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This is the splendid Paella Valenciana we had at one of the restaurants lining Malvarrosa beach in Valencia.

The walk-through restaurants stretching from street to beach front are popular places for friends and families to gather for lunch at the weekends.  By mid afternoon our restaurant is heaving, waiters rushing past with plates of salads (ensaladas), steamed mussels, langoustines and rice dishes.  With theatrical flair each paella is carried in shoulder high and displayed to diners before being served.

Valencia lays claim to being the home of paella, indeed the plump short grained  rice used in the dish is grown in the nearby marshlands of Albufera National Park.  I was tempted to try the interesting looking Arroz Negro – rice cooked in the black ink from squid or cuttlefish – and loving seafood the Paella Marina was going to be a sure winner but in this city it had to be the Paella Valenciana.

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