9 Authentic Spanish Dishes You Need To Try When In Spain


Kareemah Ashiru •  Jun 16, 2016

The only reason I moved to Spain was because of their dishes. Just kidding! However if you are a foodie, Spain has so much to offer that you wouldn’t be disappointed. Most of Spanish cuisine has influence from its environment, history and tradition of the locals. Below are some few choices I have organized from number 1 being my top recommendation.

1. Paella

Before arriving Spain, I had seen Paella in my Spanish textbook. Whenever I saw the colourful dish I just couldn’t help but salivate. Naturally it was the first dish I tried once I finally arrived. I strongly suggest that you have Paella in Valencia, Spain where it was originated. The quality in Valencia is incomparable to any other location in Spain.  Ok, what is Paella? Paella is saffron coloured rice usually mixed with all sorts of seafood ingredients such as clams, mussels, shrimps, lobster, crabs etc.

Disclaimer: Do make sure that they do not add in any meats like chicken (unless it's halal!), chicken stock or alcohol when preparing the dish.

2. Churros con Chocolate

Churros con chocolate
Credit: iwokeuplaughing

If Paella didn’t exist, this would have been the first Spanish love of my life. I have this every other week which makes me question my new year’s resolution of eating healthy. Churro is a semi-sweet fried dough usually doused with sugar or cinnamon. It is very normal to order a hot cup of thick chocolate syrup with the Churros to dip it in. I don’t normally include sugar with my Churros as the hot chocolate is already sweet enough. In Madrid, the best place to have Churros con Chocolate is in San Ginés. Many famous figures have stopped by San Ginés.

3. Croqueta

Credit: cocinaconmarta

This is one of my favorite Spanish foods mainly because it is filling and delicious. Croqueta is fried bread crumbs filled with mashed potatoes and literally anything else, normally chicken or fish or cheese or ham etc. There is a place called Javier Martin Croquetas where there are 32 flavors of these scrumptious appetizers. They range from sweet croquetas, cheesy croquetas, spicy croquetas and so on.

4. Buñol con Chocolate

Credit: eventoshappyever

I added this mainly because I have issues with hot chocolate, I need to check myself. This is also similar to the Churros con Chocolate only that it is in a ball hence the name Buñol.

5. Patata

There is something about the Spaniards and potatoes. Potatoes are included in almost all of their dishes. If you are having a Spanish meal and potato or bread or olive oil are not included; you need to check its Spanish authenticity. However the main potato dish popular in Spain are:

Tortilla Española

Tortilla Española
Credit: restaurantesabina

A Spanish omelette made with potatoes

Patata Bravas

Patatas Bravas
Boiled and fried potatoes with a vinegar, tomato and red pepper sauce poured on it. Sometimes added to this sauce is aioli- mayonnaise and garlic.

6. Bocadillo de Calamares

Credit: By Tamorlan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

If you are big on seafood, you would enjoy this delicious fried octopus sandwich. Sometimes cheese and vegetable are included with the fried calamari rings but usually it’s just left like that.

7. Huevos Roto

Huevos Rotos
Credit: youtube

I haven’t had this dish yet, but I have heard that it is scrumptious. Huevos Rotos translates to broken eggs, the name is a mystery to me. Huevos Rotos consists of potatoes, sliced meat (make sure it's halal or omit the meat), green pepper, garlic and the typical seasoning spices.

8. Gazpacho

Fresh gazpacho on the table
Fresh gazpacho on the table

Credit: leaf.nutrisystem

This delicious soup is commonly had during Spain’s scorching summers. It is a tomato based soup with raw vegetables, garlic, olive oil and served cold. Gazpacho is originated from Andalusia.

9. Pulpo a la Gallega

Pulpo a la gallega
Credit: loscaprichosdejorge

This dish is for the seafood lovers as well. Pulpo is squid. This dish originated from Galicia, Spain. Galicia is by the Atlantic Ocean; naturally the best seafood comes from this region of Spain. Pulpo a la gallega is boiled squid mixed with potatoes and sprinkled with pepper, olive oil and salt.

*Special* Horchata is a widely consumed drink in Europe and Latin America. It’s origin is however from Valencia. Part of the influence to this drink was during the Muslim presence from the 8th century in Valencia. Horchata or Orxata in Valenciano is a drink consisting of almonds, sesame seeds, rice, barley and tiger nuts. It is usually served cold in Spain.

Credit: marthastewart

Have I been successful in making you hungry? Great! Look out for more posts from me regarding everything Spanish.