SWAG VOX POP: EPIC MEALS
Men have big appetites as the old story goes, but exactly how big? SWAG decided to find out by asking local lads about the most indulgent, gluttonous meal they’ve ever eaten. Just to be clear: ‘gluttonous’ to SWAG is a meal that is excessive in size or calories, costs an arm and a leg or contains exotic ingredients. From giant burgers to mountains of sushi and questionable Filipino delicacies... prepare to alternately cringe and lick your lips…
FRANCO DAVIES – Physiotherapist
My friend Andy runs this German restaurant in Sliema, The Trees, which caters for any respected meat lover very well indeed. From 1.5kg schnitzels and beef steaks, to 1.5-metre German sausages – this place has it all. He also organises private medieval or Viking-themed banquets including ridiculous amounts of scrumptiously cooked meats and a deliberate lack of cutlery.
The King of the menu is the XXXXXL Burger, which is free if you manage to eat it in an hour!
I tried to eat this beast purely for scientific purposes and because of peer pressure from Andy! After I finished it (with a lot of help from my wife which resulted in me having to pay for it), I felt like I had become some sort of TV caricature 70-year-old obese American, but also very satisfied and very thirsty!
LUKE DALLI – Lawyer
To be quite honest I’m not very proud of this story, but since you asked and most probably many of my friends will be reading this, I have to mention this particular gluttonous event.
It was 2011 and a particular fast food place in Hamrun came up with the bright idea of combining about 20 cholesterol-infested ingredients into one burger, and correctly naming it ‘the beast’. The famous radio adverts at the time invited big eaters to try it out and test their stomachs.
Long story short, one night, during June exam period, a group of us decided to have a break from studying and head down to Hamrun to feast on this so called beast.
We ordered one each. Some of us managed to eat half; others completed the arduous task of finishing it; but there was one individual who wasn’t satisfied with the first helping and heard a voice from within whispering “why not impress everyone and eat beast number 2?”
Yeah, I was that dumbass who ordered burger number 2, ate burger number 2 and puked burgers 1 and 2 a few minutes later somehwere in Żejtun…
LUKE CAUCHI – Software developer
The most indulgent thing I’ve ever eaten would probably be a 600g burger at a restaurant called Crave at the Valletta Waterfront. I actually shared the 1.2kg burger they have on the menu with a friend. It started out pretty much as a dare, and it was also the reason I finished it. The aftermath was pretty horrible, but at least I can say I ate a 600g burger.
BRENDAN CUTAJAR & THORSTEN CALLUS – Software Developers
The most indulgent thing we’ve ever eaten is a massive portion of sushi. We were at Okura in Paceville with a group of friends and we all opted for the buffet. We overestimated our appetite because we ordered double of nearly everything. Our table was covered in food, and the restaurant has a policy that what’s not eaten is still paid for. We weren’t going to let that happen. We lost a few men along the way, but in the end we finished it. As you can imagine we were in quite the carb-coma afterwards and felt quite sick, but satisfied.
MARK ANTHONY ZAMMIT – Hotel Systems Administrator
The most indulgent, or should I say, exotic things I’ve ever eaten were during a trip to the Philippines. I tried a speciality called Balut, chicken intestines and devoured a seafood feast.
Balut is a fertilized duck egg that has a partially developed embryo inside. Most people might not have the stomach to eat it, but I was curious. I was in my in-law’s front yard at the time, and you know what they say… when in Rome! I must admit I gagged from the texture of the placenta, but the embryo was good. I felt better after washing the whole thing down with beer. It also felt good to realise how much protein was packed into that fertilised egg.
I also tried barbecued chicken intestines because they looked good. They were tastier than you’d think and I felt pretty satisfied afterwards. Whilst in the country, I visited a Dampa, which is like the open market at Marsaxlokk, only bigger. There are different sections, such as shell, crab, fish etc. We were only four people, but with all the choices and prices being so low, I just had to over indulge.
To give you an example, fresh live crab ranged from €7 to €13 per kilo. Oysters, scallops were less than €1 per kilo. In total the four of us bought 12 crabs, 7kgs of oysters, 5kgs scallops, 3kgs of clams, 8kgs of calamari and a 2kg hunk of tuna for sashimi. We washed it down with a fresh coconut but couldn’t finish it all between us, but it certainly was delicious.
JAY ZAMMIT – Website consultant
It was October of 2007 and I was on my honeymoon in California. Our first stop was the streets of San Francisco or in this case, the Piers! One of the first places that caught my eye was 'Joe's Crab Shack'. They had Alaskan King Crabs so fresh they were still trying to escape their fate! I knew I was in for a treat. So we booked a table and I proceeded to get bibbed up for what I was told "could get messy"! We literally got a bucket of crab for starters. Then I topped it off with their signature 'Lobster Daddy Feast'. Oh Yes! By the way this also contained more crab! Snow crab this time. I can't remember how expensive it was; the dollar was so bad at the time so it felt like a good deal. This is all I remember; yes I got messy and yes it was fantastic! Can't wait to do it again.
COLIN FITZ – Writer & broadcaster
I have a group of friends who I've known since school, and we make sure to keep in touch and meet up for a meal twice a year. We're all fairly big boys and love our food, so the meals are inevitably grand affairs. One of us in particular, a fellow called Keith, who takes it upon himself to organise the nights and book us tables at various places, once arranged for us to eat at Point de Vue in Rabat, which boasted a 1 kilo steak on their menu.
It was a challenge that was too hard to ignore, but I could hardly lift myself off the chair after finishing it. And yes, of course I had to finish it: I was brought up to be grateful and finish everything that is presented to me on a plate at mealtimes, like a good little boy. It was a divine piece of meat, about two inches high and covering three quarters of the plate. Washed down with some chips, salad and beer, eating it made me feel like a man, making up for all those disasters on the football field or when I tried to fix household gadgets.
Then there was the time when, alone at home one evening, I started craving Indian food and discovered that one of my favourite places would deliver to my part of the world. You know the old cliché of ordering too much at Oriental food restaurants... well, I did that for one at home. For some reason I convinced myself that I would still be hungry after just one portion of rice with chicken korma, so I ordered TWO helpings of rice and an additional chicken tikka masala. I'm a bit of a lightweight with spicy foods so those are my default dishes at Indian restaurants.
Being an Indian meal, of course I had to have the naan bread and the poppadoms... and some stuff to dip them into... and some starters… and to cut a long story short, when the man arrived on his scooter I ended up forking out €50 for the delivery – for just one person.
I was right: I did feel like a little more after I finished the starters, rice and korma, but realistically I could have made do with just some more naan bread and a poppadom. Instead I ate the entire meal, meant for two, in one sitting. It was delicious... but within half an hour of swallowing the last flaky crumb, the regret started, followed soon after by the inevitable gas attack. I was deadly to be around for the next two days.
NATIONAL FOOD RECORDS
We couldn’t conclude this article without making a reference to the many culinary feats that our crafty, indulgent food-loving compatriots have produced. Some of the most notable Maltese record-breaking creations include a 350m long chocolate bar, a 100kg raviolo, a 9m garlic butter roll, the largest ice cream (in the shape of the Pope’s flag) and a 2.5m long pyramid made of bread loaves.
There’s also an infamous 24 carat gold leaf-topped truffle pizza available at Margo’s Restaurant, which will cost you €1,800 and which has garnered international news headlines.
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