The results of the TasteAtlas Awards have recently been announced. Spain has taken the 3rd spot in the category of Best Cuisines in the World among 95 countries. The first and second spots were taken by Italian and Greek cuisines respectively. The rest of the top 10 list is as follows: Japanese cuisine, Indian cuisine, Mexican cuisine, Turkish cuisine, American cuisine, French cuisine, and Peruvian cuisine.
The list was prepared by making use of diverse sources like reviews and critics by gastronomy professionals, article mentions, certificates, and search popularity to derive trustworthy statistics. And, foods in Spain were chosen as the 3rd best thanks to their unique characteristics and flavors. So, what aspects of Spain’s foods have earned it this spot? Let’s examine this a bit more closely.
Why are Spanish Traditional Foods Popular?
Traditional foods in Spain attract worldwide attention with their unique and diverse flavors and quality. As a country located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, Spain is very rich in terms of the fishery, agriculture, livestock farming, and poultry. Many different types of vegetables, fruits, and legumes were being cultivated in Spain throughout history.
As a result of this, Spain had more than enough natural resources to utilize as food. This geographical aspect of the country naturally affected Spain’s food culture and has brought great diversity to Spanish traditional foods. Not only there are many types of foods, but the ingredients of the same foods also diversify region by region depending on the naturally grown products in regions.
For this reason, there is definitely a type of national food of Spain that would suit the taste of people around the world. Eventually, this led to the opening of thousands of Spanish restaurants throughout the world and increased the popularity of Spanish cuisine.
With the facilitation of transportation now people even travel to taste these delicious and popular foods in Spain in their place of origin and to experience what it’s like to live in Spain as well.
What Food is Famous in Spain?
There are many worldwide famous foods that originate from Spain. Paella, tortillas, tapas, gazpacho and churro are some of the most popular foods in Spain. However, if you want to get a little bit more local, you should try out the variations of these foods as well as other regional foods.
As we have mentioned earlier, the traditional foods of Spain have many variations depending on the region. Paella is one of the greatest examples. The most famous one among them is Paella Valenciana. Often referred to as the original paella, this dish consists of rice seasoned with saffron, chicken, rabbit, tomatoes, snails, and beans.
The second most popular type of this famous dish is Paella de Mariscos, which is a paella made with a variety of seafood, rice, saffron, peppers, and tomatoes. This dish is famous along the coasts of Spain but it especially has an important place in Malaga’s food culture.
Another great example of the diversity of Spanish food culture is tapas. Tapas can be defined as a plate of bite-size snacks. Tapas are one of the symbols of Spain and they are often eaten at bars and chiringuitos (beachside bars). While these snacks are usually eaten as appetizers along with drinks at large gatherings, they can be as fulfilling as a full-course meal.
The dishes served on these plates vary greatly depending on where you eat. For instance, you can find dishes made with jamón and olives in tapas plates served in Malaga and other white villages and historic towns of Andalucía. On the other hand, you can find some of the best Moorish foods in Spain in the Moorish-influenced Granada. Pinchos morunos (spiced pork skewers) and montaditos (small open sandwiches secured with a toothpick) are some of them.
You can also find pintxos (small bite-sized snacks over bread) when you go to the northern parts of Spain. These pintxos include mouth-watering treats like txuleta (aged beef steak), txangurro (spider crab) tartlets, and wild mushroom croquettes with cheese.
Tortilla de patatas or often called simply as tortilla is a tapas dish and also one of the best breakfast foods in Spain. It’s a type of thick omelet made with potatoes and onions. Although you can find this dish anywhere in Spain, it’s thought that La Navarra, its place of origin, is one of the best places to taste it.
As a country that has shores on both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, seafood has an important place in Spain’s food culture. In the coastal regions, seafood is generally considered one of the best foods in Spain and is consumed both as appetizers and as a full-course meal. Gambas al Ajillo is a great example of a seafood appetizer. This appetizer made with shrimp is popular throughout Spain.
Another interesting thing about Spanish cuisine is the abundance of cold soups. In ancient times, coping with the heat was not as easy as now in places with hot climates. So people were preferring cold served foods during hot weather. Spanish were also among them. Today, cold soups like salmorejo, gazpacho, and ajo blanco still hold an important place in the hearts of many.
We’ve mainly talked about foods made with meat or seafood so far. However, there are many vegetarian and vegan dishes in Spain as well. Pisto is a traditional Spanish vegan food that resembles the famous ratatouille. You can find it in the Castilla la Mancha region easily.
There are also quite a lot of options to fill your stomach with even when you don’t have time to sit down and eat. You can get some street food and continue touring around or go to your work. The traditional Spanish street foods include patatas bravas, espetos, tortillitas de camarones, empanadas, bocadillos, and of course the famous churros.
Last but not least, Spanish desserts attract great attention throughout the world as well. The famous San Sebastián cheesecake, also known as Basque cheesecake, is a great example. This type of cheesecake originated in the town of San Sebastián in the Basque Country of Spain. A rather less-known but well-liked dessert type is yemas de santa teresa. This orange-colored creamy dessert originated from Ávila.
We’ve tried to explain the most attractive foods in Spain briefly. However, Spain has many more delicious foods than you can try out in a few days' short trips. You can consider buying a property in Spain to experience its colorful lifestyle and delicious cuisine for a lifetime.