What am I going to eat in Spain??

Old Sep 5th, 2000, 07:41 PM
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Most guidebooks have a glossary of food term from names of food to methods of preparation. Copy it and reduce the size so it's easy to carry as reference. If that doesn't work and you have time, wander through a larger grocery store and look at the words. Ordering specialties in the correct region can help too.
Old Sep 6th, 2000, 06:49 PM
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Please don't head straight to the nearest McDonalds, or Burger King, or Pizza Hut.... Part of going to a new place is to discover as much as you can about the new place, and that includes eating.

The Spaniards eat a lot of meat, and the meat they eat the most is ham and pork. We don't eat those things, and wondered ourselves what we would find. Since someone here was kind enough to mention dietary restrictions, we can assure you that it is possible to eat according to your restrictions and not feel like you're giving something up. Fish dishes were quite common, and vegetarian paellas were good as well.

In many places you'll find the expression "raciones". These are tapas with portions sized to be shared, and a few "raciones" can fill you up quite nicely.

In general, we found that eating out in Spain is not a major event like it is here, with dressing up and reservations and formality. It is part of socializing and enjoying the day/evening. When you go, take along a book containing a menu reader/translator. We consulted it very often and were able to get by nicely. Also, we found the costs of the meals were almost always reasonable by U.S. standards.

Caution: If you are not a smoker and are bothered by second hand smoke, be sure to eat outside. The Spaniards smoke a lot. In most of the places we went (Jerez, Granada, Ronda, Segovia, Madrid, Toledo) many restaurants have outside seating, although there are exceptions. Non-smoking sections are hard to find and inside, the second hand smoke can be enough to gag on.
Old Sep 6th, 2000, 07:37 PM
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I second the vote for tapas. They started out as a slice of sausage to cover the wine glass and keep the flies out but have evolved into a heavenly experience. I love the roasted potatoes with the garlic-mayo. The eels in their own ink are great, too, and the garlic shrimp is always top-notch. Another experience to watch for. In Madrid there's a place that, translated into English, is "Museum of the Ham" (Sorry, my Spanish isn't good enough to give you the real name: Jamon De Museo maybe?) Paella, too, is a real treat. And the whole roasted pigs in Granada are a staple and must be tried. I'm getting hungry just thinking about all the great food. Only Italy rivals Spain for great cuisine.
Old Sep 6th, 2000, 08:10 PM
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Museo de Jamon! i found it in a guide book about 12 years ago when i went to madrid and loved the idea....dragged my family just to see it and had a great time....think that branchs have opened recently but thanks for bringing back a fun thought. ps to food worrier...the jamon in a bit of crust bread is a wonderful lunch....
Old Sep 7th, 2000, 10:30 AM
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Jamon Serrano!!! It's the best and yes, translate into most expensive.

Seafood is fantastic - I had hake at L'Arc in Barcelona and it was fantastic!

In Roses, I had Zarzuela - which was a seafood combination of mussells, shrimp, and 3 types of fish in a tomato base.

Sorry for the bunnies/bambi bit - but I did have broasted rabbit with garlic sauce and it was delicious (although I probably wouldn't eat it here in the US)
Rabbit with snails is another popular dish.

The best paella is going to be around and in Valencia - it's the origin. Some places in other areas tend to make it oilier and skimp on shrimp/mussells.

Keep in mind that bifstek is a relatively thin strip of beef - don't be mistaking it for a big steak, it isn't.

I had more seafood in Sitges; cannot remember the name of all of the places, but I didn't go wrong with seafood.

Oh, yes, there is a Catalan salad which has salted fish (cod?) - it's a little different....
Old Sep 7th, 2000, 10:50 AM
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I had to laugh when I saw that the question about whether Tapas are on menus. In Andalusia, there are plenty of tiny tapas bars, probably the ones that don't appear in guidebooks, where there are no menus. The waiter comes over and tells you what they have. It is usually one long, fast list that is difficult to understand. It also reminds me of a song by the great Spanish group No Me Pises Que Llevo Chanclas (translates to Don't step on (my feet) because I'm wearing sandles.) about a tapas bar owner in Triana and in the middle of the song, the owner orders his son to turn the volume down so he can talk, and gives a customer the long list of tapas. Then the music picks up again.

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