Food and travel are two sides of the same coin – if you like one, you probably like the other. If you’re passionate about one, well…let’s just say it’s a love affair. For us, the promise of exciting new culinary experiences is often enough to get us booking tickets on the next flight out. We’ve been amazed by some regional delicacies (rattlesnake in Arizona for example), but there’s one country we can always count on for some amazing quick bites, and it’s always unique – Spain.
Here, tapas are more than just a meal – they’re an experience. Tapas means hanging out with friends, snacking, drinking; in general just a good night out. For visitors, it also means an opportunity to try a wide variety of the country’s specialties without ordering more food than you could ever fit in the mini-fridge in your hotel room. But how do you know which to order? Here, in no particular order, are our 10 favorite tapas with which to while away a sultry Spanish evening.
Patatas (or papas) bravas
Diced, fried potatoes served with a spicy tomato sauce. A little bit of mayo or aioli lessens the burn. These are a standard at most tapas bars and can vary depending on where you order them – so you might have to try them a few times!
Stuffed bell peppers, often filled with cheese or breadcrumbs. You might have had the large versions in the past, but we firmly believe nothing can compare to the bite-sized specimens found at some tapas bars.
Gambas al ajillo
Garlic shrimp – Spanish style. How could you go wrong? Add some chili pepper and bite in for some tasty tapas paradise.
This is an interesting one, with roots in Russia, but a popular Spanish tapas nonetheless. Essentially a Russian potato salad, this dish is very popular in Spain. Expect to see this potato salad on the tapas menu featuring either tuna or shrimp, mayonnaise, carrots, and peas.
Some of the tastiest sausages you will ever eat, these smoked delicacies are all kinds of wonderful. There are many varieties of chorizo throughout the country, but we’ve never had a bad one.
For the soup enthusiasts – rejoice! A tapas in a bowl for you, in the form of a refreshing cool soup concocted of vegetables like onions, peppers, garlic, and cucumbers, all chopped up and mixed with oil and vinegar.
Sometimes you’re just in the mood for a sandwich. Well, here’s a sandwich in tapas form. These small sandwiches are usually equipped with some kind of meat, fish, and vegetables.
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One travel writer has described these as “tiny fried balls of heaven,” and the rest of us are hard-pressed to disagree. They usually contain some combination of mashed potatoes, ground meat, fish, cheese, or vegetables. And they are heavenly.
For the meatball lovers, Spain delivers. These Spanish meatballs come in many forms, but all will be tasty and unique. Grab a toothpick!
If you’re a seafood lover, this might be the tapas for you. Enjoy small scallops cooked in a tomato sauce. They’ll have to pull the plate away from you – maybe a problem you’ll have with all tapas. Tapas tend to be bite-sized and unbelievably tasty – a good problem to have on vacation if you ask us.