Tinto de verano in Melilla
It’s 90 degrees in the shade of a 15th-century Spanish fort. We’re 100 miles from what locals call La Peninsula, sandwiched on a thin strip on Africa separated from Morocco by seven miles of heavily reinforced fence and a dizzying array of bureaucratic restrictions. The tinto de verano—cheap red wine mixed with carbonated lemonade and topped with a refreshing slice of lemon—is almost as satisfying as the siesta that awaits me next.
We’re in Melilla, one of the two Spanish enclaves technically on the African coast. This would be Morocco, except for centuries of history and Madrid’s refusal to consider it anything but its own territory. The town’s borders, legend goes, extend as far as a cannonball could fly from … Read the rest
Burek in Pancevo, Serbia
Behind the counter were two round, flaky spirals of dough, each about 10 inches wide and filled with a different blend of feta cheese. “I’ll try a little bit of both,” I told the woman standing behind the counter. I was hoping for a sliver of each; instead, I ended up with two pie-sized slices. I didn’t protest, both because I didn’t speak much Serbian, and because—I’ll admit—the slices looked damn good.
As she chopped the slices and added a container of burek’s traditional accompaniment, yogurt, to my tray of food, I pulled out my wallet. She shook her head, smiling behind stylish black glasses. “It’s a gift,” she told me. “Come back and pay next time.” This time, I did protest; … Read the rest
Merienda in Manila
Below a posh cafe close to where I live in Manila, a lady works her gas stove promptly, every morning at 10. In a small bamboo shack with wire screen windows, she heats a large wok of oil. For the next hour, she prepares mouth-watering turon—a kind of banana spring roll. The wok is filled with saba, or cooking bananas, and jackfruit dusted in brown sugar and neatly rolled in flour wrappers. They are then fried to a golden crisp.
In another wok, a savory alternative of lumpia, or vegetable spring rolls, is submerged in hot oil. Before sunset, the woman sells everything to students and teachers at the nearby school, and her wares far outshine the stodgy muffins presented at … Read the rest