surinenglish

From sardines to cereals

It might be a good idea to start proposing the traditional 'chiringuito' beach restaurant for world heritage status along with the skewered sardine espetos, because they're an endangered species. It's such a shame because these are things that we don't celebrate much when we have them, but we'd miss dearly if they started to disappear. And every year there are fewer of them.

You can dine well in a whole lot of restaurants in Malaga, but just as well, and with almost the same things on offer, as in any other city or town in Spain and abroad. The majority have nothing special to make them worth remembering. Just ask people who come for the weekend or on holiday where they would like to eat and what they want to order.

The chiringuito is one of those things that you find here and only here, along with the 'venta' inns in the Montes de Málaga, the stalls in the central market where you squeeze in to eat tapas, and the ability to eat fresh fish with your feet in the sand, a beer in your hand as you gaze out across the Mediterranean. Who needs meditation with this dose of mindfulness. We're lucky that the Montes mountains are not an area likely to be pinpointed by a multinational to set up a branch of the type of restaurants that are opening now, which all look like they've been cut from the same pattern, Nordic-looking new furniture with a fake vintage look and chairs that don't match.

Globalisation has done so much damage. We hadn't realised that if we all watched the same series, wore the same clothes, celebrated Halloween and graduation parties after every possible year and travelled to the same places, other things that we did like are going to change as well.

What can you expect from a new generation of kids who might not like having breakfast at home because the milk tastes of cow, but when they start going out with their friends, the coolest thing to do is go to a cereal bar for a bowl of brightly coloured milk with cereals, marshmallows, Smarties and a load of toppings. In other words what we used to call a bowl of milk and cocoa pops. And they charge them five or six euros each, as if it were a gin and tonic. And they love it.

Some time ago I decided that the dishes I like best are those whose flavours hold memories for me: a traditional stew; a proper paella, a cold gazpacho and a slice of potato tortilla.

And the truth is that however many new things I try, some of them really good, I don't get up in the morning with the idea of going back for more of that dish whose ostentatious name I can't remember or its flavour.

We'll end up all drinking coffee in large plastic cups as we hurry through the streets. All in good time.