My Top 10 Foods in Barcelona

Apr 19, 2021 10:10:00 AM / by Andrew McKenzie

In today's post, Andy lists some of the tantalizing dishes from Barcelona, Spain! From freshly-squeezed orange juice to baby octopus and empanadas, you'll see how these foods represent Barcelona's unique geographical touchpoint. Feel free to savor this list with every scroll!

I’m writing this blog on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon in Barcelona. The weather has been absolutely spectacular for the past two weeks with temperatures in the 70s and sunshine almost daily.

This past weekend, my roommates and I traveled up the northeastern coast of Spain to Costa Brava for Semana Santa (Easter Weekend). Costa Brava is a prime vacation destination in Catalonia known for its stunning coastline, tranquil beaches, and charming sea towns. On Friday, my roomies and I visited Platja D’aro where we took a kayak tour around the coast and swam in the deceptively chilly water of the Mediterranean. After that, we played volleyball on the beach (finally!) and lounged in the sunshine. The next day we ventured further up the coast into a town called Roses where we snacked on fresh mussels and enjoyed another gem of a day at the beach!

Andy standing at the coastline with the Mediterranean sea in the background in Spain.

The mussels in Roses were incredible! You could taste the fresh sea salt as if somebody had just plucked them from the ocean. Mussels, along with several other foods, have been introduced to me here in Spain. I think I’m overdue for talking about my dining experiences, so for this blog I’m going to share my top 10 favorite foods in Spain.

1. Patatas Bravas

These spicy potatoes are a staple tapa (appetizer) at any Spanish restaurant. The potatoes are usually fried in oil and then served with a warm, spicy sauce. They’re filling and flavorful—what more can you ask for?

2. Green Olives

I had always hated olives… until coming to Spain. The fresh olives that they serve here before a meal with pan con tomate (grilled bread with tomato) are salty, buttery, and earthy. I’m interested to see if I continue to like them when I return home.

3. Orange Juice

Orange juice? Yeah, no question the orange juice here has been the best I’ve ever had. My roommate Barclay and I discovered it early on at a cafe, and it’s been my go-to drink here ever since. Each cafe juices their own oranges so the OJ is fresh, tart, and delicious.

4. Baby Octopus

It does take a bite or two to acclimate to the feel of the tentacles on your tongue, but once you get past the texture they’re unreal. They’re salty, squishy, and savory. I’m definitely going to order octopus again in the near future.

Baby Octopus food dish.

5. Clams

Similar to mussels, but smaller and more fragile, the clams here are fresh and delicious. I think I could easily eat two hundred of them if given the opportunity. The only downside is that they’re a bit expensive and usually leave you just as hungry as when you started.

6. Durum Kebab

These Turkish wraps are usually filled with lamb meat, lettuce, and tomatoes and served with ranch and picante sauce. Even though these aren’t part of the traditional Spanish cuisine, that doesn’t stop me from devouring about 1.5 of these every week. The best part? They’re only €4.

Durum Kebab Turkish meat wrap.

7. Empanadas

Our site supervisor, Rebecca, introduced us to empanadas on the first day and it’s been a love story ever since. These fried turnovers are usually filled with spinach, cheese, chicken, and/or beef. Our favorite empanadas are from Muns, a Spanish chain. If you ever find yourself at a Muns make sure to try the Pollo Thai empanada, which is filled with spicy green curry sauce, coconut milk, ginger, and some tasty chicken breast.

Spanish empanadas.

8. Mussels

I’ve talked about mussels a lot and for good reason. Larger and denser than clams, mussels are briny and savory. They’re fun to slurp out of the shell and they pair well with white wine sauce or spicy tomato sauce.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Spring2021_Barcelona_Andy McKenzie_Mussels in white wine sauce

9. Chorizo

Chorizo has been one of my newly discovered favorites here. It comes packaged as a long sausage stick and I usually snack on it for about a week. I always keep at least one stick of chorizo in the fridge and I basically eat it as I would eat a beef stick or Slim Jim. The picante flavor is my favorite.

10. Jamon Iberico

Last but not least is Iberian Ham. The pigs that make Iberian Ham are fed a strict diet of only acorns which gives the ham a unique, nutty flavor that will blow you away. I wish I could ship an Iberian pig back to the US because this stuff is phenomenal.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Spring2021_Barcelona_Andy McKenzie_Jamon Iberico ham

I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog!

Thanks for reading and peace out,

CAPAStudyAbroad_Spring2021_Barcelona_Andy McKenzie_Visiting a coastal town

Thanks, Andy!

Andy McKenzie

Andy McKenzie is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2021, sharing his story in frequent posts on CAPA World. A Marketing major from University of Minnesota, he is studying abroad and interning in Barcelona this semester.

Andy's journey continues all semester so stay tuned.

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Topics: Barcelona, Spain, Local Culture