Day 74 – Free empanada cooking class

Despite all the wine and food we ate the previous day, we didn’t have a hangover and even managed to grab some of the free breakfast which was excellent at the Empedrado Hostel. We took it pretty easy during the day and visited the mercado central which was just a couple of blocks from the hostel.

I don’t know what it exactly is but we seem to be drawn towards the markets. We eat a lot at markets mainly because it’s cheap and you get to sample the local food. It might not be top notch cuisine that you might get from restaurants but it’s great fun and it has much more of an atmosphere. We’ve often been the only gringos in some of the markets but you generally get the odd tourist sitting down for a meal. You generally start up a conversation with a local about where you are from etc and it’s a good chance to practice some Spanish. Trying to order two bananas normally ends up with 2 kilos of bananas, but it’s all good fun.

As mercado central’s go, the one in Mendoza was pretty posh with cheeses, dried meats and eating areas with heating. We picked up some chicken wings for cooking congee (Chinese rice porridge) and some other ingredients for other meals. For some reason we didn’t take any photos, maybe because we were too captivated with all the different types of food on show.

If you’d like to see some pics of the market see here and here, as you’ll see it’s a slightly posher market.

We headed back to the hostel for lunch and then watched some movies in the TV room which offered stacks of movies to watch. We had also picked up some movies from a street vendor who was selling copied DVD’s, interestingly they were all pushing the new Smurfs DVD.

In the evening we had our glass of wine and took part in the free empanadas cooking class held every week at the hostel.  So far empanadas have been one of our favorite snacks in South America. It’s great to go to a different country, or even a different city and try the Empanadas which all have regional differences.

In our class, we just went for the standard mince meat empanadas. A “chef”, just some fella who turned up, showed us how to prepare the filling which was meat, onions and various spices.

Expecting to then make the outer pastry ourselves he pulled out a bag of pre-made empanada pastry from the local supermarket, explaining you can get it from any local supermarket – not sure about that in England? After rolling the pastry a little we added the filling, folded it over to make a small pocket and them popped them into the oven.

With about 10 people all making them there was about 4 ovens on the go. As empanadas go, they were a pretty good effort for a first go. We managed to eat around 3 each. Not bad for a free cooking lesson!

The boys (John and Tom) were still hungry so we cooked a meal of beef and veg in blackbean sauce for Tom and Lauren. They’re cooking us a meal tomorrow!

About Julia Chan

I’m Julia and I've just returned from the adventure of my life. I went travelling around South America, the South Pacific and South East Asia for 12 months, and I'd do it all over again if I could! Julia on Google+
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