Thursday, 21 September 2017
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Sicilian gastronomy

Street Food and Ancient Markets

Street food is the term used in order to refer to the typical barrows of Palermo, where it is possible to try different traditional recipes. Those barrows are still present in the whole city and above all in the popular districts at the edge of big historical markets such as: the Vucciria (from French boucherie - butcher's shop), the Capo, Ballar˛ (perhaps the most multiethnic corner in the city) and Borgo Vecchio. You can get it following the strong smell of fried food: put in big vessels covered by paper, the typical "panelle", above mentioned, are on show behind the glass, to be tasted with big bun of bread and sesame, often combined with the fried "cazzilli" (that is croquettes made with potatoes and then fried with oil). Not less delicious are the fried aubergines or the "cicireddu", that is, a very small fish dipped in flour and fried at the moment. The sign "pani cÓ meusa" still exists at the door of different food shops. This means in those shops the tradition is really respected. It's a very tasty food, but it is reserved to people who have strong palates. The ox entrails, spleen and lung, are fried in lard, and then put inside the bread with lemon on or in some cases with ricotta or local cheese. Not less popular is the "stigghiola", skewer of sheep or calf grilled. Born with Arabs, sicilian ancient markets preserve intact the Arab roots of the sicilian culture even in the way of putting the fresh fruit, the orange above all, dried fruit, but also a big variety of exotic products, such as the spices coming from the near and far East, and the olives with their incredible variety and smell of garlic, wild majoram and chilli. Wonderful are the counters of fish, as in the famous Mercato del Pesce of Catania (Fish Market of Catania). Here big sword fishes, dark groupers, gilthead and sargo, mussels and clams, octopus and many others shellfish dominate. They are rich in blue fish, among them: sardines, mackerels, silvery spatula and gurnard. Lobsters of Mazara del Vallo, are well known. Inside the markets of Sicily you can speak, negotiate and live immersed in a world that seems almost a theatre.