Spanish cuisine is world-renowned for a good reason. Three of the best restaurants in the world can be found in Spain, and with its simple Mediterranean diet, Spanish food is almost always loved by all. While every region in Spain has its own distinct dishes and cuisine, there are some staple Spanish foods that can be found across the country. Here are my five must-try dishes on any trip to Spain.
Spain is very much a pork-based culture, best seen in the sweeping variety of cured ham available around the country. If I had to choose a favorite food around the world, I would be hard-pressed to find anything more satisfying than a nice slice of jamón ibérico or its cheaper cousin, jamón serrano. Thinly sliced cured ham legs, the drying process has been refined and varied over the centuries. Best eaten on sliced bread or all on its own with a glass of Spanish wine, you can’t get a more quintessential, local dish than cured ham in Spain.
My go-to breakfast dish while living in Spain, the famous tortilla de patata is a classic and delicious staple. The Spanish potato omelet is yet another simple but characteristic dish from Spain. A round thick omelet with onion, egg and potato, it is served hot and cold, and occasionally inside a baguette sandwich called a bocadillo, with red pepper sauce. A classic Spanish dish, you can find it in any bar or restaurant and in any kitchen. If you only try one food in Spain, make sure this is it.
In Spain many of the bars are also cafes and restaurants depending on the time of day in which you visit them. At any given time of any given day, you will undoubtedly find croquetas, or croquettes on the menu. A fried breadcrumb roll in cylindrical form, it is most commonly filled with ham, cheese or fish in Spain. A tapa or appetizer to many meals, croquetas are one of the most common dishes in Spain and must be tried on any trip there.
If there is one cheese to try while traveling through Spain, it is queso manchego. Produced in the La Mancha region of Spain, land of Don Quixote and his famous windmills south of Madrid, queso manchego is a mild sheep cheese and is often served up as a tapa or appetizer with Spanish ham. Within Spain, this type of cheese is one of the most common to be found and thanks to its mild flavor many enjoy it.
Finally one of the most common dishes to be found around all of Spain is patatas bravas. Irregular cut and fried potato wedges, they are served up hot smothered in spicy tomato sauce and alioli. This varies from bar to bar and region to region, but it’s usually the standard. Shared among friends and eaten with toothpicks, it’s best accompanied with a small glass of beer called a caña.
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What foods did you enjoy while in Spain?
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Liz’s blog is Young Adventuress, which is geared toward adventure and slow travel. Liz Carlson began the blog while trekking through the Andes before moving to Spain for two years, where she has been teaching English and living the expat life. With over 30 countries under her belt, Liz is now planning to take on New Zealand and explore a whole other side of the world. Follow Liz on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus.
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