Mouthwatering Murcian Morsels

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Spanish Food Paella

Did you know that paella is actually the name of the large pan that the rice is cooked in? In a more local restaurant you won’t actually see ‘Paella’ on the menu. Rather you’ll read the heading “Arroces” which is Spanish for ‘rices’. Under the heading you’ll then see the different rice dishes that the restaurant serves (seafood, chicken, chorizo etc.).


I’ve dined at my fair share of Spanish restaurants back home in Australia; eaten Paella, chorizo, various tapas, drunk Sangria. However, upon arriving in Spain, I’ve found that each region has its own specialty dishes and variations that you might not normally associate with ‘Spanish food’.

The region of Murcia is no different, dining on delightful some regional favourites. Several of the locals I spoke to recommended Los Arroces de Segis as a restaurant that serves up the best the region has to offer. So, naturally I found a friend and made my way straight there!

Los Arroces is open only for Lunch, 13:30-16:30. In Spain, the afternoon meal is usually eaten somewhere between 2pm and 4pm and is followed by siesta – a short nap or rest. Just about all shops (except restaurants) are closed from 2pm-5pm and some (like banks) don’t even reopen, while others will reopen from about 5 – 8pm or 9pm before the lighter, evening meal.

We opted for the set menu so we could have a small taste of all the Murcian delights. And here they are!

To start with, we had the Ensaladilla Rusa (Russian Salad) and a Plato de Embutido (tasting plate with salami, cheese and almonds). The Russian Salad was interesting, the way it was presented made it look like a mound of cream cheese, but in fact, it is a salad of mashed potatoes, peas and carrots covered in a thick layer of mayonnaise! The local cheese was sharp and full-flavoured, like a matured pecorino and, the Russian Salad however, not exactly my cup of tea. That being said, I’ve never been a fan of creamy/mayonnaise-y potato salads, so I think that is more of a personal preference.

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Ensalada murciana (Murcian Salad) and Huevos rotos con patatas (scrambled eggs with potatoes) then followed. Along with some garlic bread and pureed roast capsicum. Mucia’s salad was simple yet delicious; tinned tomatoes (occasionally served using fresh tomatoes but not today), boiled egg, tuna, olives and plenty of olive oil – definitely more my kind of salad than the Russian Salad! While in the egg and potato scramble there were some still some gooey yolks left by the time it came to the table – yum!

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For the ‘Arroces’ main dish, we chose the traditional Murcian option – Arroces con Conejo y Serranas (rice with rabbit and snails). Having spend time walking around Murcia and its countryside, it’s easy to see why rabbits and snails feature in the region’s rice dish – there is a significant abundance of both everywhere! And our chef (see the video below) certainly made them taste divine! The rice dish itself was quite simple in ingredients – just rice cooked in stock, saffron, olive oil, rabbits and snails and salt/pepper seasoning. Perfect.


And the finished product!

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I think some people might baulk at the mention of snails and I guess everyone is different, but really don’t mind them. I find the texture similar to that of mussels and the flavour is just that of whatever you cook them with (garlic, basil, saffron, etc.). The rice was perfectly cooked in the paella pan, only 1-2 grains in depth and cooked quite quickly and aldente.

By the time we were done with the rabbit and snails, I didn’t think I had room for dessert.  But then this house-made Flan (with a coffee/chocolate/caramel sauce) and FRESH DATES came out. Amazing! I’d never eaten fresh dates before (only dried ones) and they are so delicious, beautifully sweet like dried dates, but much more refreshing.

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As a keepsake, the generous owner, Alberto, gave us a set of wine glasses with the restaurant’s name engraved on them! A surprisingly lovely gesture and wonderful end to a delicious afternoon!



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