Bulgarian Toundzha Fish

Bulgaria never fails to amaze in every aspect and today was no exception in town of Yambol my Monday to Friday home. Yambol has the River Toundzha which hold a fascination not only from the point of beauty as it meanders through the town but from a point of practical uses. I was about to find out one of them this evening.

A hard day work had finished and a pleasant walk back home was made in the warm September sunshine that continues to dominate the weather outside my vacation dates! It was a good hunger that builds up every day at this time to find that dinner is always in progress in the kitchen on my arrival every evening just before 6:00. Well this is to be expected from Galia and her Baba Mama who through tradition have found it their duty to prepare food for the working men of the house. Galia's son and myself turn up at about the same time each evening and today was no exception.

As I entered the house there was something different about this evening, there was a sense of excitement and buzz in the house as I heard this distant sizzling coming from the kitchen. The area was approached and a smell of fish was in the air, my mouth was watering already.

Galia's had brought home some fish that he and his brother had caught from the River Toundzha today. I could see that they had already been gutted and minus heads, lucky old Alex another Bulgarian doorbell dog got these for his evening meal to hsi delight!. The very simple process was in progress of dipping the fish in flour and frying in a shallow pan of sunflower oil was all that was needed in the cooking.

Before long we had a plate of Toundzha fish ready to eat but where were the chips? A natural reaction to any Brit seeing fish on the menu. The answer was no chips but beer - but somehow fish and beer had this chalk and cheese feeling about it, this thought soon changed a few moments later.

We sat down to the fish dish and a glass of cold Shumensko Beer, soft fresh Yambol baked bread and raw garlic leaving yet again another taste from heaven in Bulgaria. The bones took a little negotiating but after a little while you gain the technique where the meat just falls away from the bone. This left sweet succulent meat that just melts in the mouth. The mouthful of fish was followed by a bite of the raw garlic and a piece of bread and washed down each tie with a sip of beer after a 'Nastravay!' It really was a quite like synchronized fish eating.

What adds to the celebration eating of this fish meal is that it was all free bar beer and bread. The whole meal cost around three leva for a sitting of four and still enough for another sitting! this is how it is in Bulgaria, making the most of natural resources around them, fishing for food is included in this.

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