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Published: January 5th 2014
You see that 2-eyed head there?I do not know the difference between a mercado and a palenque. Back home, we say palenque. But whatever and however it is called here, I am truly fascinated by the mercados of Madrid. Shopped there, dined there, spent many hours there. I remember last year when i came to live with my niece here for nearly 3 months. I would go to the market to buy dinner and soon enough made a few favorite carniceria and pescado y mariscos stalls, drooled on jamon y quezos, claimed a stool to start a desayuno habit of ordering my favorite simple breakfast of tostada con tomate y café cortado. You bet I promptly acquired a daily habit here.
Poor lamb. Suckling pig, lamb's head.... On display.
The 'Real' Palenques Mercado de Maravillas is just a block or so away from homebase. The lady manning the stall where I point to the fish I like to buy would even give me unsolicited advice on how to cook the pescado. All in Spanish. I told her at least twice that I don't understand (no intiendo!) but there's no stopping her. She must like seeing me! In time, I depended on her suggested pescados for grilling (plancha), con
My, they're huge!
harina (floured) then frito (fried), con caldo (with soup?), etc. I almost looked forward to seeing her, until there was too much fish for 2 persons in our home. 😊
I also made friends with the Carniceria man who seems to know only one other Filipino : Manny Pacquiao. He must be a boxing fan. This man tried to get me to buy a whole suckling pig the size of a pet puppy. 😞 Another time, he egged me to buy a cordero, even showing me the lamb's 2-eyed head! He loves "surprising" me. Just before I leave his stall, he'd do his standard 1-2 punch in the air...... a la Manny Pacquiao, he says. What a clown. I also dropped in in Mercado de la Paz in the posh Salamanca district of Madrid, if only to check if they are selling better goods there or if the prices are higher. Same, same, though I found many exotic fruits here like the fruits to be found in Barcelona's La Bouqueria. I also found the biggest (next to an ostrich) eggs there. Goose eggs. Here in Paz, as in
Mercado de San Miguel
To shop or to dine? To eat, or to drink? Or all of the above?
Maravillas, I have eaten breakfast and people-watched and enjoyed it. I can make a career out of this.
The Pseudo-Resto Mercados
For lack of an appropriate term, I'm calling them pseudo-resto mercados. You can do your marketing here but people come here more to dine, drink and socialize rather than to buy dinner to cook at home. I have earlier blogged on Mercado de San Miguel near Plaza Mayor, one of my favorite places. Went there before so many times for my vino y croquetas fix. Tried their boquerones, tortas, quezos, paella, postres, etc. The only problem is that the place is always packed full with locals and tourists. Thank God a friend brought me to a similar mercado that is below the tourist radar. But you still find a crowd of locals here at peak hours. Mercado de San Anton can be found in the gay neighborhood of Chueca. I managed to grab seats here the few times I went. So much better than dining on your feet in Mercado de San Miguel. One stall has pintxos of very good anchoas del cantabrico which I love. Muy fino, muy delicioso. Plus you can keep
Mercado de San Anton
My kind of place. More 'quiet' than Mercado de San Miguel.
going back to try ALL the different bacalao pintxos. Had them with coffee, with rioja, with sidra, with coca cola. But those bacalao offerings are good excuses to keep going back to this mercado along Calle Augusto Figueroa, just 3 blocks off Gran Via. Get off at the Gran Via Station and start walking towards Calle Fuencarral then turn right at Calle Figueroa. Bet you'd love these mercados or palenques as much as i do!
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