Europe 2016 Day 9.2: La Boqueria

This will be my last post on Barcelona…

[7 MARCH 2016, MONDAY]

While I was waiting for my clothes to wash in the laundromat, I had 40 minutes to kill. I took this downtime to finally visit the La Boqueria market.

It was kind of ridiculous. This market is right smack on La Rambla. I walked pass this place everyday when I was out and about. But I thought it was just a normal market. I was not aware that La Boqueria is one of the largest public market in Barcelona (or it is THE largest?)…

You know how I finally found out? I was carrying my load of clothes out of the hotel and I had to pass my room keys to the reception, so I asked him if he could recommend a good place to buy Jamón (Spanish ham). He previously recommended the cheaper bus to La Roca Village so I figured I would trust his recommendations.

When he mentioned La Boqueria and I told him that I did not know about it, he gave me a look that seemed to say “Are you a moron??

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Market entrance

It was a good thing that my last day in Barcelona was a Monday. If it was a Sunday then I would be well and royally f**ked, because while it is a big and touristy market, La Boqueria is still a public market, and public markets are closed on Sundays.

In other words, I almost narrowly missed out on visiting this famous market. Thank the Gods

Anyway, I made my way here after I loaded my clothes into the washer and pressed [Start]. The market was roughly 500 meters from the laundromat, but I figured 40 minutes should be enough for me to walk there, briefly explore it, and walk back. After all, it is just a market, famous as it is. How long would I need? Right?

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Bustling with activity

WRONG! Because when I got there, the market was just opening for business, so there were not many people and more importantly, only half of the stalls were open. But I was already captivated. You know, I kind of love grocery shopping, and the sight of fresh fruits and (yes) jamón made me forget myself.

Also, I grossly underestimated my walking speed. Took me 10 minutes to get there and 10 minutes to get back, so I only had 20 minutes. I can tell you 20 minutes is NOT enough for exploring La Boqueria.

Lucky for me, my flight out of Barcelona was 8 PM. Meaning to say, I had hours to kill after checking out of the hotel at noon. So I left my luggage at the hotel reception after checking out and came back for a second time.

You know what? Let’s have the photos…

I was happier here compared to when I was at La Roca Village. Much much happier…

And they don’t only sell grocery here, there are also many food stalls where you can sit down and grab some food.

I think, if you are going to be in Barcelona for only a day and you want to eat all the yummy food that this city has to offer but cannot squeeze enough time for it, then… come to La Boqueria. Or probably any other public market that you can find in Barcelona. Here you will be able to find most of the famous dishes, and can at least get up close and watch the cooking process. And more importantly, to smell the food. Then you can decide which one(s) you like best and just go for it.

Me… I was already here for almost a week, and I have eaten whatever it is that I wanted to eat. Also, I have just had breakfast less than two hours ago. I was not hungry, yet. I did not need to have any food here. After wandering around and taking a bunch of photos, I decided to leave. Maybe I could head to the airport earlier. Barcelona El Prat Airport has free wi-fi…

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But my butt had other ideas and decided to plop down on one of the vacant chairs at one of those grilled food stalls instead

Basically, my butt was telling my brain: “Dude! Did you forget that it is your birthday today? You should have a blast!

Yeah, my last day in Barcelona was also my birthday. In fact, I intentionally planned my trip so that I can spend my birthday away from Malaysia. I bring it up now because it is so long ago that it is too belated to even give me a belated wish. So, don’t wish me happy birthday in the comment, I’ll edit them all away. Comment about the market instead.

So, anyway… okay… my butt overrode my brain and made me sit down…

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Overlooking a bunch of pintxos and tapas with a flute of cava

Cava is a… I guess the most appropriate translation for it is Spanish champagne. By the way I think I’ve seen (in some blogs) some so-called Spanish restaurants in Malaysia offer white wine and call it cava. That’s bullshit. Cava is a sparkling wine.

I was spoiled for choice. This stall is a grilled food stall, and from the menu there’s: chicken, beef, lamb, fish, prawns, squids, crabs, lobsters… almost every f**king thing that walks or crawls or swims or whatever.

After almost a week of eating meats (chicken and beef mostly), I really wanted to have some seafood. After all, those TV shows all highly recommend having seafood in Barcelona.

But I also remembered that I don’t like dealing with shells because I’m lazy and I hate making my hands dirty especially in the public.

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So I got me’self this: Grilled ahi (tuna) with mixed veggies – 14€
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Today I also learned that you can order tuna like a steak. I got a medium well tuna

It was good. Very good. So very good! I could even say this was probably my best meal so far. And to think that I almost didn’t find out about this public market. Sheeshhhhh…

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My lovely server even gave me a (I think) flirty parting glance

After the meal, I quickly grabbed the jamón (almost forgot about them) and left. Cannot spend much longer in this place of temptation…

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Huuuhhhhhh
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Hhhhhuuuuuhhhhhhhhh goshhhhhh

Okay to be fair, these 2 were fruit based. The drink was a kiwi + coconut juice (don’t hear that everyday do you?) and the other one was a mango ice cream. Have I mentioned that I also had a fruit cup when I came here for the first time in the morning?

I love food, and I definitely overate on my birthday. Sheeshhhhh….

Let’s get out of here…

26 Comments

  1. No wonder you had the best meal ever. I love all the many colors in this vibrant market that you could sit and grab everything into your mouth. Why we never have this concept in Malaysia.

    All your hhhuuuuuhhhhhhh hhhuuuuuhhhh is funny! Sounds like a monkey!

    • Have one, it is called, the food court, hahahaha! Just that the dishes served here are different compared to Europe. 😛

  2. nice birthday meal u had there!! I never see tuna being grilled medium-well…probably this is the first time I m seeing this.

  3. The market itself looks so colourful, right? Yes, I understand how the feeling is when you mentioned temptation… So much things on sale.. especially different types of food, fruits and so on. If I were to stay there, I sure end up cooking different dishes each day… lots to choose from!

    • Er.. you’ll probably run into the same problems as eating out, because the ingredients are all angmoh ingredients. Maybe you need to bring your own sauce and spices if you do come! 😀

  4. Wah…I like this market. I could spend the whole day there 🙂 Interesting that the grilled tuna looked like meat – pork or beef. I’ve never had tuna grilled like that. Must be very nice. So how much was the Jamon and how much did you buy?

  5. I always heard people said to understand the local cultural, must go see the market, but for me I seriously don’t like to see market, even a few markets I’ve been visited, I still don’t see any interesting and from what cultural I can see. Maybe I’m not until that high level, just see buildings are enough for me, hehe!!

    • Because you are someone who prefers machine and architecture ma. People who say must see market are people who prefers food and people, like me. 😛

        • Hahaha look for someone with same interests as you lah when you go travel. Don’t look for me, I will be bored with too many of those Casa this, Casa that, and I will prefer to hunt for food hehehehe~

  6. Thank God you didn’t miss out on La Boqueria…I’ve seen this lovely market featured in a lot of food shows. That grilled ahi tuna you had looks freakishly similar to beef. I would have said it’s beef steak unless you tell me otherwise and that’s because I’ve seen pics of ahi tuna and they don’t look like that. Then I read you had your ahi tuna done medium well >.<, oh, that's why coz ahi tuna (especially those premium grades) is usually just lightly seared on the outside and the centre remains pretty raw.

    • Me, I usually only eat raw fish if it is sashimi. If cooked tuna, I prefer cooked almost all the way through. Longer time on the grill means more time for the fish to absorb the sauce… 🙄

        • I eat whatever tuna sashimi. And, no leh, I never felt cooked tuna taste like cooked salmon. Tuna I am okay… 🙄

  7. Market close on Sundays? Interesting to hear that.. Here, Sundays pasar pagi like pasar malam, no parking and super crowded.. Gotta call that butcher in advance to ask him to save 2 pairs of liver+kidneys, else, gone even at 8am jor!

  8. I can’t believe you nearly missed this! Sometimes ‘touristy’ is for a reason – that is, it is worth visiting. We went here a few times during our stay – for fresh food to take away but also to sit and eat at some of those tapas bars around the edges. Glad you came to your senses.

    • LOL! I did not visit it earlier because because I was not aware that it was a touristy place. It wasn’t because I thought it was touristy. 🙄

  9. I love to visit markets, especially clean markets like this! I think if I ever go to Barcelona when Sagrada Familia is finally completed I will stay near to this public market and eat from here for every lunch! So nice! Thanks for highlighting this.

    Lucky for you to get this info on your last day and lucky for us too. Your tuna looks like beef in the upper photo before you cut a piece of tuna into half to show us the medium well colour and the texture of the tuna confirmed that it is tuna and not beef or else I thought you ate beef and was trying to have another april fool joke on us by telling us that it is tuna.

    I will … the weather there is quite nice huh 😉 .

    • Actually there’s a bunch of public markets in Barcelona, just that this one is probably the largest (and most touristy). Maybe you could try other markets too, be more local 🙄 …

      Hahaha, 凡事可以一而再 不可再而三, jokes cannot be too frequent one, otherwise it would be boring. So the tuna is really tuna lah 😛

      Yayaya the weather was quite nice 😉 .

  10. The market seems to be quite the discovery and adventure for you. I’m not an overly huge fan of markets like this unless I really want to buy something there. Don’t like making your hands dirty in public? I thought Malaysians are fond of peeling prawns and crabs with their hands eating out 🙄

    The fruit cup and the ice lolly sweet or not? 😀

    • I’m a white man when it comes to dealing with prawns and crabs when eating out. I mean, I can tolerate it, but I don’t particularly enjoy it. Unless if the place is called Joe’s Crab Shack (San Francisco) then I would gladly do it. 🙄

      Not too sweet, all natural and they don’t add sugar. I love the fruits here! 😀

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