We all think that living in Spain is all about sitting outside soaking up the sun and watching the world go by while tasting a variety of tapas. He lived here for three years, so I can confirm that they are right. There are millions of local tapas variations in Spain, and they vary from place to place. A recent online post asks for your favorite name. Here are some great suggestions that complement my local knowledge.
1. Choco Fritos (fried squid)
In my hometown of Huelva, Andalusia, the people are known as choqueros, meaning those who produce and eat squid. If you go to any local bar or restaurant in this small town, you’ll find calamari coated in flour and fried. This dish is a true taste of southern Spain and goes especially well with a cold beer on the beach.
2. Tortilla de patata (potato and egg omelet)
Fans of Spanish omelets will advise that tortillas are easy to make and keep well for many days. Tortillas are another mainstay of any Spanish picnic table, beach basket, or tapas. However, if you want to make this Iberian dish a classic, executing the flip is key. To proceed to tortilla enlightenment, you must complete the underplate switch-roo, young grasshopper.
3. Albondigas de cerdo (pork meatballs)
So many countries I’ve visited have their own form of meatballs. From my childhood Italian favorites to Vietnamese meatball banh mi, the rustic meatball is an adaptable ingredient. In Spain, pork meatballs are typically tossed in a rich tomato and white wine sauce and served with crispy fried potatoes. White bread is a must.
Spanish croquettes are another popular tapas choice, as they have a creamy center and a pleasant crunch. The secret is to chill the béchamel in the refrigerator so that it is thick enough and that the temperature of the oil is neither too low nor too high when frying.
5. Calligeras ibericas (pork cheek)
With the province of Huelva famous for its Iberian pork, it’s no wonder it’s the region’s most popular carnivore product. My favorite cut is the slow-cooked cheek, preferably from a standard Iberico pork (a premium pork brand in Spain). The meat is slowly stewed in local red wine, giving it a rich flavor that melts in your mouth. Like most other hot meat-based tapas, carrigera is served with fries.
6. Ensaladilla de Gambas (Potato salad with shrimp)
Somehow, Russian salad has become a favorite of Spanish families. It is made by mixing diced potatoes, chopped eggs, carrots and peas with shrimp and mayonnaise. There are many other variations, including octopus and flame-grilled piquillo with red peppers. Plus, the best way to eat this is with Spanish breadsticks, or picos.
7. Jamon de Serrano (Serrano Ham)
If you like pork, you must visit southern Spain. There, Andalusian black pigs roam the countryside, feeding on native acorns in the hot sun. The result is a beef that is the Spanish equivalent of Japan’s Kobe beef, rich in fat and giving it a distinctive buttery flavor. Serrano ham is salted and air-dried for over a year before being sorted into categories according to quality. top quality varieties, Pata Negrahas been awarded five Acorns in the Hamon hierarchy for its excellence.
8. Serranito (pork, pepper, jamon, and egg sandwich)
Some people prefer montaditos, or sandwiches, with their tapas. Like the pressed Cuban sandwich, Montadito comes in many small formats. But the most popular and larger sandwich is fried pork loin topped with serrano ham, charred peppers, and a fried egg. As you can imagine, you will need to prepare napkins for this snack.
9. Boquerones Fritos (Fried Anchovies)
What is the difference between anchovies and boquerone? The answer is “salt.” The names are the same, but one is flash-frozen and the other is salted (the pizza ends up being plucked off by the kids). Simplicity is essential for this delicate fish. Fried boquerones are small anchovies fried with only salt. There is a dichotomy to eating these fish. Some people peel off small spines of delicious white meat, while others eat a lot of it to get calcium.
10. Patatas Bravas (diced potatoes with hot sauce)
After making fajitas for my Spanish father-in-law once, I realized that most Spaniards have no interest in spices at all. However, some tables have an interesting addition: patatas bravas with spicy sauce. You could call these Spanish home potatoes, but the Spanish habit of pouring sauce all over them (which I’m not a huge fan of) is what sets this dish apart.
11. Pintxos Vascos (topped bread snacks)
Spain is a place of great diversity. You can drive through hectares of sunflowers, valleys and even desert. But once you cross the Cantabrian Mountains to the north, the scenery and tapas change. Pintxos are usually small discs of baguette topped with endless Spanish ingredients. These are served in most bars and can be eaten while standing while drinking a cold beer, making them the perfect bar snack for tipsy tourists.
12. Pulpo de la Brasa (Grilled Octopus)
The octopus became a dispute after seeing it. my octopus teacher, so I don’t order much. But grilled Spanish octopus doesn’t get any better than this (for those who haven’t seen this documentary yet). The more the poor mollusk burns, the better. Sorry, tentacle friend, I failed you — but you taste so good.
13. Queso Manchego (sheep milk cheese)
This La Mancha export has a range. Its flavor profile ranges from soft and light to rock-hard and eye-opening. Manchego cheese is to Spain what cheddar cheese is to England: it’s a national favorite. But you won’t be seeing Brits sitting down to plates of cheddar cheese drizzled with local olive oil any time soon.
14. Pimientos de piquillo con bacalao (salted peppers)
Pimientos de piquillos are sweet red peppers roasted, marinated in oil, and stuffed with anything from white cheese to tuna. Typical Spanish tapas come with bacalao (salted cod). Fry the fish with onions and garlic and stuff it inside the peppers. It’s equally delicious hot or cold. The sweetness of the pepper complements the seasoned fish.
15. Kistra (sausage)
Spaniards sometimes eat hot dogs, but they prefer the punchier kistola. These Spanish links are similar to chorizo, but thinner, seasoned with paprika and garlic, and fried to release the oil from the inside. However, Kystra must be accompanied by a public health warning regarding “explosive oil.” These should not be eaten while wearing white clothes.
Brought up in the UK and with a background in international education, Ben has lived on three continents including Africa, Asia and North America, and currently lives in southern Spain with his wife and son. He has worked in a variety of jobs, from traveling projectionist to landscape architect.
He offers a unique travel-savvy perspective on life, with several travel-related specialties. Ben loves writing about a variety of topics including food, music, parenting, education, culture, and movies. His passion is Gen X nerds: movies, music, and television.
He has spent the last few years building his writing portfolio. He started out as a short story writer for a Hong Kong publishing house, then moved into freelance articles and features, and bylines for various online publications such as Wealth of Geeks, Fanside, and Detour Magazine. .