When traveling or living in a foreign country, trying a side of Food is one of the most worthwhile things to do. The best way to prove that you’ve been here is to come to Spain and try some of the many different kinds of tapas and have an authentic paella.
There are no strict rules or grading for the preparation of paella. In addition to several classic flavors, such as squid paella and Valencian-style paella, each restaurant also presents its own signature paella with a wide variety of ingredients. The most special one is the paella I made with Maite when I was in Seville. At the Time, we were attending UIMP and Maite was our language teacher. We were taken to the San Jorge food market in Sevilla early in the morning, where Maite taught us how to buy, ask for prices, and select the freshest chicken thighs, ingredients, and toppings. the top floor of the UIMP was a rooftop and a self-service kitchen, where Maite gave orders and told us everything she knew about paella.
Paella paella doesn’t always have seafood in it
Paella does not necessarily have seafood in it, and Paella, in Spanish, does not mean “seafood” in any way. In Valencia, the Home of paella, Paella refers to a pan used to make paella in the local language. When Franco was still alive in the 1850s, Spain was subject to international sanctions and blockade, and one fifth of Spain’s foreign exchange reserves were generated by Valencia’s oranges and lemons; on the calm shores of the Mediterranean Sea, the fishing fleet had just returned. The fishing fleet has just returned, and the shells open their mouths on the seaside reefs. Lemon and orange, seafood and clams are the basic tones of an authentic paella, hence its name. As paella spread to other regions, it was modified according to local products, some adding chicken and onions, some adding peas, pickled red peppers, and so on.
I have tasted paella in many places, but most often in school cafeterias. At the Somosaguas campus of Complutense University, the paella is the only starter with a large piece of meat and is always a popular choice for school meals every Thursday. For less than 3 euros, you won’t find Paella this cheap anywhere else. We can’t do a uniform evaluation of the cafeteria level paella, also at the cafeteria level, the economics department’s paella is several blocks ahead of the trade department’s paella, the authentic paella rice should be sandwiched, while the trade department’s paella is porridge-like and very salty, paella is most taboo to be too salty. Even in the highest evaluation of the Department of Psychology, but also rely on luck, the canteen chef accurate, more pieces of meat more shrimp natural good, sometimes a slip of the hand, no seafood only rice, the whole paella is overshadowed, and see other students in the plate of large meat and shrimp, inevitably unfair. This is generally the case with cafeteria dining, low consumption, high expectations are the characteristics of this level, the recommendation index is not high, because not everyone has access to, can be counted as a student welfare bar.
A slight upgrade into the street bar, Spain has the most of three things, that is, the square, the church and the bar. The highlight of the bar level is the variety, each bar’s paella is slightly different, can not expect every one of them to have a surprise, but there is always one that makes you shine, the bar’s paella continues most of the characteristics of the cafeteria, the most notable, is a large pot baked small portions sold, the diameter of a large pot wide enough for dozens of people to eat. Sometimes, you can also witness the process of making oversized portions of paella. The first person and the last one to eat, the taste has been different. The cafeteria, because the dining time is concentrated, can still ensure that each is hot, the bar-level pot paella can not do this. If you encounter a bad business bar, a seafood “cold” rice or reheated seafood rice, taste, nutrition, even chewing texture are no longer there, really spoil the fun. While the taste is not greatly improved, the price of this level of paella is three times higher than that of the canteen. It is more common for bars in big cities to sell it for 8-10 euros. At the bar level, it is more recommended to have tapas rather than paella.
Then there is the advanced level, the deep alley level, the so-called “wine is not afraid of the alley”, delicious paella is also the road and waiting can not be stopped. When I lived in Madrid Campamento, there was a snack bar along the side of the alley, and every day at noon there was a long line, where the paella was very good. The more people there were in line, the more people there were in line, not only in China, but all over the world. There is a bar next door that also sells paella, but it’s a bit crowded. I’ve had the paella there many times, and I’ve also tried the lemon fish, which is also excellent. If there is a shortcoming, is that this kind of snack bar is not set up for seating, you can only buy it to take away, the road for a long time, it is difficult to maintain the original taste. It is difficult for tourists who come to Madrid for a short stay to have a chance to taste it, but those who visit and live here in depth will have a chance to enjoy it. Deep Lane level paella is baked in small pans and sold out until they are gone. When you buy it, you can point to it and don’t have to be shy to say: more of this, less of that, more piece of meat, more shrimp and so on and so forth. What surprised me the most was when an old lady in front of me in line said, “I’ll have paella, no seafood.” The chef really gave her a paella, no seafood in sight. Perhaps this episode can prove from the side, the real delicious paella, not by seafood pile out of it, even if only eaten, but also delicious.
To taste real paella, first of all, you have to come to the eastern or southern Spanish seaside cities, the better the town, on the beach, looking for a large number of restaurants to sit down, open the menu, the price of this level of paella is more than twice the bar level. Small portions of freshly baked, generally look at the container can be seen, large pots of baked will be served on a porcelain plate, a small iron pot freshly baked, it is directly small iron pot served. Hot seafood rice up, fresh aroma, rice particles, but chewing no hard core, the plate of seafood are all yours, you can enjoy, the plate of lemon that is not decorative, lemon juice squeezed on the seafood rice, adding a point of freshness. At this time look at the sea, eating the most authentic paella, the loved one sitting next to you, that feeling makes people reminisce.
There is a restaurant in Madrid called La Barraca, which means “The Ugly Room” in Chinese, and is quite low-key, which is the highest level of paella I have ever tasted. You need to reserve a seat in advance, walk to the door and say your name, Barraca everything has been arranged for you. The service that goes along with the paella is the experience. You can choose the size of the grill pan, and when it is done, it is solemnly brought to you for your inspection, and only when you nod your head to say yes, the waiter will serve some of it on a delicate plate for you to taste. What is not served is placed behind you where you can see, and when you run out, the waiter will come to you and ask if you want to add more.
There is no tradition of packing in Spanish restaurants, and since there is an order between each course, by the time you eat the dessert, the first and second plates have already been taken away, so there is no chance of packing. If you say you want to pack a dish to take away, people will look at you strangely. But this paella is different, treating a paella like a piece of work, you can of course take it away if you don’t finish it, which is also a way to respect the fruits of other people’s labor.
Thanks to my friend, I also had the privilege to enjoy this level of paella once, because it was so delicious that I ate the whole plate in one go and didn’t leave the opportunity to pack it away. If I were given another chance, I would say: I’ll pack it. I would take away a paella just like a painting.
The luxury of exotic food is not how expensive you pay for it; it is the difficulty of remembering that taste when you have returned to your hometown a long time later.