Spanish cuisine – Traditional dishes you should try in Spain
The countries we travel to are not only remembered for their historical monuments, squares, and people but will also become unforgettable with the food we taste there. Travelers are often recommended to enjoy the delicacies of the country along with the places to visit. This time I will write about the dishes that you have to try when you are in Spain.
While talking of Spanish cuisine, the first foods that come to mind are tapas, paella, sangria. However, Spain has delicious and distinctive cuisine throughout the region. Galicia in the northwestern part is famous for its empanada prepared from meat and fish, Asturias region with food called fabada, Basque region with different fish dishes, and Catalan region with mixed meat and fish dishes. Besides, Andalusia has sumptuous cuisine due to Arab occupation throughout history.
First, when it comes to the Spaniards eating culture, I would like to note that these people eat less but often. Spaniards eat five times a day. They start their day with the breakfast called Desayuno and eat their lunch between 14: 00-15: 00 and dinner at 22:00. They prefer to have snacks between these hours. It should also be noted that some restaurants are closed in the afternoon, and open at 20:00 just before dinner. So if you are planning a trip to Spain, know when to eat; otherwise, you can stay hungry. Now I will tell you about the must-taste dishes when you came to Spain.
Paella is the first dish the tourists in Spain want to eat. Although it is originated in Valencia, you can enjoy paella in all the cities of Spain. The main difference is that each region prepares it in a particular way, just like our pilaf. Each area makes it with its unique food. Another common feature of Pella with our pilaf is that it is the main dish in Spain. As the pilaf is the king of our meals, paella is also the king of Spanish cuisine. Locals offer paella to every guest. Paella got its name from the shallow paella pan it is cooked in. This pilaf, the main ingredients of which are rice and saffron, is cooked with seafood, chicken, and vegetables. Valencian usually eat this at lunch.
Tapas – Tapas may be the food Spaniards mostly eat. It is wrong to call tapas as a dish. It is more accurate to say that it is a snack served next to the drink. There are different legends about tapas originated in Andalusia. It is said that King Alfonso travels through Cadiz, and wants to drink something in a place he came for a rest. The owner of the space puts a plate on the glass so that it does not get dirty. He also puts something to eat so that the place is not empty, and the gesture is pleasing to the king. Since then, tapas have become customary. The name comes from the word tapa (cover). There are hundreds of varieties of tapas available today. At small bars and restaurants called Tasca, you can order sausage, ham, dried fish, eggs, olives, and hundreds more varieties of tapas on small bread slices next to a glass of wine or beer at certain times of the day.
Pincho – a continuation of the tapas tradition in the Basque and Navarra regions. These snacks, served with toothpicks, are calculated based on the number of toothpicks at the end when time to pay the bill. It has ham, cheese, fish, and other assortments. These snacks are usually eaten between lunch and dinner. Cheese can also be ordered next to the drink. There are some popular types of cheese, such as Spanish-style Ronseal, Zamorano, manchego, and so on.
Tortilla – we can say it is the Spanish omelet. This omelet with potatoes, eggs, and onions is served cold. They say it is even tastier when served chilled. You can eat tortillas both for breakfast and for other meal times.
Empanada is a dish belonging to the Galicia region, having meat, fish, apples, currants, and other types, similar to our gutab. Usually, they are served before the main dishes at the restaurants.
Gazpacho – This dish, which is a cold soup of Spanish cuisine, is more prevalent in Andalusia. There are two types of Gazpacho. One is red Gazpacho, which consists of tomatoes, onions, red peppers, cucumbers, garlic, olive oil, fried bread, salt, and vinegar. The other is a white gazpacho called Ajo Blanco. The white Gazpacho is made with fried bread, garlic, olive oil, crushed almonds, and vinegar. Both are prepared without cooking, crushed with a blender. There are served in two ways, either in the bowl or in the cup. When ordering, the waiter may ask how would you like it to be served. It is up to you. There is also a Salmorejo soup, which is served cold same as Gazpacho. The only difference from the Gazpacho is the chopped eggs or hams, which are added while serving. Salmorejo belongs to the Cordoba region.
Fabada – While seafood is the main ingredient in the southern regions of Spain, the central part mainly uses vegetables and various kinds of meat in the meal. In the north, lamb and beans are more commonly used. The Fabada meal belongs to the Asturias region, located in a mountainous area in the north of the country. The main ingredient of the fabada is white beans and meat and cooked in individual clay pots. It is like Turkish Kuru fasulye, but the difference is that Spaniards add the sausages made of pork blood called morcilla.
Mar I Muntanya – (sea and mountain) is a Catalan type of cuisine that combines ingredients from the mountains with typical ingredients from the sea. That is, there are chicken and lobster in the Mar I Muntanya meal.
Churro – If you know thinking that I have told only about the rich Spanish meals and forgot about their sweets, then let me talk about Churro. The ingredients of the churros and the cooking procedures are almost similar to “ladies finger.” It is dough fried in butter. Nevertheless, it is not made by hand; it is made by long cutting of dough in specific machines preparing churros. It is served with sugar powder, or cinnamon poured over and eaten by dipping into the hot chocolate. The home of Churro is Madrid. So if you are headed to the capital of the country, do not come without trying the Churro.
Turron – Spanish halva. The full name is Turron de Alicante. Turron is an almond nougat that we know. You can buy this Valencia-based sweet as a gift if you do not want to go home with empty hands after your Spanish trip.
Crema Catalana – This Catalan sweet is made from milk, cornstarch, and eggs. After baking in the stove, sugar is poured over it and caramelized. Another name is Crema de San José since it is traditionally cooked on March 19 on Saint Joseph’s day.
Sangria – When talking of Spain, one of the first things that comes to mind is, of course, sangria. The sangria, the alcoholic beverage that the Spaniards drink, is made up of red wine, brandy, sugar, sprite, ice, and slices of fruit. When you visit Spain, remember to say, “Arriba, Abajo, al Centro, pa’ Dentro!”(Up, down, middle, inside) when raising your glass of sangria. It is a well-known toast that the Spaniards say while giving a salute.