Farty's Fortunes

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Foreign Food

Travel, as they say, broadens the mind. And foreign food broadens the waist. But how foreign is foreign?

On our first family holiday, we went to Majorca (pronounced ma-JOR-ca). We found a lovely place on the beach, imaginatively named Mel's Beach Bar, that served a canny fish & chips1. Very Spanish, I think you'll agree.

As an aside, three years later I took Little Miss Farty on a skiing holiday to Andorra, high in the Pyrenees (between the continents of Asia and Iberia). As we sat down for our first Andorran meal, the waitress came over to take our order (curry). I recognised her Surrey accent and looked up. "Haven't I seen you before somewhere? Like Majorca?"

"Yes, I'm Mel. I own Mel's Beach Bar. You had fish & chips." She could also take a drinks order for a party of twenty - correctly - without writing it down.

If you ever visit Andorra, don't order the chicken curry. Unless you want chicken stew. It's a very tasty stew, but it's soooo not curry.

In Glasgow, you can order the popular local dish, the Chicken Tikka Masala. I kid you not.

There's a great Italian takeaway in Embra called L'Alba D'Oro - try their Pizza Maria Rosa. I had thought that pizza originated in Merka, since that's where tomatoes2 come from, but t'internet says otherwise and who am I to argue?

Hamburgers, OTOH, are as Merkan as mom and apple-pie, right? As long as you count Hamburg, Germany as being in Merka. It would certainly explain why hamburgers generally are made from bits of dead cow, not pig.

I had my first taste of Japanese food in North Carolina, USA. No, not dead whale, as it happens, but a very nice selection of dips and that. (Not including fish; the only fish I really like is anchovy. On pizza.) It was also the first time I saw a chef set fire to a meal and get applause instead of a good thrashing.

Which brings us to that most Scotch of all foods - Haggis. It's surprisingly hard to find a restaurant in Embra that serves this delicacy, possibly because of the creature's3 increasing rarity. But there are one or two establishments that still employ seasonal haggis hunters, and a pretty penny they fetch too.

One such place is the Stac Polly in Dublin Street, which today served a haggis starter, a main course of beef stew and a delicious cranach dessert with raspberries. My dining companion had the fish; he then remarked that he wasn't used to having a sauce on his fish, as it tended to make the batter stick to the newspaper. Quality, man!

Anyone who says Haggis is originally an Algerian dish is talking a load of tripe.

1 UK Chips = US French Freedom Fries.

2 Tomato factoid - Merkans used to think tomatoes were poisonous, being related to Deadly Nightshade.

3 A haggis is a small four-legged Scottish Highland creature, which has the limbs on one side shorter than the other side. This means that it is well adapted to run around the hills at a steady altitude, without either ascending or descending. However a haggis can easily be caught by running around the hill in the opposite direction.


lady macleod said...

I'm making notes...

Mr Farty said...

Lady M - Post-its?

rilly super said...

there used to be haggis living in the north of england too mr farty, but sadly they couldn't compete with the more adapatable and vigorous black puddings, sigh

Mr H said...

Greatest. Food. Ever..............

Doner Calzone!

Wrap a kebab in a pizza.


Only in Scotchland.

john.g. said...

Those Haggis are canny bastards, we tried what you said years ago, and they flew off!!

Mr Farty said...

Rilly - Eeh by gum, ecky thump etc.

Stu - I mean Mr H - Can't fecking stand kebabs. They always make me think of Jade Goody.

John - That's what the butterfly net's for, ye eejit!