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We are in Riga, Latvia for a long weekend to celebrate my 40th birthday. Luckily for us the Riga Street Food Festival was on today.
The edge of the old town was full of people, some Latvian, some Russian and some from further afield like us Australians and a Korean man with a selfie stick who was interviewing a bemused Latvian woman.
The food was freshly prepared on site. Some stalls used wild ingredients like wild bore. Some cooked over coal fires. The recipes seemed local. It seemed authentic and I didn’t see any pizza anywhere.
We tried a freshly made venison pie (even the pastry was rolled on the spot and the venison patty had been barbecued over coals) with caramelised onion. The pastry was tasty but the venison patty was rare and the onion was overwhelming so I didn’t love it.
And a pork with pickled unidentified green vegetable, honey mustard sauce and lettuce on a wrap with homemade bread. My 9 year old daughter chose this and she doesn’t normally eat meat so the pork was challenging but she really didn’t like the ‘slimy’ vegetable. I finished off the pork and that was nice.
And pancakes with cream, a sweet sauce, honey on the comb, little chocolates like mini M&Ms and other goodies. This was extremely messy and sticky to eat. My 7 year old son didn’t like the honeycomb and refused to eat past it so I finished it off, just managing not to dribble it on my coat. Afterwards I found fresh white snow and used that to clean some of the stickiness from my hands.
We saw plenty of funky hipster beards and tattoos that one expects to see in Riga.
Finally I tried a large cup of oxtail soup garnished with chopped fresh herbs. It was the best dish that I tried and easy to eat without making a mess too.
I enjoyed going to the Riga Street Food Festival. I wouldn’t travel here specifically to go to it next year but I’m glad that it was on while we are here. I don’t love Latvian food but I enjoy some dishes or at least parts of the dishes. It is more sophisticated than Norwegian cuisine (but that’s not difficult to achieve!) and there are similarities to Polish food. Now I’m looking forward to a return to my normal diet that is dominated by fresh vegetables!