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Spain Travel Guide > Cuisine & Gastronomy of Spain Bookmark and Share

Spanish Cuisine - Spain’s Gastronomy


The Spanish cuisine is one of the world popular cuisines. Cooking in Spain is based on two ingredients; garlic and olive oil that are common in most Mediterranean cuisines. But there are big variety of foods special to Spain regarding the other Mediterranean countries.

Dining is very important for Spanish people. The variety of food and drink in all regions of Spain will definitely fascinate you in your Spain holidays. The sea food of north, the rice of east, roasts of the central region, hams and fries of south... Each region has its own unique and traditional taste for the visitors.

Spain’s gastronomy is separated into six conventional culinary segments. The North region of Spain is mostly popular for its sauces. The Pyrenees is known for its chilindrones. Andalucía region is popular for its fried dishes. Central Spain is known for its roast. The eastern region is popular for its rice dishes and Catalonia comes with its cazuelas and casseroles.

In addition to that, the Seafood of the Cantabrian Sea has a big reputation at the restaurants. Paella, Gazpacho, Spanish Omelette and Fabada are the world famous Spanish dishes. Also the Spanish majestic stew that is known as cocido, olla, pote and escudella depending the regions is popular too.

What to Eat?
The Spanish words venta, posada, meson, casa de comidas and fonda all means "restaurant". Also the Tapas bars serving both tapas and meals are considered as restaurants. In all Spanish restaurants there is a quality "meal of the day (menu del dia)" and it includes 3 sort of dish and a home made wine. Meal of the day is only be found at the lunch times.

The restaurant prices on the menus include the tax and the tip but feel free to give a %5-10 as a tip if you are happy with your meal. Same for the bars and cafes. Also if you stand or sit at the bar tables, you'll get a cheaper bill than you sit on a table at the bars and cafes.

Note that the prices of the famous Spanish dish tapas may be very expensive regarding the restaurant and the type. It is the same with the sea food about over 100 grams. It is better to ask the price before you get tapas or sea food at the restaurants.

Eating hours in Spain are a bit late than the other European countries. Lunch is between 2.00-3.00 p.m. and dinner is between 9.00-10.00 p.m. in Spain. Besides, you are able to find food in every hour of the day in Spain especially at the holiday destinations.

Breakfast is the less important meal for the Spanish people. A toast (tostada) or a sandwich with a coffee is typical. If you like sweets than you may have a fried sweet named "churro" with your coffee or tea. Besides, in many hotels there are open buffets for the holidaymakers.

Lunch & Dinner
Paella is popular Spanish dish that takes its name from the black plate that the rice is cooked with the meat juice. Paella is one of the most obvious food to eat in Spain. Paella originates from the restaurants in the country and is probably the best known dish to come from Spain. It’s made from short grain rice and can include a range of seafood or meat, as well as vegetables such as peas and peppers. The real Valencia paella is made from the meat of chicken and rabbit.

Andalucía soup is another popular dish made from tomato, pepper, cucumber, onion and fried bread. Tortilla is a famous Spanish omelette worth to taste.

You may also try any Spanish Tapas worthy of its name with variety of tasty food such as pickles on cocktail sticks, homely omelets, cheeses and hams, baby earthenware casseroles with sizzling hot dishes and elegant mayonnaise-topped mouthfuls.

Regional Tastes
Every region in Spain has its own production of sausage, cheese and the dish of meat and vegetables named "cocido".

Galicia is famous with the sea food, especially with its octopus (pulpo). Its vegetable soup (caldo gallego), the dough dish (empanada) made from meat or sea food, the "hams" fried in turnip stems and the dishes made with "red pepper" worth tasting.

Asturias is famous with its stew (Fabada asturiana) made from bean and sausage, the whiting fish (merzula a la sidra) with apple wine sauce and the blue cheese (queso de Cabrales).

Basque Country
Sea food is the most popular dish in the Basque region. Morina in hot garlic sauce (bacalao al pil pil), little squid (chipirone), spicy tuna fish (marmitako), meat stew with tomato & potato and the whiting fish with mussel & shrimp (merzula con almejas y gambas) are the famous dishes.

Meat dishes with chilidron sauce (tomato, pepper, garlic, ham and wine), horse meat and mountain trout fish worth tasting.

Catalonia region is famous with its esqueixada salad (fried or stewed vegetables with olive oil), fried fish with romesco sauce (hazelnut, red pepper, tomato, garlic and small pieces of bread), stew with sea food such as zarzuela and suquet de peix.

Famous Castille region menu include; sopa castellana (soup with garlic, ham and fried egg) as a starter, cochinillo asado (dish wiyh pig) or cordero asado (fried lamb meat).

East Coasts
East coasts are famous with Paella and all kind of dishes with rice, especially Valencia Paella is very famous.

La Mancha
La Mancha is famous with its tojunto (rabbit stew), pisto manchego (vegetable stew with onion, eggplant, tomato and cabbage) and the popular lamb cheese of manchego.

Extremadura region is famous with its pig meat, lamb meat and variety of sausages.

Andalucía region's famous dishes include; gazpacho and ajo blanco (made from grape, garlic and almond), fritura mixta or pescaito frito (a fish dish) and huevos a la flamenca.

The Islands
Canary Islands' famous specials include; mojo picon (spicy red sauce) and mojo verde (green sauce served with fish), papas arrugadas (baked potato). In Majorca, popular dish named tumbet (stew with meat or fish or potato) worth tasting.

Creme caramel is the most preferred dessert in Spain. Catalans make other type of it (crema catalana) with lemon and cumin. Every region has its own candy dessert named yemas.

Spain is a leading producer of fine wines. Spanish wines are very popular all around the world and one of Spain's greatest gastronomic attractions. The oldest and the most protected red wine is Rioja.

Sangría is a popular tourist drink made from red wine, lemon & orange juice, mineral water, sugar, fruit pieces and ice.

There are variety of Spanish beer.

Spanish people prefer do drink coffee (cafe) than tea (te) and Spanish coffee is hard one.


Spain's famous "Paella"


"Tapas" - the popular Spanish cuisine

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