I came to Spanish food a little bit late. My first surprise on arriving in Madrid was that no, they don’t eat Mexican food here. I was 21 and suffering from the All-American ailment of total ignorance of everything outside your dismal suburb, and really didn’t know any better.
In addition, I was a vegetarian at the time. While vegetarianism is an interesting experience, I wouldn’t really recommend it at this point: either way, it was totally impractical for me to integrate into Spanish culture if I wasn’t eating animals. So after a couple of years, I gave up on vegetarianism. Sorry, animals.
Anyway, a lot of Spanish food is not exactly politically correct by American standards, and I have the feeling that many tourists come here and don’t have any idea what things are, so they end up in McDonalds. Bad idea.
Anyway, without further ado, here are my top 25 Spanish foods (in no particular order):
1. Pulpo a la Gallega: That’s Galician-style octopus. Yep, the tentacles. It’s purple on the outside, white on the inside, an delicious all over. In Galicia (in the north of Spain), they serve it with cloudy home-made white wine, sometimes in little ceramic bowls like in the photo.
2. Tortilla de patatas: Otherwise known as Spanish omelette, this one is pretty simple (most Spanish food is pretty simple, actually.) It’s potato and eggs. Sometimes onion. Sometimes a little bit runny on the inside. Great.
3. Paella: I’m not actually a huge fan of paella, but it seems to be pretty popular. Rice and various kinds of seafood (mussels, prawns, squid) are the usual ingredients. The yellow colour comes from saffron.