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What are the top five Spanish foods?

ssillasen Jul 10, 2010 03:25 PM

When I think of Spanish foods, I think of jamon, olives, paella, churros and chocolate. Would that be considered accurate or what are your thoughts as to the most iconic of Spanish foods that it would be a shame if you missed them while visiting?

  1. t
    Tostito Jul 10, 2010 04:13 PM

    Manchego Cheese!!! and the jamon has to be iberico. wash down with with sangria.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Tostito
      monchique Jul 10, 2010 04:18 PM

      IMHO Manchego cheese and Jamon (preferably bellota) goes better with Manzanilla or Fino than with Sangria...

      1. re: monchique
        LeRique Jul 11, 2010 03:19 PM

        Fino, of course

        1. re: monchique
          Tostito Sep 8, 2011 10:55 AM

          Oh thanks I'll try that.

      2. t
        Tostito Jul 10, 2010 04:14 PM

        Oh if you're visiting, then you have to order the whole roasted baby piglet.

        1. SnackHappy Jul 10, 2010 05:27 PM

          Jamon Iberico de Bellota, Queso Manchego, Ventresca de Bontio del Norte, Pimientos del Piquillo and Morcilla de Burgos. I would add to that an arroz dish of your choice. My choice would be an arroz caldoso more than a paella. Paella's great and all that, but there's a lot more to Spanish arroces than paella.

          Then it all depends on the region you're in. You couldn't go to Catalunya without having some Pa amb Tomaquet or Galicia without having some pulpo.

          3 Replies
          1. re: SnackHappy
            SnackHappy Jul 11, 2010 04:48 PM

            Oh and I forgot about Sobrassada. You have to have Sobrassada.

            1. re: SnackHappy
              Harters Jul 12, 2010 02:15 AM

              I'm not sure I'd think of sobrassada as an iconic Spanish food - iconic Mallorcan, for sure.

              (The brother in law, who comes from Soller and is there now, says it was funny to see all the Spanish flags out yesterday in preparation for the match - as he said "We usually hate Spain")

              1. re: Harters
                trvlcrzy Jul 12, 2010 08:52 PM

                Funny, I have family from Catalonia and while the older generation are more into autonomy, the younger ones don't seem to care and feel that Catalonia is still Spain. As for the typical foods: Jamon (any form), queso manchego, paella always comes to mind. Runners-up are: olives, chorizos, seafood (cooked plain..without fancy sauces), callos, fabada, fideua. Drinks: Rioja, fino, sangria, cava...

          2. b
            Bacchus Maximus Jul 11, 2010 02:02 AM

            SnackHappy's spot on! Depending on the regions and season! galicia:seafood-pulpo a feira (galician octopus). Madrid, Callos, Cocido Madrileño. la Mancha-, Manchego cheese, olive oil. Andalucia, jamon, salmorejo, pescaito frtio. Cataluña calchots, anchovies, Pais Vasco-seafood. fish, tolosa beans, pinchos..... My advice is check out the regional food. It's difficult to name just 4!

            1. h
              Harters Jul 11, 2010 02:48 PM

              Pork (in all forms)
              Olives (and olive oil)

              1 Reply
              1. re: Harters
                SmokinActuary Jul 11, 2010 05:51 PM

                Personally I think Spain's greatest cheese is Cabrales.

              2. q
                Quimbombo Jul 11, 2010 07:48 PM

                Huevos estrallados.


                Croquetas de bacalao a close second.

                And tocino del cielo hitting the perfect trifecta.

                1. Parigi Jul 13, 2010 01:08 AM

                  I am not sure one can name 5 iconic dishes of Spain, as though then one could go to any restaurant in Spain and get the best of that genre. Spain does not work that way. I don't think any country's cuisine works that way.
                  For example, tourists in Barcelona look for paella. There are some restos in Barcelona that make it ok, but in general it is just the wrong city for the dish.
                  Ditto all the dishes named by the poster: jamon, olives, paella, churros and chocolate. You can't just go to any restaurant or market in any Spanish city and expect to find the best.
                  One example: Pa amb tomàquet, the Catalan specialty. For a long time, Pa amb tomàquet was like bullfight for me: Until I have experienced the best, I had wondered what all the fuss was about. I enjoyed the mystique but not really the real thAng until I had it at Cerveceria Catalana in Barcelona.
                  The best is to research where you can find the best, as you would do with any food genre for any city/country. Check this board for the various recs for various cities.
                  Lastly, Spain rocks ! Campeones del mundo !

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Parigi
                    PhilD Jul 13, 2010 02:12 AM

                    Parigi makes a very good point. Food is Spain is very regional, you need to understand he strengths of each region then search out the great examples of them. I am afraid the OP's list is a bit predictable and these so called "best" foods are often served up in tourist traps as travesties of what they really should be. I never saw what was special about Sangria until I had a very well mixed version made from scratch (no Sangria mix) with plenty of brandy....!

                    1. re: PhilD
                      trvlcrzy Jul 15, 2010 04:09 PM

                      Maybe the question should be: What are the top five "stereotype foods" of Spain. Agreed that every region has it's specialties, and that's what makes Spain so facinating foodwise and tour-wise. We love it! Viva Espana!

                      1. re: trvlcrzy
                        JuanDoe Jul 15, 2010 11:56 PM

                        "Stereotype" food:
                        * Pulses (lentil, chickpea, beans): lentejas con chorizo, cocido, fabada…
                        * Vegetables: judías verdes, espárragos, pimientos fritos o asados, alcachofas, pisto, escalivada…
                        * Rice dishes: paella, arroz a banda, arroz caldoso …
                        * Pork meat: jamón, chorizo, sobrasada, lomo, morcilla…
                        * Fish: Atlantic coast (bacalao, merluza, atún, sardinas, pulpo). Shellfish (gambas, langostinos, centollo, bogavante). Mediterranean coast (boquerones, chopitos, sepia, coquinas)

                        1. re: JuanDoe
                          Julia Chang Sep 9, 2011 09:39 PM

                          JuanDoe: can you recommend your favorite places for 'arroz caldoso' in Madrid?
                          Same question for 'arroz a banda'. Thanks much!

                          1. re: Julia Chang
                            arobmadrid Sep 16, 2011 11:25 AM

                            They do both in Mano a Mano on Calle Lavapies...don´t know if it´s the best, but it´s pretty good!

                            1. re: arobmadrid
                              Bacchus Maximus Sep 16, 2011 11:55 AM

                              I heard the same! Worth checking out!!

                            2. re: Julia Chang
                              Bacchus Maximus Sep 16, 2011 11:54 AM

                              Balear, near "Iglesias" is very good!

                    2. s
                      ssillasen Jul 13, 2010 09:34 PM

                      Thanks for all the great suggestions and insight everyone! I appreciate it!

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