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May 4, 2011 10:04 AM

Good food along the Camino de Santiago (French route)

I'm not looking for Michelin starred restaurants, just good food. Here's the rub: I don't eat pork (or really pretty much any red meat). I've heard that lots of Spanish places consider something vegetarian (and I'm not even looking for vegetarian, just red meat free) even if it has pork or beef broth with bits of pork in it. So, I'm a little nervous. I've been to Spain before - Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, and had no problems, but a few people have managed to get me worried. My Spanish is fairly rudimentary. So any tips? Anyone want to tell me how best to express myself when ordering to make sure I don't end up with a piece of fish cooked in lard and covered in bits of pork?

thanks very much in advance.

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  1. I just had a visitor from the US with the same restrictions... it can be a bit rough--especially the pig part, but it's doable, especially if you are open to eating fish and shellfish.

    Here are words that tip you off to the presence of pork:

    cerdo, lacón, chorizo, morcilla, longaniza, salchicha, jamón, paletilla, codillo, lomo, cinta de lomo, salchichón, fuet, fiambre, mortadela, sobrasada, magro, hígado, manitas, cochinillo, chuleta, secreto, presa, costillas, adobo, picadillo, cortezas, manteca, unto, anything "ibérico," oreja, gochu (in Asturias), tocino (unless it's a dessert...then it's pork free). Also beware of sweets like mantecados and polvorones (more a Christmas thing) and anything dense and cookie-like, which could be lard based. Virtually all bean soups and dishes like lentejas (lentils), garbanzos, fabada, pote, and cocido will have some pork (fabes con almejas is an exception--this is white beans with saffron and clams). Also ask about salads, because chunks of ham sometimes get tossed on top.

    carne, ternera, filete, chuletón, lomo bajo/alto, solomillo, vaca, buey, añojo, novilla, rabo, carrillera, callos, riñón, churrasco, costilla, falda, entrecot,

    cordero, cordero lechal, lechazo, chuletillas, and other words already included above.

    Cabrito, choto, chivo


    Aside from ruling out all of the above, since your Spanish is limited, I'd suggest that you be as direct as possible: nada de cerdo (thair-doh), nada de ternera o carne roja. That should convey it.

    Revueltas (scrambled egg dishes with one other ingredient mixed in) could work in many cases (just avoid those with morcilla--blood sausage) and dishes with setas (wild mushrooms) and pretty much all seafood (merluza, rape, dorada, trucha, salmón, atún, chipirones, calamares, almejas, navajas, pulpo, sepia...).

    I'm sure you'll have a great time. It's a beautiful part of Spain with very hospitable folks who despite living in remote locales are used to all sorts of quirky interlopers.

    3 Replies
    1. re: butterfly

      Butterfly, I can't thank you enough. What a wonderful and helpful response. I plan to print it and take it with me (or try to memorize it).

      1. re: butterfly

        Oh my goodness, butterfly! That list of pork products made me feel all tingly inside.

        1. re: SnackHappy

          Ha, I'll admit, it was fun to collect all of those beloved words in one place.