Travel junkies know that you need to try to immerse yourself in the culture you’re visiting as best as possible in order to live the full experience. This means trying to give a listen to their local radio stations, to partake in some traditional celebrations, and, on top of all, to munch on the national cuisine that you won’t be able to try anywhere else. Spain is a full package, being able to provide tourists will all those factors previously mentioned. Traditional Spanish food, in particular, is truly something of a unique caliber, so make sure to not leave the country until you’ve tried out all of the following classic dishes.
You can find delicious paella at any Spanish restaurant, but if you truly want to travel to the roots of this famous recipe, then you’ll need to try the classic Valencian paella. It’s prepared with chicken and rabbit meat, assorted with saffron-spiced rice. The most common variety, however, is the one with seafood, which is the next must-try after you’ve taken a spoonful of the Valencian paella.
Spain benefits from an impressive variety of cured meats, which we highly recommend trying out, at least, once during your stay. The most popular one, however, has to be chorizo, which is Spain’s sweetheart in terms of cured meat. It’s a breed of sausage filled with plenty of spicy and sweet accents and it’s its versatility that can make it an ingredient in almost every dish, capable of appealing to all kinds of tastes.
At first glance, it may not seem like anything more than a simple tomato soup. Well, it’s definitely a tomato soup, but we wouldn’t exactly call it simple. It embeds a combination of spices and carefully chosen vegetables and it’s this special taste that helped it rise to international popularity. In other words, try gazpacho to try a special kind of tomato soup.
#4 Tortilla Espanola
Maybe “tortilla” isn’t the best way to describe it if we are to give you a general idea of what it’s like. Rather, it’s pretty much a traditional type of omelet. Slow fry some sliced potatoes and onion in some olive oil, then pour it all in a mix of beaten eggs. You can further add ingredients and make it more to your liking.
Seafood is extremely popular in Spain. If you are looking for a good place to start your first experience with our friendly sea wanderers, then calamari might be a good choice. They resemble onion rings both in looks and the crunchy exterior, but they’re a flavorful of fish. Bonus taste points if you dip them in some lemon juice.
If you’re on board with foods covered in crunchy crusts, then these croquettes should be your next stop. Don’t worry, you won’t spend a lot of time searching for them, as they’re a common presence in the menus of every respectable food-selling place. We recommend trying those filled with a mixture of béchamel and ham or the classic cheese ones.
#7 Arros Negre
It pretty much means “black rice” and, well, it’s definitely black rice. If you happen to be visiting Valencia, we recommend postponing that spoonful of paella and, instead, opt for the arros negre. Trust us, no one knows how to cook Spanish rice better than Valencians. A word of warning, though – the black color is given by squid ink. Cool? Cool.
#8 Patatas Bravas
This is a recipe that can just as easily be prepared from your own kitchen after you taste it. This is possible because, in essence, it’s a dish that’s pretty much composed of diced baked potatoes with a spread of spicy sauce on top of them. As simple as it sounds, the versatility of this meal leaves open doors for plenty of surprising and personal additions.
#9 Gambas al Ajillo
You might simply recognize them as “garlic shrimps.” The beauty of this dish lies in the fact that it’s hugely popular and, therefore, a recurring presence on every menu across Spain. It’s impossible not to like this seafood delight when, by simply using shrimp and garlic, it manages to be completely mouthwatering.
#10 Red Sangria
We’re kind of cheating on this one, but since we’re talking about traditional Spanish food, we figured it wouldn’t hurt to slip in a mention of one of the country’s most representative alcoholic beverages. Any of the meals on this list will taste a million times better with a glass of sangria on the table. To put it simply, sangria is a type of sweet wine that is typically drunk with fruits dipped in.