Fish on a stick

Thursday, day 11

Last night we ate dinner on the beach. I can’t wait to introduce Tiny and my various visitors to this experience. Along the beach road in Dili are a number of food stalls, cooking up barbecued fish, chicken, and corn. Some stalls also sell a delicious local dish that is rice poached for several hours in coconut milk, wrapped in banana leaves, and eaten with ai-manas (a fiercely hot chilli pesto).

I ordered a piece of fish for myself, and it came to me whole, barbecued on a skewer. “How am I going to eat this?” I asked the others somewhat self-consciously (they were all vegetarians so weren’t planning to partake). These stalls don’t have cutlery of any kind. The young girl who sold it to me produced a small machete when I mimed my interest in having eating utensils of some kind. In the end I ate it much the same way I would eat a corn on the cob, but navigating bones more carefully than one might need to navigate corn kernels.

It was the best fish I have eaten in ages! Fresh, crispy skinned, cooked with some secret herbs and spices, I’d say, and rich, creamy flesh. Mmmm. Great food, idyllic location (and the added bonus is that there are fewer mosquitos by the sea).

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