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The Filipino sisters show some of the sushi prepared in the Carmelitas del Realejo convent. Ramón L. Pérez
These are the cloistered nuns who are taking Spain by storm with their incredible sushi rolls and Asian food
Gastronomy

These are the cloistered nuns who are taking Spain by storm with their incredible sushi rolls and Asian food

The dishes made by the Filipino sisters of the Carmelite convent in Granada are so impressive that they were invited to take part in the MasterChef television series

Javier F. Barrera

Granada

Tuesday, 31 October 2023

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Five nuns who arrived to Spain from the Philippines are revolutionising a convent in Granada with their famous sushi rolls.

They work their magic behind the gate between the Casa de los Vinos and La Estrella bar, in a Carmelite monastery in the Realejo neighbourhood. However, the convent is struggling financially.

Despite their sweets and pastries famous all over the city of Granada, it was still not enough to help them pay their bills. "They are only eaten on special occasions, such as Easter or Christmas," said prioress of the Carmelites, Sister María Dolores, who has been at the convent for 54 years

The nuns create their own recipes for almond, lemon and aniseed paste. They also make tomato, pepper, pumpkin, pear and apple marmalade. Coffee, mint and lemon liqueurs are also a big hit. "The latter is made with lots of lemon leaves from the trees in the monastery courtyard, essence, water and sugar. And then, depending on the quantity, a splash of brandy and a little citrus and mint," she added. But all of that is not enough to keep the monastery going. The Carmelites need an average of 1,500 euros a month to live on and pay for the upkeep of the huge building in which the seven of them live, two Spanish and five Filipino nuns. "The only income we have is my pension and Sister Lourdes' half pension, which adds up to 1,300 euros. The rest has to come from our work, which includes washing and ironing bed and table linen".

Ramon L. Perez
Imagen principal - These are the cloistered nuns who are taking Spain by storm with their incredible sushi rolls and Asian food
Imagen secundaria 1 - These are the cloistered nuns who are taking Spain by storm with their incredible sushi rolls and Asian food
Imagen secundaria 2 - These are the cloistered nuns who are taking Spain by storm with their incredible sushi rolls and Asian food

One day, the nuns decided to hold a brainstorming session to come up with new ways of funding. "The Filipino sisters suggested cooking their traditional Asian recipes. It sounded a bit crazy at first, but word of mouth started and the orders came in. "We had help to make big signs at the entrance of the monastery and Sister Monica herself took photos of all the dishes". In order to have a wider reach, they took to social media and are now creating a website to present their unusual products.

Not only have customers knocked on the door of the convent, but television stations such as Tele5 and Canal Sur have made reports about these sushi nuns, as they are known in Granada and throughout Spain. "It has been incredible, overnight the orders have multiplied. We had to go out to stock up on more ingredients - seaweed, rice, sauces, mango, surimi, cucumber, carrots, chicken - because we ran out of everything," said the prioress.

They start cooking at 8am and don't stop until late at night. "In one day we made 200 euros, just what we need to balance our monthly budget," she added. "We have been called from all around the place. One lady even invited us to participate in MasterChef on television. I explained to her that we can't. We are cloistered nuns."

Further information

Where: Calle Monjas Carmen 8, next to Calle Colcha (opposite Los Manueles restaurant).

Telephone orders: 620 50 90 80. No home delivery.

Menu: There are up to 30 different Asian dishes, from sushi to chop suey, chicken katsu, kawali pork belly, sotanghon, spicy noodle soup and Cantonese siu mai.

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