How I ate my first Paella, in Spain

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Okay, I’m gonna tell you the story of how I ate my first paella. Wait, this isn’t a “How I met your mother” story, I won’t keep you guys here for 9 seasons to know how it happened, but I gotta tell you a short story first.

Why paella?

I’m a foodie. I love eating. I love trying different types of food, especially when I’m travelling. Thus, my search for a delicious paella started when I flew to Madrid with my friend Marco. First thing I tell Marco: I wanted to try paella for the first time and it has to be in Spain.

Seafood paella

Seafood paella

Marco has a very selective taste and there are not many things that he’s up to when it comes to food. So I knew that it’d be a challenge. Secondly, we didn’t know where we could eat it. If we were going to try it, it had to be a good one. Last but not least, we didn’t have a lot of money. Big challenge!

When we were walking around Madrid we had the chance to see a lot of mouth-watering paellas, but once we were going to meet a Spanish friend of Marco, we decided it would be smart to wait and ask him for a good spot to try it. When we met Jose Maria we got a bit disappointed.  He told us that it would be difficult to find a really good and traditional paella in the places that we were going to. Plenty of restaurants cook frozen paellas, and we wanted to try a typical, homemade or freshly prepared one. Keeping it in mind, we didn’t try it in Madrid, nor in Bilbao, Santander and San Sebastian.

Marco and I had different destinations after San Sebastian and I flew to Barcelona alone. I was determined to find a place to eat paella. Unfortunately, I spent four days in Barcelona, surrounded by Turkish and Italian, and didn’t have the chance to talk to a nice Spanish to ask for a good place to try it. I was leaving Barcelona a bit upset, as I would spend only one more day and a half in Spain and didn’t know if I would have time to eat paella anymore.

Zaragoza: last destination in Spain, last chance to try a paella

So I arrived in a boiling Zaragoza, where I’d be couchsurfing for the first time alone, and it was about lunch time. So I was a bit hungry when I took the bus to my host’s house. As I arrived at her place, she introduced me to her friend and told me that another friend would come by as well. And as soon as we were introduced, she says something I will always remember: “Hector, I don’t know if you like it, but I’ve cooked a paella for us. It’s boiling outside so I’d like to stay here, eat a paella and drink wine. If you don’t mind …”

She had cooked a paella!!! A paella!! Can you believe it??? I had been searching for a paella for almost two weeks through a few cities in Spain, I dreamt about eating paella and in the last city, my host offered me a homemade one. It was just amazing. No need to tell that it was delicious and I was very happy and thankful for what she had done.

Her friends were great too and we ended up in a party in the roof of a building, with a lotta people there. But the party and how I tried Spanish Tapas for the first time could be described in post.

With my host and her friend in Zaragoza (Spain).

With my host and her friend in Zaragoza (Spain).

This experience made me start thinking about how certain things happens for a reason. It’s hard to believe in luck, but once you put your though and your energy into something, destiny leads you to your goals and put people on your way to help you out. It was the first of a series of things that happened while I was travelling and surprised me in an amazing way.

Do you have any interesting stories about when you ate something abroad?

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One thought on “How I ate my first Paella, in Spain

  1. Pingback: Recipe Variations of Paella Flavors You Can Cook | What To Do When You Travel To Madrid?

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