Saturday, 8 September 2007

Stinginess in Cuba, 1 peso eats

We are now in Cuba, where the political situation certainly impacts the food available in several noticeable ways:

1- The unofficial economy is not. I see no street vendors, no gloriously colourful markets, no hawking of strange foods. A reminder that tower blocks are not the only face of capitalism.
2- Even the official shops that are allowed really aren't brimming with choice. This is an island in a way which not many places are any more.
3- A lot of stuff is very expensive for tourists; not unrelated to the fact that there are fairly clearly delineated places for them to be, and a separate currency.

I want to make it clear that I am not being a sourpuss. There are real world reasons for this situation that override anyone's need for a nice bouncy sandwich. But overall, pretty much all the food we have had in restaurants has been like school dinners. So we have decided to take a fuel- centric attitude to food while we are here, to skip the (relatively) high prices and generally just revel in being stingy. Here are our discoveries:

Cheap option 1 - Actually, there are a couple of places on the seafront (no no, think oil slick and anti- erosion concrete) that will serve a pretty rubbish mozzarella pizza for a peso or two. It may not be amazing, but cheese and bread is never inedible. And they don't seem to mind you drinking your own bottled water.

Cheap option 2 - Petrol stations seem to have a standard range of microwavable goodies that are equally cheap at a couple of Pesos Convertibles, and they don't bat an eye at serving foreigners.

Cheap option 3 - MASSIVE bread. We got this from a shop that sold pop, newspapers etc. It looked very filling at 1 peso, but on closer inspection proved to be several hundreds of years old. It was mummified rather than rotten however, and would be be edible if you either have the use of a funnel to collect the cloud of crumbs that it becomes upon any attempt to pierce its carapace, or you are willing to mash it up with some water into a slimy but intact dough.

More stinginess tips coming!


Lindsay said...

ROLF. Rolling on the Floor Laughing with all the memories...o o o good times eh

xhalmers_860 said...


Great. Now everyone's gonna know my girlfriend is stupid and not cool on the web