Traditional Spanish foods?
I'm going to Spain for the first time in September (Madrid, Sevilla, and Barcelona). Aside from paella and churros and chocolate - I'm not really sure what Spain's traditional, staple foods are.
I'd appreciate any input on general "must eat" dishes and snacks - as well as what I can expect to pay for them. I just finished grad school so I'm def. not wallowing in cash! Thanks in advance!
Everywhere in Spain, I would eat jamon Iberico, egg dishes, bacalao, fried potatoes, anchovies and sardines, anything a la plancha, wild mushrooms in the fall. Without getting into a discussion of the regional cooking Spain, for each of the cities that you’re visiting, I would eat at the following:
Madrid: being the center/capital, it has restaurants serving food from every region of Spain. The best seafood gets to Madrid, therefore, a marisqueria is a must; an asada for roast meat. Indulge in tapas if I am not going to Sevilla.
Seville: lots of tapas. There is a strong Arabic influence on the food, therefore, anything deep fried, meat with honey, pincho de moruno, pork montadito, chickpea stewed with spinach, gazpacho, salmorejo and ajo blanco in the summer. Indulge in churro which the best is found every morning in the little stand on the street corners. Hot off the fryer on to a paper cone with a dusting of sugar. Better than anywhere in Madrid including San Gines.
Barcelona: molecular gastronomy; traditional dishes such as ducks with fig or pears, chicken samfain, butifarra, suquet, baby octopus, squid, clams, arroz and fideus, coca, romesco sauce. Lots of pa am tomaquet. If I am not visiting the Basque, pintxos. Desserts: crèma Catalana, chocolate with olive oil and coarse salt, torrija.
I hope this is a good start.
Good Spanish food (as good food anywhere) centres around region and seasonality. What is good in Barcelona now, may be past its best in Andalucia. And vice versa.
When you get there , go and look round a market. The answers will be on the counters of the stalls and the bags of the shoppers.
Thanks everyone for all of the really great recommendations! I've written out a list of all your recommendations to help me out in the restaurants, and I'll be sure to check out the book suggestions as well.
PS: @ Kathryn - I'm from Portland, OR. I've been making a point of eating at some Spanish restaurants and tapas bars around here to gear up for the trip =)
This thread might help...where are you coming from?
I just got back from Spain (live in the USA) and that greatly influenced what I ate and drank (especially since jamon iberico bellota is insanely expensive in the US).
FINALLY going to Spain- need a list of must eats
Traditional food in Spain is influenced by the region you are in, as is the availability and quality of the tapas. You can end up having very similar menu del dias at different restaurants every day if you are travelling around one area. Generally, you will get more of the hearty stews in the north, particularly Galicia, and more fish around the coasts and in the south - and in the south they use "la plancha" a lot (the flat metal griddle for cooking meat and fish - a bit like in a burger bar, but don't let that put you off). Soups in the north tend to be heartier too, and the cold salad soup, gazpacho, is a speciality of Andalucia. The books people have already mentioned will help you find out about the regions you are visiting.
Staples which you will find all over the country include Jamon (Iberico being the best, but most expensive) served with tomato bread, tortilla, morcilla (black pudding), chorizo, boquerones (fresh anchovies which have been marinaded/pickled). Most of these will be served as tapas or raciones (bigger portions than tapas). A staple in many places, and good for a cheap lunch, is tortilla baguettes.
My favourite tapas are the jamon iberico with tomato bread and pimientos de padron. I guess you could describe eating padron peppers as being like Spanish Roulette! They are small fat chillis which are fried whole in salt and olive oil. Most of them are very mild - you can eat them whole, including the seeds and there is absolutely no heat. However, some are searingly hot - hence the roulette element to eating them . . . I take a tiny bite, and if it's hot, I pass it onto my husband, who loves them like that. He passes the mild ones onto me - like Jack sprat and his wife!
A good general guidebook such as Lonely Planet will have a decent introduction on the various regional food of Spain. It will give you an idea of what food is specific to Madrid, Sevilla and Barcelona. You will probably find decent paella in Madrid and Barcelona but it is not the speciality of either city. Valencia and the area around it has the best paella. Search this board as these are the most widely discussed cities in Spain.