009de854d72a442d9853040d6c80.jpeg

 

Cargols (or snails), precooked. I’ll get them in the restaurant instead …

 

A58F1877-42C4-4E12-B531-D16B8EBBD3DE.thumb.jpeg.084eee94621307c9c304d642c9c1df66.jpeg

 

Callos (or tripe) …

 

47AE3321-9821-4827-9827-BB163B760F93.thumb.jpeg.5e5fcc0e5ecf3d4e2b00a96bf2dbaac8.jpeg

 

And (befitting maybe the products that @liuzhou can find imported into China), the “paella” section.

 

7C024102-9A41-450A-BABD-5EAE39727BA5.thumb.jpeg.0a3bbef6ddde77bd43ef54ff7e53f5ad.jpeg

 

This I found cool: the “broth” section - essentially all meat products you want to make a good broth (sausages, fat, bones, feet, …) wrapped conveniently in packages. And many of them. I got some for my beans …

 

17356870-7418-42C7-8053-59A52CFA4D40.thumb.jpeg.9ba1456c87cee908dd9937c7a0dc8919.jpeg

 

352C5488-D69F-4B1C-A035-509AC9996CDF.thumb.jpeg.3dc2d0fce4d74dd0dafda46133816faa.jpeg
 

Lamb - baby lamb at that. Look at the size of that leg …

 

65D6E329-E42F-45E2-A7CD-6415B8032044.thumb.jpeg.9353092ad745e48a705e001aa1343078.jpeg

 

CDE83640-0A01-412C-8DCD-C4B390AA1161.thumb.jpeg.9b1f3e50f7e12e39e5610216ef159db0.jpeg

 

A10604EF-3796-42D0-9B7C-B13CAC94AC48.thumb.jpeg.fe5fd110d3fbe3662e9a0a5d6dbea7c2.jpeg

 

On the lighter side - fuets (a kind of salami) …

 

B1C5975A-B41B-4624-86EA-1E75EE312E95.thumb.jpeg.7e99f0e67a203a70eaa5c6e4a0be6a6d.jpeg

 

And this you know …


3D312386-53C6-444E-9591-5305E2BCBB40.thumb.jpeg.8ad1d5418b72a0b30ba8b80db95a436c.jpeg

 

The meat counter, where I purchase some nice ultra thinly sliced head cheese …

 

F5D41C93-CBF4-4E9F-84AC-349C841E84A7.thumb.jpeg.47b103db26c8dbb2f2ed74be859bcc65.jpeg

 

And the fish section …

 

5C475B7D-7F50-4A78-A20F-603F68E18CF4.thumb.jpeg.1049ce8ebdfe522a937206b94586313b.jpeg

 

DBD1076C-C07D-4D37-BCD4-B3E237050F1A.thumb.jpeg.073ecf7f67c7cb387786f2c37e4f6b4b.jpeg

A6C628B8-6C35-4073-A482-D5BA8ECCD53F.thumb.jpeg.1702ebe2ea6d00e399867e02d57aa298.jpeg
 

834A64C6-5E61-4F6D-AA1F-C0C5846EAE5E.thumb.jpeg.dbb6025c3b8c4647949d4a4f5147b244.jpeg

 

A15AF02A-D739-4155-8A42-7102235D3885.thumb.jpeg.7226338c096b165c2d40b9ce29ece75c.jpeg

 

We purchase goods for about 300€ and went home happily …

Edited by Duvel (log)
  • Like 13
  • Thanks 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

On the drive home my wife asked what we will have for lunch, and …

 

While we bought a lot - a lot - of nice things, I didn’t purchase any protein or vegetables, to eat right away 🙄

 

Not wanting to stop at another supermarket, we dropped by the shop that is literally two houses down the street (the pink one on the right). A small enterprise featuring Catalan food (like grandma would make it) for taking home.

 

582DAA9F-C9B3-47EE-A87F-86D14E3E60A6.thumb.jpeg.0f54becd6dcc8e6b562b723292ef5404.jpeg


This was their current offer:

 

CB380AB9-0B45-4E46-9458-A885CBABE03A.thumb.jpeg.19283c18637b312a771689af2f96fcc5.jpeg

 

94C93273-376A-40DF-AD7C-A211C0943D6A.thumb.jpeg.51d93ab077e5f068aa91a74ce0154b11.jpeg

 

We got a slightly carb-heavy selection: lasagne, potato gratin with bacalau and meat-filled aubergine. Served with some crisps and a cooling gazpacho …

 

867AD57E-EC8A-43AB-BD5C-CBE7630277AE.thumb.jpeg.11fa28aa9f790d36bbd2f6135b34e7d7.jpeg

 

I bought a beer from the local microbrewery as well - it was tasty !

 

75019343-35A4-49E8-A11D-B857254F838B.thumb.jpeg.1c6ba2cc8e3602e8f02e6d093ae81087.jpeg


And the best thing - after that I went to make a siesta ☺️ !

Edited by Duvel (log)
  • Like 9
  • Thanks 2
  • Delicious 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, blue_dolphin said:

 

I especially like this nice sagittal slicing job:

 


Exactly - free anatomy lessons with your butchers visit 🥳

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, weinoo said:

If you could send me a few kilos of percebes (at that price!) I would be most happy.


Let me check the rates from here, and I’ll get back to you … 😉

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You mentioned a fantastic line of tinned products and I remember reading some time ago about a tapas bar where the offerings were only tinned goods. I remember being impressed but I no longer recall where I read it.  

  • Like 1

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Anna N said:

You mentioned a fantastic line of tinned products and I remember reading some time ago about a tapas bar where the offerings were only tinned goods. I remember being impressed but I no longer recall where I read it.  

Quimet et Quimet, in Barcelona.

  • Like 3

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

24 minutes ago, weinoo said:

Quimet et Quimet, in Barcelona.

Yes! Thank you. 

  • Like 1

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After the surprisingly filling lunch, the small amount of walking around and briefly visiting the beach was not enough to work up an appetite. That, coupled with a rapidly increasing feeling of laziness (as mind & body are getting into holiday mood) led to a simple, yet tasty dinner.

 

Fresh bread (w/ tomato, salt & olive oil), topped with goat cheese, thinly sliced head cheese and bull blanc. Accompanied by a beer from Barcelona and shortly after enjoyed on the terrace in a cooling breeze …

 

28D56298-D021-4B2E-AF39-AAB75FB809D8.thumb.jpeg.8706db682276dc0c43aaab5e93bf3b77.jpeg

  • Like 13
  • Delicious 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      Note: This follows on from the Munching with the Miao topic.
       
      The three-hour journey north from Miao territory ended up taking four, as the driver missed a turning and we had to drive on to the next exit and go back. But our hosts waited for us at the expressway exit and led us up a winding road to our destination - Buyang 10,000 mu tea plantation (布央万亩茶园 bù yāng wàn mǔ chá yuán) The 'mu' is  a Chinese measurement of area equal to 0.07 of a hectare, but the 10,000 figure is just another Chinese way of saying "very large".
       
      We were in Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County, where 57% of the inhabitants are Dong.
       
      The Dong people (also known as the Kam) are noted for their tea, love of glutinous rice and their carpentry and architecture. And their hospitality. They tend to live at the foot of mountains, unlike the Miao who live in the mid-levels.
       
      By the time we arrived, it was lunch time, but first we had to have a sip of the local tea. This lady did the preparation duty.
       

       

       
      This was what we call black tea, but the Chinese more sensibly call 'red tea'. There is something special about drinking tea when you can see the bush it grew on just outside the window!
       
      Then into lunch:
       

       

      Chicken Soup
       

      The ubiquitous Egg and Tomato
       

      Dried fish with soy beans and chilli peppers. Delicious.
       

      Stir fried lotus root
       

      Daikon Radish
       

      Rice Paddy Fish Deep Fried in Camellia Oil - wonderful with a smoky flavour, but they are not smoked.
       

      Out of Focus Corn and mixed vegetable
       

      Fried Beans
       

      Steamed Pumpkin
       

      Chicken
       

      Beef with Bitter Melon
       

      Glutinous (Sticky) Rice
       

      Oranges
       

      The juiciest pomelo ever. The area is known for the quality of its pomelos.
       
      After lunch we headed out to explore the tea plantation.
       

       

       

       

       
      Interspersed with the tea plants are these camellia trees, the seeds of which are used to make the Dong people's preferred cooking oil.
       

       
      As we climbed the terraces we could hear singing and then came across this group of women. They are the tea pickers. It isn't tea picking time, but they came out in their traditional costumes to welcome us with their call and response music. They do often sing when picking. They were clearly enjoying themselves.
       

       
      And here they are:
       
       
      After our serenade we headed off again, this time to the east and the most memorable meal of the trip. Coming soon.
       
       
    • By FoodMuse
      Hello everyone,
      eGullet was nice enough to invite me to write a food blog chronicling what I've made or eaten out for one week. I'm so excited about it! Thanks guys.
      About me:
      I dream about food, I wake thinking what's for dinner and I'm so excited to share it with you. I'm part of the food world in New York. By that, I just mean that I'm so fortunate enough to be invited to great events where I get to eat great food. I'm also a nerd and a part of the technology world. I produce, edit and sometimes host food related web videos and I'm also a part of the tech world.
      I'm launching a website called Please, Pass the Gravy. www.pleasepassthegravy.com We let you create a menu, invite friends and then collaborate on that menu. Never host another potluck with 8 pasta salads. You could use it now, but we're alpha launch, it works but it's ugly. It's my ugly baby. So, if you use it be kind and message me if you have improvement ideas. I thought it would be ok to write about it here because it is food related.
      I live in Brooklyn with a lovely guy who likes to eat and a small corgi mix dog. I cook pretty much every night and do a nice brunch on the weekend. I am not a crazy dog lady, but I do admit to cooking food for the dog. I have an excuse, beyond doting, he had seizures that have stopped since not feeding him dog food.
      Foods I cook:
      Spicy foods! If you look at my blog I have a simple papaya ketchup with habanero that is pretty darn good.
      I love great cheese. This may be the week for Beer Cheese Soup.
      I try to limit carbs, though I do cheat.
      In any given week C. and I probably eat cauliflower, broccoli and green beans as a side.
      Tonight's dinner will be Vietnamese inspired. We'll see how it goes. I'll post about it as soon as I can.
      Any requests? Questions? I'd love to hear from you.
      -Grace
    • By liuzhou
      Last week, Liuzhou government invited a number of diplomats from Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar/Burma, Poland, and Germany to visit the city and prefecture. They also invited me along. We spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday introducing the diplomats to the culture of the local ethnic groups and especially to their food culture.
       
      First off, we headed two hours north into the mountains of Rongshui Miao Autonomous County. The Miao people (苗族 miáo zú), who include the the Hmong, live in the mid-levels of mountains and are predominantly subsistence farmers. Our first port of call was the county town, also Rongshui (融水 róng shuǐ, literal meaning: Melt Water) where we were to have lunch. But before lunch we had to go meet some people and see their local crafts. These are people I know well from my frequent work trips to the area, but for the diplomats, it was all new.
       
      So, I had to wait for lunch, and I see no reason why you shouldn't either. Here are some of the people I live and work with.


       
      This lovely young woman is wearing the traditional costume of an unmarried girl. Many young women, including her, wear this every day, but most only on festive occasions.
       
      Her hat is made from silver (and is very heavy). Here is a closer look.
       

       
      Married women dispense with those gladrags and go for this look:
       

       
      As you can see she is weaving bamboo into a lantern cover.
       
      The men tend to go for this look, although I'm not sure that the Bluetooth earpiece for his cellphone is strictly traditional.
       

       
      The children don't get spared either
       

       
      This little girl is posing with the Malaysian Consul-General.
       
      After meeting these people we went on to visit a 芦笙 (lú shēng) workshop. The lusheng is a reed wind instrument and an important element in the Miao, Dong and Yao peoples' cultures.
       

       

       
      Then at last we headed to the restaurant, but as is their custom, in homes and restaurants, guests are barred from entering until they go through the ritual of the welcoming cup of home-brewed rice wine.
       


      The consular staff from Myanmar/Burma and Malaysia "unlock" the door.
       
      Then you have the ritual hand washing part.
       

       
      Having attended to your personal hygiene, but before  entering the dining room, there is one more ritual to go through. You arrive here and sit around this fire and wok full of some mysterious liquid on the boil.
       

       
      On a nearby table is this
       

       
      Puffed rice, soy beans, peanuts and scallion. These are ladled into bowls.
       

       
      with a little salt, and then drowned in the "tea" brewing in the wok.
       
      This is  油茶 (yóu chá) or Oil Tea. The tea is made from Tea Seed Oil which is made from the seeds of the camellia bush. This dish is used as a welcoming offering to guests in homes and restaurants. Proper etiquette suggests that three cups is a minimum, but they will keep refilling your cup until you stop drinking. First time I had it I really didn't like it, but I persevered and now look forward to it.
       

      L-R: Director of the Foreign Affairs Dept of Liuzhou government, consuls-general of Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos.
       
      Having partaken of the oil tea, finally we are allowed to enter the dining room, where two tables have been laid out for our use.
       

       
      Let the eating, finally, begin.
       
      In no particular order:
       

      Steamed corn, taro and sweet potato
       

      Bamboo Shoots
       

      Duck
       

      Banana leaf stuffed with sticky rice and mixed vegetables and steamed.
       

      Egg pancake with unidentified greenery
       

      Stir fried pork and beans
       

      Stir fried Chinese banana (Ensete lasiocarpum)
       

      Pig Ears
       

       
      This may not look like much, but was the star of the trip. Rice paddy fish, deep fried in camellia tree seed oil with wild mountain herbs. We ate this at every meal, cooked with slight variations, but never tired of it.
       

      Stir fried Greens
       
      Our meal was accompanied by the wait staff singing to us and serving home-made rice wine (sweetish and made from the local sticky rice).
       
       
       
       
      Everything we ate was grown or reared within half a kilometre of the restaurant and was all free-range, organic. And utterly delicious.
       
      Roll on dinner time.
       
      On the trip I was designated the unofficial official photographer and ended up taking 1227 photographs. I just got back last night and was busy today, so I will try to post the rest of the first day (and dinner) as soon as I can.
    • By shain
      It's been more than a year in which international travel was challenging to impossible, but gladly this is changing, as more countries are able to vaccinate their population.
      Greece had managed to return to a state of near normality, and opted to allow vaccinated individuals to enter. And so I decided to go on a slightly spontaneous vacation (only slightly, we still had almost a month for planning). To the trip I was joined by my father, to whom I owed some good one-on-one time and was able to travel on a short-ish notice.
       
       
      Many people are yet unable to travel, and many countries are suffering quite badly from the virus, and therefore I considered if I should wait some time with this post. However, I hope that it will instead be seen with an optimistic view, showing that back-to-normal is growing ever closer.
       
       
      We returned just a few days ago, and it will take me some time to organize my photos, so this is a teaser until then.
       
       
       
       
    • By Drew777
      I'm a Brit. I'm also a closet Frenchman.  To cap it all, I'm happily retired in Bangkok, the city of a street food culture that's second to none. The Thais are healthy and slim. I'm just this side of alive and far from slim. Lockdown has me fantasizing about my days working in London, Paris and New York, an existence, if one could call it that, revolving around gastronomy of one kind or another. They paid me, not so very much as it happens, to do what I enjoy doing most in life. We all get to do it, but I was one of a fortunate few who made it his metier. Well all that's in the past now, but I still dream of my time in Paris when lunch was a tad short of 2-hours, little-known local bistros remained affordable until the day they were discovered by La Bible (Michelin Guide) and the students were revolting - this was the summer of '68, for heaven's sake. Someone should open bistro here in Bangkok with a table d'hote of Soupe a l'Oignon gratinee, Blanquette de Veau, a stinky Epoisses and Tarte Tatin to finsih with creme fraiche. Ah, it's back to lockdown and pad Thai. 
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...