Travel and Food
Comments 8

Where there is ‘Carnaval’, there is Food!

(This post features Carnaval San Francisco, 2015 held on 23rd and 24th May)

Carnaval San Francisco is a celebration of diverse cultures through a two-day long festival that showcases  art, music and dance of multicultural communities that represent cultural heritages of Brazil, Mexico, Panama, Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, Cuba and more. As a matter of fact, it is the largest celebration of it’s kind in the West Coast. 

The Carnaval had first started in 1979 and represented all the “Latin American culture and the talents of Mission District residents in an atmosphere of harmony and revelry”. This year was the 37th Carnaval which featured 56 contingents of community arts and schools.

This year’s theme was Agua Sagrada, Spanish for ‘sacred water’ denoting the universal reverence to the most basic and essential element of life – water. California is currently undergoing a period of drought and this year is predicted to be the driest in history. With this essential element in short supply in this state, the theme of the Carnaval was woven around it.

This was AB and my second trip to Carnaval San Francisco and it does not cease to impress! Both of us are enjoy diverse experiences, especially when it comes to places, cultures and food. Therefore, Memorial Day Sunday was spent in San Francisco’s Mission District (mostly) viewing, photographing the parade  and ‘wow’-ing at the colors and vibrancy of the costumes and float decorations.

San Francisco Carnaval, 2015

The Guatemala float with participants wearing traditional Guatemalan outfits, carrying earthen pots with water

 

San Francisco Carnaval, 2015

The outfits were detailed, colorful, vibrant and worth every mention!

 

San Francisco Carnaval, 2015

How heavy would this head-dress be?

 

San Francisco Carnaval, 2015

My favorite!

San Francisco Carnaval, 2015

Some spectators happily came in their cultural outfits as well!

Then comes the food, the main part for us (for any Bengali and Most human beings, for that matter!)

There were choices galore with Corn on the Cob, Garlic fries, Fried Catfish and Calamari, Mango on a Stick, Fresh Fruits, Chinese – shrimp fried rice, barbecued chicken etc, soft pretzels and more.

Keeping with the multicultural characteristic of the festival, there were a lot of Latin American food like empanadas, tamales – savory and sweet, ceviche, modern salvadorean cuisine, puerto rican food, tacos and more. Everyone was spoilt for choice!

Now let’s take a look at what we’ve got here..

San Francisco Carnaval, 2015

A beverage stand for thirsty revellers

 

San Francisco Carnaval, 2015

Bacon-wrapped hot dogs with grilled onions, these stalls were everywhere.

 

San Francisco Carnaval, 2015

But this stall caught my attention. Especially for the lady behind it. She certainly was the happiest person there! 🙂

Gerard’s Paella – this stall had the most amount of crowd. Literally most people had a plate full of steaming hot paella. Paella is popularly known as the nation food of Spain which is a rice based dish made with seafood, snails, clams, meat, beans using parsley, saffron, rosemary for flavoring.

San Francisco Carnaval, 2015

There were customers waiting to buy their food. And many just standing and watching the Paella being made. The cooks seemed to be putting their heart and soul into their dish! (a good thing, I’ll say)

 

San Francisco Carnaval, 2015

The paella, cooking. Look at these pans! Haven’t seen any cooking pan bigger than these. Ever.

 

Carnaval San Francisco, 2015

Paella – The end product was delicious! Most people around that area was enjoying this dish.

 

San Francisco Carnaval, 2015

Barbecued chicken

 

San Francisco Carnaval, 2015

Corn Dog, an American favorite – sausage coated in cornmeal batter and deep fried.

 

Carnaval San Francisco, 2015

Shrimp Fried Rice with barbecued chicken on top.

 

Carnaval San Francisco, 2015

Shaved Ice stall with cotton candy (or as we Indians know it, ‘candy floss’!)

 

Carnaval San Francisco, 2015

Maybe some vegetables with your meat?

 

Carnaval San Francisco, 2015

Keeping adults and children movie-goers happy, since….forever. Popcorn 🙂

 

Carnaval San Francisco, 2015

Tamales – It is made from a corn-based dough that has a filling of meat, vegetables, cheese or fruit, wrapped in leaf and steamed. We opted for Dulce Tamales which was sweet. ‘Dulce’ means ‘sweet’ in Spanish.

 

Carnaval San Francisco, 2015

Dulce Tamales – sweet tamales with a mango and thickened milk filling.

 

Carnaval San Francisco, 2015

How can we forget Tacos when you are in a multicultural festival, that too in the West Coast? Freshly made Steak Tacos with salsa

This was the highlight! Mango on a Stick. We found only one stall selling this. We walked back 2 miles Just for this! Should be renamed ‘Heaven on a Stick’. (For those you know ‘langda’ mangoes, these taste just like them!)

San Francisco Carnaval, 2015

Mango on a Stick, juicy mango cut beautifully in this pattern. You can add a sour and spicy Tajin seasoning for that extra flavor!

These were snippets of the parade and mainly the food. If you do visit San Francisco or the nearby area around this time of the year, do go to Carnaval San Francisco. See different cultures, their art forms, taste their food and have a weekend full of fun!

 

 

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8 Comments

  1. And here I was,thinking to myself-would a busy mommy ever get to attend such a carnival? Lovely,i m so happy to attend it virtually with those engaging pictures!

    Like

  2. Deboshree Banerjee says

    O la la!!! What a tempting mix of food and colour 😀 I would love to visit this carnival sometime!!!

    Like

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