For anyone spending more than a week in Spain, it’s inevitable that at some point you’ll end up in Mercadona supermarket. Having lived in Spain, on and off, for a number of years, it’s our first pit-stop when we touch down so we can stock up on supplies and start menu planning. All together now: “Merca-don-aaaaa, Mercadonaaaaaaa…” Once you’ve been, you’ll have their catchy little jingle embedded like an ear worm.
The supermarket’s fish counter, to those of us who grew up in the UK, is a wonder. A vast array of the freshest fish – some recognisable, some not so – are on offer daily. Visit on a Friday and Saturday and you’ll need to take a ticket and join the queue of Spanish (usually) women as they jostle and manoeuvre for the best of what’s on offer. Nearly always run by women in their green and orange rubber gear and huge gauntlets, always immaculately made-up, ask for a whole fish “limpio” and they’ll expertly de-scale, de-bone and gut it for you.