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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

My First “Real” Chinatown in Italy

The rain in Rome, which has been drenching the city for 10 days, finally let up yesterday. I have wanted to shop at the Chinatown in Rome for months. We parked in Piazza Vittorio and walked all around this piazza and its surrounding streets. Instead of being just a few shops here and there like in Torino, this area contained blocks and blocks of cultural shops. It was lunchtime; most of the Chinese shopkeepers were huddling in their shops eating noodle bowls. I could smell the aroma of chilies and broth wafting through the streets. The Chinese shops sold clothing, shoes, groceries and household items. I walked into a few shops to see what they had to offer. To my delight I found the same sharpening stone and the same meat cleaver I left in Seattle. Another good find was a Gambero Rosso recommended Chinese restaurant, I sampled a few traditional dishes and left the restaurant thinking “not bad”. We will probably go back again and sample more dishes next time. Check back for a full report with photos.

This area is known as one of the ethnic areas in Rome. In addition to the Chinese shops, I also found some great bead shops more like bead bazaars, which seemed to be operated by Arabic shopkeepers. There were simple beads, semi-precious stones of all types and silver by the gram. I took a mental note and planned to come back when my own supply needed replenishment. My main agenda on this day was to look for a tortilla press. After the bad experience I had at the Mexican place called Malibu in Torino, I thought I would try to make my own corn tortillas. Piazza Vittorio was a bit short on Hispanic shops so I did not accomplish my mission. Still I am not discouraged, the hunt will continue with an order from the U.S. or a more exhaustive search in Rome.

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At 8:58 AM, Blogger Stelle In Italia said...

Chinatown in Rome sounds great--I will definitely add that on my list of must-do's when I go back. No Chinatowns here in Macerata, that's for sure!

Let me know about your progress on finding a tortilla press. I've made some tortillas from scratch, but I've never had a press. I've been buying bags of tortillas here, as well, or ordering from the online Texmex site (http://www.texmexfood.net/) as well.

Have a great Epiphany!


At 10:37 AM, Anonymous Laurie said...

I promise to look for a tortilla press to bring back from NY, and even maybe some extras for Jackie etc...No longer content with my aspirations to become a full time casalinga, I think what I really want to be when I grow up is a tortilla maker.....

At 10:45 PM, Anonymous trench said...

Tortilla's are the best with Chicken or Beef Keleguen. Im gonna call my wife to pick some up today! thanks for the thought! haha.

At 3:45 AM, Anonymous Alberto said...

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At 8:50 AM, Blogger Stelle In Italia said...

Laurie: thanks for looking out for tortilla products in NY! I'm with you on becoming a professional tortilla maker: wanna open up a mexican restaurant :)?


At 2:06 PM, Blogger Gia-Gina said...

Thank you so much for the tip. I don't think this is the Alberto I know from Chivasso so whoever you are check back and I will let you know if I find the tortilla press the next time I am in Rome.

At 9:56 PM, Anonymous Jen said...

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PS: What type of cat is Bak-Gai? He is beautiful.

At 5:36 PM, Blogger GC PHILO said...

A Chinese/General-Asian grocery store just opened up here in Cadiz a few weeks ago. I was so shocked when I walked by it, but thanked my lucky stars! The next day, I went and bought two bags of dried shitake, a large bottle of Kikkoman, and some spicy bean curd. Let the good times role!


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