Monday, September 26, 2011

Mercado de San Miguel

My first weekend in Madrid was certainly something to look forward to. My cousin Tinky promised to take us to the Mercado, a place she fondly describes as a Valhalla for foodies. She knew I loved good food. I think I love spending money on good food is more like it.

We kicked off the day commuting to the Sentro district of Madrid, where the shopping and the hustle and bustle converge into one place.

It was interesting to see Spanish people of all shapes and sizes, including a mother with her youngest humped on the back of her bike, and an older son driving on his own. Seeing the child in such a precarious position made me nervous, but the commute system in Spain is very bike- and pedestrian- friendly. Every thoroughfare has a dedicated bike lane, though bikes are also allowed on sidewalks.

The first thing I see as I entered the Puerta del Sol is a statue of a bear seemingly groveling at a tree. It is in fact the heraldic symbol of Madrid. Storytellers have it that when Madrid was discovered by its first settlers, they found a bear sniffing a madrone tree (El Oso y El MadroƱo).

The next thing I see is a man and woman sniffing each other in the square. Ahh, Europeans!

From the market's exterior, the colorful display of fresh fruits and vegetables are enticing passers-by to come inside.

And I'm one of them!

Fresas (Strawberries)

Uvas (Grapes)

Manzanas (Apples)

I couldn't help but notice that the fruit names in Spanish are basically the same in the Filipino language. Presas = Fresas. Ubas = Uvas. Mansanas = Manzanas. Amazing! LOL

A barrage of hungry locals and tourists met us in the entrance.

Hands down, my favorites were the tapas. The ones shown above were made of Bacalao (salted codfish) (left) and Octopus (right). They cost one euro a piece from La Casa del Bacalao.

This one was made of Bacalao paste with fish roe.

Wagyu beef steak. Expensive is my only comment.

When I bought the cheese fondue everyone in my table got excited!

I ended the food binge with a wonderful cup of yogur (yes, that's how they call it) with mixed berries.

Me and my cousin Tinky :D

One aspect of traveling that excites me is the prospect of tasting the local cuisine. If you eat at the same old McDonalds or Starbucks then you are depriving yourself of experiencing culture. I can't say that I didn't miss the food back home, but while I'm away I make sure I keep my mind open to something new or perhaps something challenging. My trip in Madrid gave me that opportunity, and yes, this was just the start of it. :)

Mercado de San Miguel can be found in Plaza de San Miguel near Plaza Mayor in Madrid, Spain. Visit their website: for more info.