Writing Part I of the Best Things To Eat In Spain just did not satiate us. We’re gluttons, what can we do 🙂 So we are back, heaving bellies and all, to take you on another food tour – this time it’s our favourite cheap eats and drinks from Northern Spain.
The first things that come to my mind when I think about Northern Spanish towns like Valencia are locals striking a bargain with vendors in noisy alleys and bustling markets laden with fresh produce, cheeses, incredible meats, and symmetrically arranged hams.
A few steps away from the chaos lies a sleepy street with a tapas bar or two – the perfect place for a rendezvous featuring tapas and an aperitif. Here’s what you should be ordering off that menu :-
1) Tigres de Mari
Tapas celebrates the social nature of the Spanish people in the true sense. Tapas, literally translated, means a cover. The term was used to refer to the bread that tavern owners used to cover the glasses of their patrons to keep flies away from their drinks. Over time tapas has come to refer to bite-sized morsels of various foods. We can’t think of Spanish cuisine without salivating over these small portions of food.
Tigres de mari are stuffed mussels served in bars and restaurants primarily in Northern Spain. A delicious filling is made with finely chopped mussel meat, peppers, onions, and tomato sauce. This mixture is then breaded and fried lightly till it is crisp. It is then stuffed back into the shells. Nom!
2) Patatas Bravas
Patata Bravas is a traditional and classic tapas dish served in bars all over Spain. Patata Bravas literally translates to fierce potatoes – the fierceness comes in the form of a bite from the Tabasco used in the recipe. Its tough to articulate the amazingness (is that even a word? 🙂 ) of these crisp fried potatoes. Perfect when accompanied by an orujo shot or a glass of wine
3) Jamon Ibericos
Vid loves Spanish cured meats, so this one shouldn’t come as a surprise. I’m not one for cured meats, but even I can’t resist the charms of traditional Iberico ham. It could easily be voted as Spain’s finest ham. It has an exceptionally rich flavour and taste. Most tapas dishes pair it with mellow broad beans, almonds, roasted figs, or stuffed artichokes so that the flavour of the ham reigns supreme. Perfect with olives and Manchego cheese – someone take me to Spain right now!!
Horchata is what you need on a hot summer’s day in Spain. The sweet drink originated in Valencia and is extremely popular in the city. It is made with the Chufa nut, ground almonds, and sesame seeds. The creamy ambrosial Horchata is served chilled with a dash of cinnamon. Have it with a farton (much tastier than it sounds, haha 😉 ), a pastry just made to be eaten dunked in an ice-cold Horchata
Vid’s obsession with coffee ensures we try every coffee based drink in town. Our favourite in Spain resembles the Macchiato. A bit of milk is added to an espresso shot. The result? A typical Spanish Cortado. Perfect if you enjoy an intense cup of coffee bursting with flavour.
6) Churros Con Chocolate
Prepare to drool. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
A fried dough pastry dipped in chocolate sauce!! What more could foodies possibly ask for? Piped out of the churrera, a syringe with a star shaped nozzle, churros are fried till they are crisp and crunchy on the outside. They are then dipped into hot chocolate sauce. This decadent Spanish treat is available on the streets of Spain where vendors fry them right before your eyes and serve them piping hot. It doesn’t get better than this- seriously!!
+1 Cheeky mention – The Central Market, Valencia
Now this isn’t something you can order off a menu. But if you’re in or around Valencia, you MUST make a pit stop at The Central Market aka Mercat Central de València in Valencia. The market is one of the oldest in Europe – over 1000 years old. It is housed in an decrepit building adorned with colourful tiles and stained glass panels.
Browse fresh oranges, choicest meats, organic olives, and Spanish cheeses while watching locals go about their business. It is the perfect place to pick a picnic – did you not know tapas is perfect for the park?! 🙂
Love Spain as much as we do? Check out our articles on offbeat attractions, itineraries, and hidden gems in Spain
Stuck on packing for Spain? We’ve shot a number of outfits in the alleys of Spain – take a look at our outfit posts, perfect for some travel fashion inspiration