It wasn’t a great spoonful of rasgulla, but that’s not the point.
Fine, food is usually the point, but often I place the same amount of importance in good wandering for the day. Nowadays when I travel, I eschew guidebooks and traditional points of interest and just go for a long walk. Very long. Particularly in places that long ago decided that sidewalks were too pedestrian-friendly, and in those cities where breathing is a task best left to cigarettes.
Nevertheless, I wander, as was the case when I briefly visited Palermo, Sicily, Italy. Beyond a long-winded local population, I expected to see small Indonesian and Filipino communities, due to the cruise and shipping industries. Yep. I was surprised however, to encounter Bangladeshis selling various trinkets and wares throughout much of Palermo’s urban core. I may have also seen some Bengali youths playing cricket, but my mind was likely getting its West and East Pakistans all mixed up.
Naturally, i didn’t buy anything from those vendors, because the last time I did I couldn’t return my “AA½” batteries. Though I did read that many Bangladeshis emigrated to Italy in the 1980s and 1990s, not ONCE did I hear of a “Little Bangladesh” in Sicily. I must not be hanging around the best of circles. In any event, I trudged on with my amble, and came across a street (named Via Calderai) with a few Bengali expat stores. Could Italian-Bengali cuisine – puchka alla vongole – be in the works? Maybe not this century, but a small snack from the subcontinent proves that wandering without having to worry about checking off heavily fortified attractions is both enriching and appetizing.
How do you travel?
How neat it would be if a “Little Bangladesh” in Sicily existed!!!! It saddens me when a food cultures does not thrive after immigration to a new country… 😦
Does Albuquerque have a thriving and diverse food scene? I was there once, in the mid-90s, but that was when I could barely stomach a bell pepper, let alone anything spicy. Also, I remember the airport being surprisingly welcoming, for the US!
Albuquerque does not have as thriving or diverse a food scene as many cities. Nothing like NYC, Atlanta, Chicago, SF, LA, Houston – or even smaller towns like Austin. It is not a “food” town (sadly!). However, the local produce and meats are excellent – we have some great farms and a few couple of creameries (mmm, cheese) down South. The spicy foods you mention – green chile, chile spice blends, big pots of local pinto beans – are probably where NM really shines. 🙂 I have lived here for almost four years – one more year here and then onto new culinary adventures!
Oh, we do have some awesome Vietnamese and Thai foods here – you just have to know where to go – very delicious and authentic. 🙂
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