In Spain, it is common to eat rice very frequently compared with other countries in Europe. And vegetables, fish, meat, fruits, etc… all types of food as well. Japanese people feel close to this style of Spanish dishes.

We love to eat healthy food, in which have various kinds of nutrition. Moreover, particularly Valencia is the birthplace of paella, that is one of the most typical dishes of Spain. In Japan as well, there are lots of Spanish restaurants, where we could eat paella, and it is one of our favorite foreign dishes.


Myself cooking paella in Horta Viva course


Generally, paella which is known as typical Spanish style dish all over the world is cooked with seafood. However, originally it was cooked with chicken and rabbit, that is called Paella Valenciana. In Valencia, there are a few of restaurants called “arrocería” where we can try a variety of paella. They are specialized in the dishes of rice. When my friends visited me from Japan to Valencia, I treated them to a paella valenciana. At that moment, they knew only seafood paella like me before I came here. Though they said to me that they would like to try popular one (with seafood) of course, I proposed to them trying paella valenciana. Then we ordered it and once we started to eat, we ate it up without any words because it was excellent. After the dinner, my friends told me that paella was the best one in their life. These words made me feel satisfied and now I am proud of paella valenciana. I believe that we should introduce it more to the whole world and you should try it at least one time.


My paella, ¡delicious!


Although the traditional way to cook delicious paella is a little bit tough and it takes long time about 3 hours, to master cooking of paella would be your special skill. At least in my case, to learn one new thing has brought me a new special ability. When I participated the paella cooking course with Horta Viva, I paid too much attention to the paella and stirred it frequently. That is not good for the good paella. The most difficult thing was that we need to take care of it but at the same time, we do not have to mix it too much. Finally I knew the ideal frequency and we cooked delicious paella. As I had imagined, the dish that I made on my own was very good in particular. The process, in which it takes us several hours and lots of effort to make it, would make the paella more delicious with deep taste. For foreigners, this experience of cooking of paella valenciana will be one of the most unique and unforgettable memories in their lifetime.


Mediterranean way of live, to eat together.


Also I like Spanish habit of eating together. Usually Spanish people do not eat alone because they consider that an action of eating means not only to take nutrition but also to talk with others. If you eat alone, you look for Spanish people to be very sad and lonely. Since in Spain there are not many places to eat alone, I did not know what to eat out when I just arrived here. Even the cafes are always crowded with people in groups, with friends, family members or at least with not strangers.

Meanwhile, in japan there are a variety of restaurants and cafes where we often eat alone. For that reason of this situation here, I had a few trouble in it. However, as time passed on, I adapted to a new culture and became to eat with others. Now almost every day I have a dinner with my roommates as often as possible. Paella is especially one of the most common plate for the weekends with all family members. In the paella cooking course of Horta Viva as well, we all ate together with 7 people, chatting, taking a cup of coffee and some dessert, after paella.


And for the dessert we prepare pumpkin “buñuelos” a local recipe for Fallas festivities.


We Japanese people also have this kind of time after the dinner and we have some cups of tea and talk with each other, but it is not so long as here. I think this way of communication with others is very important and precious in this period of telecommunication. For these reasons, I am a big fan of Valencian paella and its culture.

Mizuki Sakamoto
Japanese student in Valencia