Do they serve fish with the head on? This question is usually asked with a lilt of despair and trepidation by first time diners from North America contemplating which Algarve restaurant to visit. And the answer is “yes, most of the time”.
So what are we to do, faint of heart diners who are accustomed to our meat and fish coming to us in a format devoid of reminders that it was once a living being? Well, take heart. As in this picture, many of the fish are served sliced in two, then grilled, so their little faces are cleverly disguised and turned away from us. When they aren’t, as so often happens if we order sardines or mackerel it is easy enough to whack off the head and hide it under a piece of lettuce or slice of tomato or put it on a side plate hidden from view by the condiments.
But I encourage people to simply come to grips with the fact that some creature gave its life so that they can enjoy a delightful meal. Don’t hide from that. Celebrate the fact that you are eating whole food, food so fresh that it doesn’t need to be dismembered, food that is good enough to be offered to you in its entirety. Yummy.
You will certainly earn the respect of wait staff if you don’t quiver, quake and make a big scene when your plate arrives!
And if you can’t wrap your mind around any aspect of looking a fish in the eye, then perhaps you’ll enjoy a pork or chicken meal a little better!