10 traditional dishes that you must try in Spain

  • Tortilla de patata (potato omelet): Simply made of eggs, potatoes, olive oil and onions… that’s it! Homemade potato omelet is a must have when visiting Spain. You will usually find it in local bars and can try it as “tapas”! The Spanish omelet is so much more than the sum of its parts.
  • Paella valenciana (valencian paella): In the Valencia region they claim you can eat a different rice dish every day of the year, but let’s stick with the most traditional version for now. Ingredients for “paella valenciana” include chicken or rabbit, saffron, runner beans and butter beans. It would be criminal to visit Valencia without trying it!
  • Gazpacho: There is always a jug of chilled gazpacho on the counter in tapas bars in Andalucia in summer. The ripest tomatoes are blended with olive oil, garlic, bread, peppers and cucumber until silky smooth. So simple, so refreshing.
  • Cochinillo (roast suckling pig): Very traditional throughout the region of Castilla-León. Cochinillo is cooked in huge wood-fired ovens and is so tender that is can be carved with the side of an earthenware plate.
  • Croquetas (croquetts): Very popular throughout the country, these famous “croquetas” are made with a thick béchamel flavored with ham, chicken, cod, spinach… to name just a few varieties. Everyone claims their mother’s recipe is the best and you can’t argue with that. Again, you can find these at most local “tapas” bars, once you have tried them you will not be able to resist for more!
  • Almadraba Bluefin tuna: The tuna caught off the coast of Cádiz in late spring is prized for its exquisite taste and texture. You will fall in love with the perfect tuna dish. The Costa de la Luz is the undisputed tuna temple of Spain. Their almadraba tasting menu takes you from marinated loin to sashimi, tataki and tartare.
  • Rabo de Toro (braised oxtail): This most traditional of Spanish dishes should ideally be made with bull’s tail, which is slow-cooked in red wine until deliciously tender and rich. Don´t be put off until you´ve tried it! Cordoba, Madrid and Pamplona are among the best cities to eat “rabo de toro”.
  • Fabada asturiana (bean stew): This popular dish from Asturias consists of silky butter beans are cooked with slab bacon, pork shoulder and chorizo and morcilla sausages to create a flavorful stew that will set you up for a hike in the mountains in the very pretty region of Asturias. The local families have traditional “fabada” recipes from hundreds of years ago.
  • Pulpo (octopus): The best octopus in Spain is from the Atlantic around the coast of Galicia. Simply boiled and sprinkled with olive oil, sea salt and pimentón (Spanish paprika), it is served on wooden plates, often with chunks of potato and usually along with a cold beer or Galician white wine.
  • Gambas al ajillo (garlic prawns): Last but definitely not least, you will not be able to resist an earthenware dish of prawns sizzling away in olive oil pepped up with garlic and chili. The tantalizing aroma hits your nostrils and you just have to order some. Luckily, you’ll find this little dish of happiness all over Spain!

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