From my experience of Eastern Europe, local bars in small towns and villages are not really a place for the young. Whenever I’ve come to Romania, I’ve tended to avoid drinking in the bars in the small towns I stay in as they are full of old men, drinking their sorrows away and they tend to be dark and dingy affairs.
So I wasn’t really expecting to send any beer mats while in Romania. But today was a day of drinking and eating and generally of fun and good times with the family, so a beer mat seems appropriate. I didn’t get it from a bar though…
We went out to the country house (everyone knows someone who lives in the countryside here) where we put a barbeque on. Me being a little fussy, I requested a fresh fish and so we went and bought a 2kg “novac“, which I’ve found out is a bigheaded carp. Fresh fish is generally sold swimming around and is much more expensive than the frozen stuff, so I was told that they would give me it live in a bag. The night before, I schemed up ways to give the poor thing a quick death so as not to have it just suffocate in the boot.
By the time we walked in to the shop, I had steeled myself, ready to deliver a karate chop to the poor bastard’s head, when I saw that the fishmonger had a couple of baseball bats on the counter. I breathed a sigh of relief as he grabbed the novac by the tail and spanked him with the wooden instrument.
We then took the fish and a load of beer and food over to Elena’s brothers house (he’s the one pictured with the fish) and he showed me his new soba (stove/housewarmer) that he’s been building. I’ve never seen the inside of one of these, but it’s like a smoke maze. These things are made out of terracotta and keep the house really warm in the winter and you can cook on them.
The barbeque was chicken, fish and a Romanian speciality called mici, which is like a kofta kebab, and this was followed by raspberries and grapes straight off the vine and a good nap in the sun.
It occurred to me after eating that every country I’ve been to claims that they do the best barbeque. The Americans and Canadians I’ve met all say they do the best, and the Romanians too. I’d love to know what the differences are in grilled meats around the world. Does your country do the best barbeque and why?