Tuesday, September 24, 2013

How to eat Barbounia

By far one of my favorite fish to eat is fresh caught and fresh fried Barbounia,
crispy from head to tail.
They are small and delicious…for you xeni, they are red mullets.

There is an old Greek expression that says,
“The cats in Greece do not eat Barbounia, there is never anything left for them.”

I go with some Greek friends to
a small place owned and run by a fisherman and his wife,
We eat there a couple of times a month.
Freshly caught Barbounia, a good Greek salad, Tsipouro, ice and water, best meze possible.
OK, before I get complaints, it is pretty good with Ouzo as well.

Obviously the place, like all Greek tavernas has its share of cats,
Although these are never pests and do not beg for scraps,
especially if you have ordered Barbounia. How do they know?
We have many friends in the area and sometimes they join us,
the men at least, since this is a man-thing.

They are not Greeks and they do not really know how to eat Barbounia.
They leave the heads and try to take the skin off, and all tails are left on their plate.
They even order beer…you guessed it, British.

The cats seem to know that these guys will leave some of their Barbounia,
they probably hear them speak English.
My American accent keeps the cats away, just like Greek does.

For the best Barbounia and the smartest cats, go to Giorgo’s place,
Just do not speak English, especially with a British accent.


  1. I love it how the cats know when to hang around and at whose feet they choose to beg at....I must confess when I first ate Barbounia, I, like all the foreigners, left the heads and tails and always fed them to the stray cats, that is until I decided to be brave and eat the tail and the fin's....Well they were really delicious. They tasted like crispy chips and I've never left them on the side of my plate since...now about the heads

  2. Agree with Jeannine, I eat the tails and the cheeks of the heads, but not the heads themselves, though I do eat Singaporean fish head soup. Another thing, when did barbouni get so small? When I was a boy they seemed to be much bigger? Is that me growing, or them shrinking?