10 Must-Try Foods in Spain

I’ve written about must-try foods in Rome, Positano, Capri, Montreal and more but I’ve left out one of our favorite countries…Spain! We were a little worried when we took our eight year old to Spain because we weren’t sure if she would find enough to eat in this pork-centric country. I knew she could always survive on manchego cheese and pan con tomate, but she really surprised us and we all found so many foods to love in our trek through Spain. I’ve teamed up with Expedia to bring you my top ten must try foods in Spain.

10 Must Try Foods in Spain

  1. Chistorra — Chistorra are cured sausages like chorizo, but smaller and not quite as spicy. They are served grilled or fried as tapas. We had these at Lonja de Tapas on our first night in Barcelona and we were hooked for the rest of the trip!
  2. Jamón Ibérico — Jamon, jamon, jamon. Everywhere you turn in Spain you will find ham…down to Jamon-flavored Pringles. We loved visiting the tavernas with hams hanging from the ceiling under curved stone ceilings and ordering manchego cheese, pan con tomate and a selection of hams. Serrano ham is delicious but the best is the Jamón Ibérico, made from black Iberian pigs that have been fed on acorns. I don’t even like ham but I liked it in Spain.

    Jamons in Barcelona

    Jamons handing in Barcelona

  3. Paella — We didn’t make it down to Valencia, where you’ll find amazing paella fresh from the sea, but we did have some on the beach in Barcelonetta. But my favorite was found at Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid. We found the Mercado a great place to pick up a light dinner or tapas from the various food stalls.

    Paella in Madrid at Mercado de San Miguel

    Paella at Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid

  4. Salmorejo — Salmorejo is described as an Andalusian gazpacho but I would argue that it doesn’t taste at all like gazpacho. It is smooth and creamy, made with a puree of tomato and bread, not at all like the strong tomato and cucumber flavors of a traditional gazpacho. We had a great version at Tragabuches in Ronda, as part of a seven-course tasting dinner, but I’ve managed to recreate it here at home.
  5. Tortilla Española — Tortilla Española was our go-to staple whenever we couldn’t find anything else on the menu. Luckily it is available all-day almost everywhere. Don’t let tortilla fool you into thinking about tacos, wrong part of the world, this tortilla is more like a frittata, made with eggs and potatoes. If you get it from a tapas bar, it may be served cold or room temperature, but I like it best when it is warm and fresh. It is another Spain-inspired recipe that we have recreated at home for tapas cocktail parties.
  6. Churros con chocolate — When I think of churros con chocolate I feel like Homer Simpson drooling over donuts. When we were in Madrid, we visited the temple of churros, Chocolateria San Gines, three times in five days. Spanish churros are soft, long, curving tubes of sweet, fried goodness dusted in sugar. I liked to dip them in the thick, dark, hot chocolate that accompanies this tasty treat. It didn’t matter that it was 90 degrees, I could eat this year round.

    Chocolate and churros at Chocolateria San Gines in Madrid

    Chocolate and churros at Chocolateria San Gines in Madrid

  7. Pan con tomate — I’ve mentioned this a couple of times already but I can’t leave this Spanish staple off the list. It is simple and ubiquitous and absolutely a must-try food in Spain. Start with simple grilled or toasted bread and smear on some garlic, olive oil and crushed tomato — sort of like a Spanish bruschetta but not as messy. I’ve tried and tried to recreate this at home and haven’t been successful. There is definitely a trick to making the tomatoes smearable.
  8. Huevos — Almost as ubiquitous in Spain as ham are eggs. You’ll find them in tortilla española, but every cafeteria-type restaurant will also offer a wide selection of eggs and potatoes. The eggs and the potatoes are usually both fried, but I’m sure there are other options. This was another kid-pleaser when more jamon just wasn’t cutting it.
  9. Patatas bravas — Patatas bravas fried potatoes, topped with a spicy tomato aioli. Sometimes these are small potato chunks, like home fries, and occasionally, they are more like steak fries. But don’t be fooled into thinking that the kids will love them if they love french fries, because they can be pretty spicy. If you are looking for standard fries, go for the eggs and potatoes.Roast suckling pig in Segovia
  10. Suckling pig — If you are heading to Segovia (please do, it is beautiful and my favorite place in Spain!), you simply MUST try suckling pig. You should visit Mesón de Cándido, located just under the Roman Aqueduct, they are famous for their whole suckling pig. If the idea of a baby pig stretched out on a platter, tender enough to be cut with a plate, than just order a smaller portion. You can’t walk very far through town with seeing homage to the pig.

Visiting Spain? Find ideas for Spain holidays here.


10 Must try foods in Spain -- find out all the specialties you simply must try on your trip to Spain including suggestions on where to get the best in Barcelona, Madrid, Segovia, Ronda, and Seville.

Those are my 10 Must-Try Foods in Spain. Do you have any you would recommend?

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7 Comments on “10 Must-Try Foods in Spain

  1. Great list. We had all of these on our honeymoon. You missed angulas, the little baby eels. They only look strange but they were one of our favorites.

    The trick to the pan con tomate is using a box grater then straining the excess juice.

      Thanks Greg, I’ll have to try again that way because it truly is one of my favorites!

    Did you know?…

    Spanish people ‘tapear’ (the act of eating tapas) as an appetiser before dinner or lunch. Another Spanish way of enjoying tapas is to ‘ir de tapa’, which is basically bar hopping with a tapa and small drink at each stop.

    And if you love tapas you’ll want to put World Tapas Day in your diary – it’s the third Thursday in June. Yum yum!!

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