Thursday, May 22, 2014

My Trip to Madrid, Spain (Day 4): Mercado de San Miguel

On our last full day in Madrid, we left it as a do as you will day. We've seen most of the big sites and hit a lot of big touristy things. So we slowed down this day and did a very relaxing schedule. How European of us, no?
We started the morning at Mercado de San Miguel. Everyone talks about La Boqueria in Barcelona but this market is worth seeing as well. This is less a market to buy produce and meat but more of a market for cooked food and drinks. Think Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, PA. The weekends are packed and crazy so try to go on a weekday instead. You'll be much happier, trust me.

When we first arrived, some stalls were still opening up. But that didn't bother us because the one kiosk with the coffee was up and running already. Caffeine is fuel I drink every day on vacation. As Ms. Poutine Esq quipped, "Caffeine is not a desire. It's a necessity."
As each of the stalls slowly opened up, we occupied a table big enough for us and started to look around the good being offered. We started with a pickle plate. This stall only sold pickled things like pickled cucumbers, onions, olives, peppers. You can get them plain or stuffed with meat, cheese, fish, etc.
Then we picked some seafood tapa to share like whitefish, octopus, raw tuna, and cooked tuna with anchovy. Not bad but not that great either. Though the whitefish was pretty tasty.
A cheese plate for those dairy tolerant. How much do think this would cost in NYC? Well, in Madrid, this was only about 9 euros. CHEAP! You get to pick your own selection of cheese which ranged from manchengo to soft goat cheese to brie, etc. Some crackers on the side and I was one happy camper.
As we drew closer to the afternoon, we got more and more exotic with our choices. These baked scallops were interesting indeed. A creamy cheesy sauce enveloping scallops with a breaded topping. Interesting is definitely the word to describe this. Although I had expected this to taste much like the baked cheese scallop dish you may find in some Cantonese restaurants, this wasn't it. More cream than cheese in this version.
A couple of pintxos to share like raw salmon with crisp potatoes and greens or shrimp and parsley spread. Both fresh and good.
Okay, time to slow down with a big ol' cone of pork rinds. Oh yeah! Crunchy, salty, fried pieces of pig skin. They certainly did it well here. My mouth is watering as I type this out. So good.
Okay, back to business after that small break. Some more pintxos to share like mussels and peppers, chorizo and brie, baby eels, and goat cheese with fig jam. The baby eels were delicious. Again, a delicacy in this country to definitely try some if you're there. In fact, there was a stand that just sold baby eels. It's quite popular.
Ooof, we were pretty full by this point. But then the raw oysters bar opened up and I knew I had to have some. Freshly shucked oysters from a guy who was shucking with his bare hands. Yes, he didn't wear a glove in the hand that was holding the oyster. That's some skill. These briny, salty pockets of oysters were wonderful. The sweet meat, the oceany liquor was all very good. People seemed disinterested so I ate half of these by myself. More for me!
Like I said, I think this market is definitely worth checking out. For the food, for the drinks (yes, you can have a beer, wine, or cava at breakfast. There's some worthy food stalls worth seeking out here. And the people watching is divine.

Mercado de San Miguel
Plaza San Miguel
28005 Madrid, Spain


  1. This seemed like an awesome eating experience!

    Why can't I get pork rinds in NYC that don't come in a bag from a bodega!?!

  2. I want all of these things in my mouth now


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