I rarely order shrimp unless I know I’m going to get the good stuff like a perfectly battered and fried, non-greasy shrimp tempura or super fresh amaebi (raw sweet shrimp) when it’s in season. Shrimp usually takes a back seat to the other sea creatures I prefer but everyone keeps raving about the shrimp in San Sebastián. There are some pintxo bars specializing in shrimp but I always figure, why waste calories and cholesterol on something I don’t love? (I’d rather save my c&c’s for unctuous uni). One day I was pintxo hopping with a friend on Calle Fermín Calbeton, one of my favorite streets in Parte Vieja and we entered Bar Goiz-Argi. Normally I wander into places having done some homework but we entered and the name sounded familiar but I couldn’t recall what I had read about this place because when you fill your head with so much of the same Basque font and un monton de pintxo places, you sometimes forget which is what which is good, where? The owner swore by the shrimp. I hesitated. He insisted. Oído.
brocheta de gambas
Surprisingly succulent! Tender, grilled shrimp with sweet and slightly spicy (for the European palate) onion, carrot and peppers with a special vinaigrette. Super bien. Go get it.
It’s easy to befriend pintxo owners when they recommend delicious house specialties and take an interest in my being foreign. Upon entering, I was greeted with an enthusiastic ‘konnichiwa!’ and this japanese magazine.
Of course I always play the where.are.you.from game, which encompasses many questions, really. Where was I born? Where did I grow up? Where are my parents from? Why do I speak Spanish?
As an international nomad, I’m accustomed to this now and feed the curiosities of strangers who find me eccentric. Sometimes I like to play along with the presupposed conjectures as was the case here. No harm in it. If it makes you happy, I will be more Japanese for you. Plus I like to ‘read’ Japanese magazines so woohoo!
I have yet to encounter the Basque stigma of reticence. To me, they are quite chatty conversation partners. Perhaps it’s a matter of perspective. My credo? Simple: Do unto others. Treat strangers (especially if you’re in their territory, their home) with respect and courtesy, as you would like to be treated. And smile.