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One of the best parts of venturing outside your home country is trying the strange, bizarre, and unique foods of another land. Alicante in the south of the Iberian Peninsula contains flavors from Spain, Morocco, and the entire Mediterranean Sea, all of which have been combined by enterprising chefs over the years.
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The clash of cultures, both Middle East and West, has produced a number of fascinating food rituals as well. This is a compilation of the five most bizarre foods and rituals you’ll find in Alicante.
Alicante’s “Black Rice” gets its color from the squid it’s cooked with. More precisely, the squid’s ink makes the meal turn black. It is quite a delicacy all over Spain if cooked properly, and the southern Spanish penchant for saffron rice works very well. Ink tends to have a distinctive thick, heady taste, which gets soaked up by the rice and transformed by garlic and saffron.
Cooked right, you barely taste the ink at all; instead, the meal tastes like an exceptionally rich, earthy saffron dish, with both pop and depth.
Grapes at New Year’s Midnight
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The most interesting Alicante food tradition is that of eating grapes at midnight on New Year’s Day. If you make your travel plans early, you can get cheap flights to Alicante to experience this tradition where it was born.
The tradition is practiced all over Spain, but due to Alicante’s fertile fields, that’s where it began. As you’re rounding up the liquor and foodstuffs for your New Year’s party in Spain, make sure you grab a bunch of grapes. Everyone can feed everyone like emperors and empresses in honor of the new year.
Tocino de Cielo
Translated, this means “bacon from heaven.” There is no literal bacon in this dish; it’s bacon in the metaphorical sense, as in, “endless divine orgasm” or “sex slathered in syrup.” Um…yes please? This dessert will leave you begging for more.
It consists of caramelized egg yolks, light and puffy as a pastry, with dark syrup on top. It actually gets its name because it looks like thick slabs of bacon (before they get cut up), and it was invented and handed out by nuns in the 12th century, because wine production used a lot of egg whites and they didn’t want the yolks to go to waste. See, this blog is titillating AND educational.
Pollo Frito de Kentucky
This strange and bizarre dish has caught on all over the world, from Asia to Africa to North America. Alicante is truly a global city, and the presence of Pollo Frito de Kentucky only proves the diversity and strangeness of the foods offered here.
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Typically, the Pollo Frito, or “Fried Chicken,” is served in a large bucket, and eaten in front of a glowing box called a “television.” Known for its levels of grease and its “mystery meat” quality, Pollo Frito de Kentucky, or PFK, is a delicacy everyone should try at least once, especially if you’re stoned. Located at Rambla Mendez Nunez 16 in Alicante. They’re everywhere.
Zarzuela de Mariscos
This isn’t so much “bizarre” as it is the perfect dish mixing Moorish and Spanish ingredients. It’s a lobster, prawn, crayfish, and crab dish, all claws and spikes and blood-red sauce flavored with tomato paste, wine, brandy and an almond-hazelnut-garlic paste.
It’s spicy, but manages to combine the perkiness of the garlic paste with the complexity of the seafood and the depth of the alcohol.