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Is paella necessarily prepared and served in a paella pan, with a tasty toasty layer of soccarat?

tangoking | Jan 26, 201807:02 PM

Tonight I dined in the Ironbound district of Newark, NJ, which is locally famous for its Portuguese food. I ordered "Paella Valenciana" off the menu. USD 26.95.

It arrived in a largish metal bowl: no paella pan; and most disturbingly, no soccarat at all. In the bottom of said bowl was a lot of rice soaking in about an inch of liquid.

Unable to contain my irritation, when the server inquired about the meal, I tactfully said "This dish was not made in a paella pan; there is no tasty toasty soccarat on the bottom. Is this how the dish is normally served, or did I make a mistake in my ordering?"

He responded, "Our restaurant is a fusion of Portuguese and Spanish; paella is not necessarily served in such a pan. There are different styles of paella."

I said, "thank you." I thought, "That's a crock of shit! Who serves a bowl of seafood and rice, and then has the gall to call it Paella? You're lying, and you're pinching pennies: you're throwing some food in a pot, and not taking the time, effort, and skill to properly make a paella."

So, do I have reason to be annoyed, or was he right, that a paella is not necessarily prepared in a paella pan, and does not necessarily have a nice toasty layer of soccarat?

Thx, tk :^)

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