Let’s continue with my food adventures…
Remember how I was conned (okay, I walked into it myself) into ordering a paella and tapas set in a Chinese restaurant? You don’t need to get mad on my behalf. I was already pretty mad with myself for being such a clueless tourist. Of course I was also pretty mad with the restaurant. Fucking Chinese restaurant selling paellas. WTF?!!
But then, as I strolled the entire length of La Rambla after that meal, I discovered that such blatant misleading is common here. There are a million different open air tents along the stretch, all operated by different restaurants nearby. But they all offer the same promotion menus, 2 or 3 tapas + paella or pizza or pasta, for less than 10€. We’re talking about not just Spanish tapas restaurants, we’re also talking about Chinese, Indian, Turkish, Irish restaurants, etc. Basically every fucking restaurant of every fucking ethnicity serves paella on this touristy La Rambla stretch!
So I began to think, maybe that Chinese restaurant that I went into was just doing what they had to do to survive. Maybe they’re not that bad. And then I felt bad for having a bad impression on them.
Guess what I did? I decided to give them another chance! Yes… such generosity from me, wasting another meal to eat non-Spanish/Catalan food just to give them another chance!
So I went back for lunch the next day. This time, I ordered specifically Chinese dishes from the menu: 虾仁炒饭 fried rice with shrimps and 烧肉 roasted pork.
I actually thought the fried rice was pretty decent. Not Malaysia level of decent, but it tasted like how a fried rice with shrimps should taste like. I was feeling better for the restaurant already. That was until my roasted pork was served…
What the..? What the heck is this??
So I asked the waitress: “这是烧肉啊？This is roasted pork?”,in which she replied: “对呀 这是烧肉啊！Cerdo asado 没错呀！Yeah, this is roasted pork! Cerdo asado, that’s right!”
And then she left me alone to stare at my pork with my mouth gaping…
Okay, fine… technically, she is right. This is a plate of roasted pork meat, which in Spanish is really called cerdo asado. But, fuck man! You’re a Chinese restaurant. If you are serving roasted pork, you should serve it Chinese style, not fucking Spanish style! If I’d want Spanish cerdo asado, I’d have gone to a proper Spanish restaurant. Come on!
I wonder if this is a special black shop (conman shop), or if every other Chinese restaurant in Spain does the same. But I’m not willing to put this doubt to the test. No more Chinese food in Barcelona for me!
And if anyone from Spain is reading this, and you think this is the way Chinese cerdo asado looks like, please do yourself a favor and search “Chinese roasted pork” on Google.
I was stumbling back after yet another wonderful day for my eyes and terrible day for my thighs, walking back to La Rambla all the way from the Sagrada Familia (more pictures in future posts!) with countless stops and detours along the way. I decided to look for dinner on one of those side streets.
And then I stumbled across this place.
I did not realize it at that time, but apparently this place is rated highly on TripAdvisor as the best place to have pintxos in the area. If you’re wondering how to read this word, it is pronounced pinchos. In fact some locals spell it as pinchos too.
To be honest, I don’t much care about TripAdvisor’s ratings, they are mostly very confusing because the reviews come from all over the world and one person’s meat might be another person’s poison, so you never know who to trust.
What I do care was that I peeked inside and saw…
A long stretch of pinchos calling to me! By the way, pinchos is a snack eaten in Spanish bars, much like tapas. But unlike tapas which are usually served on small dishes, pinchos are served on pieces of bread, with a toothpick spiked on each piece of these goodies.
For the uninitiated fool (like me, for example), a first trip into such Basque taverns can be a big shock. I mean… just look at all these lovelies…
How things work here is you order a glass of beverage (mostly wine and beer), and then just grab whatever tickles your fancy here, and start eating. You can request for a plate if you want to. The toothpicks are important here. You’ve got to keep hold of them, because when you’re done and leaving, you’re going to be charged based on how many toothpicks you have. Here they charge 1.95€ per toothpick, and apparently it is an average pricing. I heard there are certain places that charges 3€ or 4€ per toothpick.
So what did I get myself?
I’m sorry, I basically just stuffed my face silly and did not remember to ask, so I don’t know what white thing and purple thing is. They’re somewhat salty so I guess they’re some type of cheese.
Was it a good meal? No, it wasn’t. It was a great meal! I’m so happy I got these tucked under my belly, what with everyone who has been to Barcelona before reminding me that the pintxos is a must eat.
See the first girl seated on the pinchos bar? She’s Japanese. My first encounter with her was at the Paris Airport. I saw her struggling with the cashier when buying a sandwich. She could not speak English/French so I helped her translate a few words (since I know a few Japanese words thanks to the animes).
It was a surprise for me to bump into her again, and even more surprising was that she recognized me (I did not recognize her =.=). But she did not need my help this time because her friend who came with her to this tavern speaks English.
No, nothing happened between us. I was just leaving and trying to take pictures of the pinchos bar when she came in. I did not linger around to chat her up (I can’t even if I wanted to, my Japanese is limited to a few words only).
Actually I’m an introvert in real life. It is very rare for me to chat people up. Sure, sometimes if I notice people (especially girls) in distress and I can help, I would step up. But when help is rendered and thanks have been uttered, I would shrink back to my own shell unless she tries to chat me up after that. 🙄