I’ve never been one for learning languages. Its like maths, I can learn the rules but I find it ridiculously difficult to apply them in contexts that don’t require me to list the conjugations of a specific verb. But, as we were visiting family in Italy, I thought I should make a concerted effort to at least be able to say some basic things to them in their own language. I began using the DuoLingo app on my phone which actually got me quite far because each level is broken down into tiny lessons that I could do on the short train trip to work or while waiting for dinner to finish cooking. It was also great to be able to practice speaking the language through the app as well. All this meant that I came to Italy is a decent understanding of some (quite basic) Italian. The longer we were in Italy, the more confident I got with trying to speak some of the language while we were out and about. Mostly, my translations of the menu and attempts to order food (my primary goal) were met with kind smiles and reassuring nods. Until the day we went out for a roast chicken lunch.
We decided to venture slightly further out of the city centre and try some of the food that is served in the suburbs when people go home for lunch. My research led us to Giannasi, an old school kiosk serving rotisserie chicken from a recipe that they had used since the shop opened in 1967.
Really, looking at that succulent, golden chicken, why would you change the recipe? After all, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!
There was a huge crowd of locals waiting to buy their lunch but it was quite orderly and, when we had reached the front, I felt confident enough to try ordering our meal in Italian. It went a little like this:
Me: “scusi, due polli e mezzo”
Me: “si, si! E due te pesci”
Him: *quizzical look* “pesci?”
Me: “Oh! No! PescA!”
In my enthusiasm, I ordered two half chickens cut into quarters and two FISH teas. Not quite the PEACH teas I was going for! The server was kind and laughed off my mistake and I left triumphantly with my chickens and teas but a little red faced too.
As most people seem to return to their apartments to eat, there is no seating at the kiosk. You can sit down in the small park nearby but there is little shade from the hot Summer sun so be prepared to tan it up a little while you eat. Really, you will probably be so involved in sucking every last shred of gorgeously marinated chicken off the bone that you won’t notice anything else! Apparently these chickens are “aromatized” for 24 hours before they are broiled again before serving.
But, if you’re not a huge fan of chicken, there is still plenty of choice for you. Giannasi are also renowned for their arancini and risotto, as well as their vast array of marinated and chargrilled vegetables. We wanted to try some of the grilled eggplant but were so full of tasty chicken that we just couldn’t fit it in! The prices are very reasonable too. I can’t quite remember how much but I think our lunch was something like 6 euros all up?
And how was the fish tea? I hear you asking cheekily!
I feel like I need to begin an immediate petition to bring San Benedetto Peach Tea to Australia
This stuff is delicious. And cool to look at too!
So, my lovelies, have you had any embarrassing ‘lost in translation’ type moments in your life? Please spill the beans!
Address: Piazza Bruno Buozzi, 20135 Milan, Italy
Subway Stop: Porta Romana
Open: 7 days, 7am-8pm (Sundays 8am-2pm)