They say travel is food for the soul, but even the busiest travelers get hungry! Spain is home to some of the most extraordinary flavors and unique dishes in the world. If you want a full and authentic Spanish experience, you’ll have to try this list of the top 10 Spanish dishes.
Here are a few things to remember before you dig in:
- Spaniards tend to avoid spicy food. My host mom could hold all the home’s spices in two hands, while my house back in the U.S. has an entire spice cabinet! My host sister even told me once that regular fried chicken was too spicy.
- Tapas bars are an amazing and affordable way to eat out in Spain. It’s a great way to try lots of different dishes in one meal.
- Restaurants in Spain won’t split checks for you. During my semester abroad, only one restaurant offered to split a check between me and my friends. It’s not a big deal; it only means that each meal comes with a side order of math.
Bizcocho is a Spanish sponge cake, often topped with sugar.
Bocadillos are simple sandwiches made with baguette, meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and olive oil, or any combination of these. Many bocadillos are made with jamón ibérico, a cured ham typical of Spain. The best calamari bocadillos can be found at El Tostadero in Valencia!
8. Tortilla de Patata
Tortilla de patata is like an omelet made of eggs, potatoes, and sometimes, onion. It is often served on or with some bread.
7. Croquetas de Jamón
Croquettes are common in a lot of cultures. They are fried rolls with mashed potatoes and ham on the inside. A must-try at any tapas bar!
6. Fresh Fruit and Juice
Fresh-squeezed orange juice at Spanish cafes is absolutely fantastic! I loved taking advantage of all the fresh fruit, especially the €1 fruit cups at the Central Market.
Horchata is a sweet, milky beverage that originated in Valencia. It’s a little different from Mexican horchata but will not disappoint!
4. Café con Leche
Bakeries in Spain are a dime a dozen, serving wonderful pastries and coffee. Café con Leche means coffee with milk, and it is similar to a cappuccino.
3. Churros or Buñuelos with Chocolate
Churros and buñuelos are fried dough delicacies to be dipped in hot chocolate. In Spain, hot chocolate is simply melted chocolate, unlike in America where it is diluted with water or milk. Once you’ve finished your churros, drink the rich chocolate and enjoy!
2. Patatas Bravas
My favorite tapa, patatas bravas, consists of cooked potatoes served in a warm sauce. Every place prepares them differently, so it’s best to try them all!
1. Paella Valenciana
You simply cannot leave Spain without trying paella. Valencia is the paella capital of the world and it did not disappoint! Paella Valenciana is made with rice, chicken, vegetables, and various spices. You can also try seafood paella or Arroz al Horno, a similar rice dish that I highly recommend.
Keep an open mind and enjoy all the exceptional cuisine Spain has to offer. ¡Buen provecho!