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«By now, Palermo is a multi-ethnic city,» tells Fabrizia Lanza, owner and teacher of Case Vecchie Sicilian cooking school, «which is really fun from the culinary point of view.» She has two suggestions for restaurants that no visitor should miss. One, is La casa del brodo (Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 175), and the second is Sant’Andrea, (Piazza Sant’Andrea, 4), where traditional Sicilian cuisine is melded with influences from other parts of the Mediterranean. The particularity of this restaurant is its vicinity to the Vucciria market – one of Palermo’s four markets – a place that’s like taking a trip back in time.
The other markets in Palermo are Capo, Ballarò and Borgo vecchio, and this is where you’ll find the city’s best street food – and it’s truly delicious – among the shouts of the vendors, the colours of the fruit, the fish and the spices.
Street food here is almost always fried, like the pane e panella (in the picture, left) the fritters made from chickpea flour. Another cult dish from popular cuisine are the “innards” – the stigghiole, the intestines of goats or lamb, garnished, dressed and cooked over hot coals.
But the true highlight of Palermo’s simple fare is the pane con la milza, bread eaten with spleen. Or the sfincione, spongy bread dressed with tomato, onion and caciocavallo cheese. It’s produced in Porta Sant’Agata and then it’s taken around the streets in a pushcart. A bit of tasty folklore.