Cravings Intensified: 7 Most Popular Spanish Dishes

Spanish cuisine

Spanish dishes are greatly influenced by their geographical position. They have enough supply of seafood because they are surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Other food influences came from the countries that they once conquered such as Romans, Greeks, and Phoenicians.

In Europe, Spaniards were the first to discover that tomatoes are not poisonous which they found out in South America. Since then, Europeans started to include tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes in their cuisine.

Through the years, Spaniards developed their cooking techniques and flavor profile. They usually use a lot of olive oil, peppers, tomatoes, saffrons, and bomba rice which you can notice with most dishes they cook. In connection to that, they also use cooking methods such as stewing, roasting, broiling, grilling, and baking.

Want to know about Spanish dishes? Check these 8 popular meals that they have been sharing with people around the world!

1. Paella

Ever had paella? When you go to Spanish restaurants, you’ll see a flat pan (known as a paellera) that has yellow or red rice and a lot of shellfish or meat called paella. It’s usually good for a group of people.

At first, paella was a common meal of farmers made from rice and other available ingredients. Later on, when Valencian rice became a staple in the meal, they also added seafood since the region of Valencia is near the Mediterranean coast.

Try ordering next time, if you haven’t tried it, and experience a variety of flavours in one meal!


2. Croquetas

Spanish croquetas are made from the rich and creamy sauce called bechamel, mixed with minced meat and vegetables. They’re covered with breadcrumbs, then deep-fried to golden perfection. In France, they use potatoes as the base instead of bechamel sauce.

Croquetas came from the French word “croques” meaning “to crunch”. Back in the 18th century, croquetas were made so that leftover ingredients such as meat and vegetables won’t go to waste. Who would have thought that leftovers can be made into a divine dish?

3. Gazpacho

In Spanish cookbooks, gazpacho is labelled as a kind of salad. However, it’s also called a cold soup with green peppers and tomatoes as its base ingredients.

Gazpacho is usually prepared by mixing green peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, onions, garlic, olive oil, water, vinegar, and bread. The mixture is marinated within 30 mins overnight, then blended or pureed, and served with some garnish. It’s easy to prepare, especially when you use ripped tomatoes.

Back then, when there were no blenders available yet, Spaniards used mortar to get the creamy texture of the soup.


4. Jamón

Spanish Iberian ham or jamón ibérico is one of the most expensive meats in the world. They use black Iberian pig, which is a special breed and fed mostly of acorns. These pigs are free-range, that’s why they mostly contain muscles instead of fat.

In curing the meat, they use the rear part of the pig, but some companies also include the front leg which is called paleta and buries it in salt for about 15 to 20 days. In addition, the remaining meat parts are made into other processed products.

5. Tapas

“Tapa” means “to cover”. It has been served in Spanish restaurants and bars as part of Spanish cuisine. Although the modern interpretation of tapa is a small plate of food served before a meal, traditionally, it’s something that covers a glass of wine (like cheese or meat) while being served. For some, it’s the way of doing certain things while drinking with your friends.


6. Tortilla

“Tortilla” means “little cake.” It’s prepared by cutting slices of potatoes and onions mixed with eggs then fried using a little olive oil.

The origin of the Spanish tortilla is not clear but some say that in the 1830s, the general visited a local home. The wife didn’t have anything to serve the visitors so she scrambled some eggs, onions, and potatoes. They must have liked the dish, which is why it has been served in tapas bars until now.

7. Chorizo

Chorizo is the Spanish version of sausage. It’s cured pork (with or without smoked paprika) and other ingredients.

In making chorizo, Spaniards make sure that the pork and the spices used are high-quality to maintain the flavours.


Now that you have an idea about the most famous Spanish dishes in the world, you should try them at least once when you visit Spanish restaurants. Let us know which of these dishes is your favourite by commenting below!

Aliana Baraquio is a web content writer during the day, and an aspiring chef before dinner time. You can catch her browsing the internet for the latest hairstyles and hair care tips in her free time.

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