Spain has lush green pastures, fertile farmlands, unspoiled coastline, and some of the best food you’ll find anywhere on the planet. Whether you’re hungry for the world’s best ham, superior seafood, or brilliant bar snacks, you won’t want to miss these five Spanish dishes.

Tapas

A ‘tapa’ is a small portion of food but there is no way you’ll be able to stop at just one of these tasty Spanish bar snacks. Start your night with classic dishes like patatas bravas (chunky fried potato with a spicy sauce), gambas al ajillo (garlic prawns), or albondigas (meatballs with a twist) then move on to the next drinking spot. Eat. Drink. Repeat. 

Gazpacho

Simultaneously refreshing, flavoursome, and delicious, this silky blended tomato soup is made with rich, red tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, olive oil, garlic, and bread. Originating in the Andalusian region, it is served cold making it the perfect dish to enjoy on a sunny day. If you’re heading to a tapas bar, you’ll almost certainly find a jug of gazpacho on the counter. 

Paella

Named after the Valencian word for ‘pan’, paella combines bomba or Calasparra rice with meats or seafood like mussels which are traditionally left in the shell. It’s most commonly served at lunch time and tastes as good as it looks, with saffron giving the rice a golden glow as it soaks up the mouth-watering flavours of the fresh local produce in the pan. You’ll find paella throughout Spain but Valencia is considered the home of this quintessential dish. 

Jamón

Jamón is widely regarded as the world’s best ham and there’s no better place to try it than the place it originated. Make sure you sample both variations while you’re in Spain. Jamón Serrano is made from white pigs while Jamón Iberico comes from black piglets (found only in Spain) and is available in four different grades. For the ultimate treat, look for Jamón 100% Ibérico de Bellota which is made from free-range pigs that graze almost exclusively on acorns.

Churros

Crispy, hot, and absolutely irresistible – especially when you dip them in a rich, creamy cup of hot chocolate – churros are the ultimate Spanish sweet treat. A popular snack food at fairs and fiestas as they’re affordable and easy to eat, these fried dough batons can be served with or without sugar. If you want to dip your churros in hot chocolate, Madrid is your go-to destination for the most delicious and elegant chocolaterías (chocolate shops).