20 Most Popular Spanish Food In Spain

The belly rules the mind! Well, there's nothing to debate on that. Someone said - Life without Spanish food is like no life at all and we couldn't agree more. Whether it be a heavy dose of meat, I mean a Burrito! Or veggies falling out of a crescent as if it were a crisp tortilla stuffed with aromatic flavors and time-honored spices because one cannot deny savoring a Taco even at midnight, can you?

Without a doubt, Spain is known for its seasonal array of meals assorted with fruits and vegetables having a great taste. And don't forget the yummilicious cheeses that are more of a Spanish traditional wheel of the eatery. For each meal, prices are decent enough and there is lots of food to go around with.

Cena is generally a secondary meal, and not as abundant as our main one, almuerzo or comida. Supper can range from a bocadillo (sandwich) and a yogurt, or some leftovers, or a soup, or omelette or just a glass of milk. In summer, salads are very common.

You can easily go to the supermarket and buy your own fresh groceries and have a meal the way you want it. Cooking a meal with your own flavours can be mouthwatering in a foreign country and it’s a healthy way of travelling too. When we are here talking about Spanish cuisine especially, Olive oil and garlic cannot be skipped in any way! You must add them to your cart if you are planning to set a Spanish buffet.

Spanish cuisine has traveled immeasurably and has marked its presence over time. The journey started from the mixture of cultures and traditions that involved Greeks and Romans. The simplicity of Roman attire and Greek's expansion of agriculture and exploration made the trio more peerless. As the time passed, evolution became a part of practice and people started discovering new ingredients as well as methods of preparing inimitable dishes.

Spanish culture offers wide variety in terms of language, festivals, beaches, literature, music, dance, bullfights etc. Understanding food culture of any region is very important as it leaves an impression on people and their taste preferences so that you will be able to prepare your appetite accordingly when you dine.

Most Popular Food In Spain

Let's now move onto some options that are offered by Spanish cuisine to blow your taste buds with exquisite taste and it's almost impossible to dig your heels in! One cannot be blamed for that.

1. Croquetas

Before we pick up our knives and forks, let's keep it gentle and easy by relishing none other than Croquetas or as we know them - Croquettes. These are undoubtedly perfect to start the course. Many countries have picked up these amazing little orbs and revamped with their own convenience as per majority preferences, resources, tastes and authentic flavors.

Any edibles can be given a different identity with one's creativity and exploration, croquettes will surely be something you can pitch on. With their versatile adaptive nature towards different ingredients make them more leading. You can shape them with meat, lentils, veggies, cheese, grains or roots! The possibilities are infinite. When you next hop into a Spanish grill grab a tapas platter and you won't be disappointed.

2. Gazpacho

Let's save the electricity and not defrost the soup. It's not as weird as this sounds! Here's the proof. Gazpacho is a tomato soup which is not so conventional and strikes out every barrier that the soup culture has. It might not appear as a cool idea to slurp a cold soup but we need to take off the mask sometimes and set ourselves on the adventure.

The best part of enjoying this is you won't need more than 10 minutes to prepare it. Moreover all you need is a handful of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, few cloves of garlic and you'll be good to go! Blend them all in and season according to your taste. If you feel more experimental don't hesitate to garnish it with a slice of buttered toast and sprinkle your herbs. Nothing can beat a cold soup on a hot summer noon.

If in Andalucia, then fried fish is the king. In summer, try either gazpacho andaluz or salmorejo from cordoba, very similar though different. Both served very cold. Do not confuse gazpacho andaluz with gazpacho manchego from La Mancha. They are totally different.

Castilian Soup is also an elaborate heavy soup dish. It is cooked with garlic, bread, also some meat but this time added all to the soup, and egg. Well actually the egg is cooked in the soup towards the end, you throw the egg in the soup and it cooks inside it, or that's the traditional way, some people fry the egg apart and put it in. It may have Spanish cured ham too. Lots of garlic and bread, these are the base of the soup.

3. Pisto

Your Spanish cuisine experience cannot come to a head unless you have pierced your fork into Pisto. You might have heard about ratatouille, a French dish as colorful as a set of green and red shades in a palette. Pisto can be something similar but with its own drama and sparkle on the table.

The cooking process is also comparable consisting of tomatoes, onions, zucchini, peppers and garlic chopped into wedges or slices equally to make it more presentable, sautéed in olive oil for a tinge of Mediterranean flavor. Pisto can be presented as a side dish, appetizer or main course.

Don't forget to bring out your wine glasses and pour in a pint of classic red wine to make it a perfect evening, a little wine is all it takes!

4. Fabada

This is something you might need to sate your belly when the temperature drops. Fabada is a power pack stew with great flavors and textures of added meat. This can be prepared with any kind of fat you would wish in the bowl. The spiciness kicks in the cold winters and makes it a perfect dish.

Fabada doesn't necessarily have to be a meaty chow, you can always work your magic with greens, lentils, beans and veggie chops. However, if you want to have an authentic experience with Fabada, pour in chorizo, morcilla and more. The options aren't limited to red meat, do not hesitate to explore the options when you are a seafood lover.

Smoked fish, salmon, anchovies can make a big difference. So, the next time you are offered a Spanish menu pick a bowl and enjoy some fabada!

5. Paella

Born in Valencia it is a universal symbol of Spain and widespread all over the country, there are mamy types with meat, with seafood, with rabbit, with eggs, with black rice… it is more like a large group of traditional rice dishes in Spanish cuisine. It is based on rice and spices with lemond juice on top. It is usually referred to as a dish from Valencia and not traditionally Spanish.

This colorful rice dish plays a huge role in Spanish cuisine and why not? It is a wholesome booster with lots of carbs and proteins. Generally it is cooked with chicken and rabbit, sometimes both.

In many kitchens the dish is also filled with marine meat such as prawns, calamari, clams, mussels depending on preferences. This usually makes the dish more fresh and gives it an earthy taste. If you are particularly feeling adventurous why not make it a black paella? This uses black rice stained with octopus or squid ink and can be a great variation on the traditional paella.

6. Gambas al ajillo

The love for seafood in Spain is immense and substantially adored. A lot of Spanish dishes incorporate under water flavors and it is highly reflected in their cuisine. The spice mixture, balance of taste and punch in every bite is astonishingly sublime. This dish is for someone who is fond of seafood and cannot defy the craving. You can gobble it as tapas or appetizer, this dish is going to stand out of the crowd.

It is usually cooked with prawns in a deep clay dish with a sprinkle of hot olive oil, minced roasted garlic and a pinch of chilly which adds a balance. Cut a slice of bread and toast it until crispy so as to wipe up the delicious garlic sauce in the end. You must know how to make the best of the dish!

7. Patatas bravas

Coming to a simpler dish, we have patatas bravas. It is a typical tapa served in bars with your drink. Now making these little bombs isn't rocket science. It is a spicy sauce with tomatoe base on potatoes (it's called “brava" because it is spicy/hot an analogy to a bravo bull a bold bull). You can add mayonese to soften the flavour. All you need is a bunch of cubed potatoes and oil to deep fry them and you'll be good to go! Yes, that's all it takes. But let's not allow the artist in you to die and create some magic with few flavors!

How about some chorizo on top? Or maybe BBQ chicken? Any way you want to do it. And for the lighter mood occasions, simply drizzle some store bought sauce or canned pickles to add some punch. It's always easy when you start creating with your own ideas and removing the typical procedures. Grab a potato sack from the grocery store and turn on the magic in your kitchen! You can't really miss this one.

If in Aragón also in Navare, eat pollo a la chilindrón (chilindrón chicken).

8. Jamon

You don't need to use a lot of energy here but patience is the key! Jamon is a typically hung ham leg which is rubbed with herbs and spices which usually turns out to be salty due to its preservation. It's story comes from a far long time when people used to preserve meat for winters and their go-to-strategy. Jamon is later slivered into slices and is laid on a bread toast which melts in your mouth like cheese.

Its perfect with sherry and Cava. People generally like to enjoy this before they start with the main course as it is assumed to be great for the juices to flow before all the munching. It is the best ham that one can have in their lifetime. Jamon can survive for months if it is nurtured carefully. Get ready for this winter ecstasy!

9. Albondigas

This is a classic tapas item, albondigas or meatballs cooked in tomato sauce, are liked all over Spain. The main reason for Spanish cuisine to be so popular is it's flexibility towards its methods of cooking and the ingredients added. Most of the dishes are meat based but out of them, most can be converted into vegetarian versions. Spanish dishes can be tuned in any way we want them to be.

Albondigas are traditionally made of red meat like ham, ham, chorizo, mutton or even in seafood version but this is not a disappointment to the vegetarians as they could do it with lentils and mixed vegetables cooked in tomato sauce. For a healthier version, you might want to eliminate tomatoes entirely and prepare the gravy with almond sauce which will make it richer and provide soluble fats.

There is a Spanish dish typical in the summer called ham with melon which is basically that, Spanish cured ham with slices of melon, you can eat it for breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner, whatever you want.

10. Cocido

If in Madrid, you should ask for a cocido madrileño. The cocido also includes a soup, served first. But there are many cocidos in Spain, almost every region has its own recipe. There is a cocido leónes from León, with a botillo, that it’s used only there. The cocido maragato is very similar to the madrileño but served backwards, first the meat and finally the soup.

Vuelco Primero is a soup made with bones and Spanish jamón that give the soup a very tasty flavour with a touch of meat and cured ham taste. Vuelco Segundo consists of boiled chickpeas, which for those who don't know what they are they're the legume from which the now so famous humus is made of. They are a very typical legume in the Mediterranean region.

To this many add repollo which is a very soft-tasted vegetable often served with garlic and potatoes when it goes alone. Vuelco Tercero is the one with all the meat: chorizo, boiled ham, boiled beef, tocino etc any type of boiled meat can be served. Many includes androlla in this which is a typical product from Galicia. All these vuelcos can be eaten separately or all put together in the soup.

11. Cochinillo

Another dish to try is the cochinillo, but better if you are in Castile mainly, in Segovia, since in any other city you may or may not get a good roasted cochinillo.

12. Polbo á feira

If you are in Galicia, then try Pulpo a feira (octopus feira style) or any of many Galician seafood delicacies. The octopus is the official food of Galicia. It is eaten in the interior and on the coast. There is no doubt that it is the most international of all the gastronomic proposals. The most common way to eat it is A feira.

13. Escalivada

If in Catalonia, one should try escalivada, or a stew of calamari with potatoes.

14. Arròs a banda

If in Valencia, try arroz a banda sometimes known as arroz senyoret (rice with seafood flavor, served with alioli) or black rice (the black color comes from the calamari, not from any special type of rice).

15. Churros

Churros originated in chocolate shops to accompany the chocolate drink allegedly they started in the court because chocolate was banned by the church and nobles and the royal family drank it in secret. They are another universal symbol of Spain lately copied by Latin Americans too. But don't let the Mexicans fool you, it's Spanish. In fact it is the most typical Spanish breakfast.

16. Roscón

Typical doughnut of the 6th of January to celebrate Epiphany after the night of the Three Kings a tradition in southern and central Italy, Spain and Spanish former colonies. It has cream in the middle and different sugary things on top plus a hidden bean or figure inside, the roscón is paid together and the one who bites the figure has to pay for it after or so is the tradition (family debts don't work like that often but it makes for good threats and jokes).

17. Torrijas

Another tradition but this, during Easter. This are pieces of bread bathed in milk or wine, you put them in the oven and on top we add cinnamon and sugar.

18. Jamón

Spanish cured ham, there's not much to say, it is the most expensive ham on the planet, pigs fed with acorn in the Spanish countryside, then cured in a traditional way.

19. Chorizo

A traditional Spanish sausage and a variant of the sausage, they look the same but they taste very different. Just grab some wooden table, a knife and put it on bread, rub a sliced tomato on the bread to make it better.

20. Bacalao

Seafood is popular among travelers. An awarded dish in Spain, bacalao, or salted cod is the perfect option for seafood lovers. During the process, cod is to be soaked in water for at least 24 hours to remove most of the salt but a little tang. It is commonly served with pil-pil sauce made with olive oil and garlic along with the juice of fish.

This dish is a simple yet enjoyable dish at any time. One can definitely devour the taste all day. It is perfect for locals and foodies! If you are in the Basque country, you should not miss the fish, like bacalao al pilpil (cod pilpil style) or besugo al horno (baked or roasted bream) or any of their steaks. Not missing their alubias (beans).

Kalyan Panja