Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 26 - Food

I have always enjoyed Spanish food. Or at least that's how I remember it. When I was in Granada I thought I remembered liking most things. Now maybe the food in Granada is quite different from the food in Galicia and in Santiago, but it turns out, maybe it's not my favorite! Not that it's bad, don't get me wrong, and there are some specialties which are extra delicious (See Day 4 - Tarta de Santiago), but overall I like a little more variety and a few more vegetables in my diet!

For instance, take today's lunch. It is about as veggie heavy as any dish I could order in Santiago. I have a wedge of tortilla española with an "ensalada mixta." Ensalada mixta, or mixed salad, has lettuce, onions and two large wedges of tomato. There is another option which also includes pickled white asparagus and tuna, but that's about it.

I still do love a good Tortilla Española and order it quite frequently. If I choose something else, it usually involves pork, because most things involve pork. There is xamón serano, a kind of Prociutto-like ham; pork chops; zorza, which is the pork meat used to make sausage before it is ground up. They season it to make sure it's right for the sausage but then serve the pieces as well. It's tasty but a lot of meat if you don't have some veggies with it, which they don't. They usually serve it with just fries. I can think of a couple people I know who would love the food here!

Drinks are pretty tasty. You have your standard Sangria, your Licor 43 (best served with fresh squeezed oj or even with Fanta Naranja), as well as a Fanta by itself. This is better than Fanta in the US since it actually contains a bit of juice! They do have beer here, but generally just one type and it's pretty light. I found one place that served a dark beer in a bottle that was pretty good. And there is a Café Licor which is also pretty tasty. It's more of a sipping shot than anything, but yummy. Other than that it's water water water. And rarely for free, it's certainly not something that just comes with your meal anyway.

I certainly wouldn't say the food here is terrible, and some of it is still downright delicious, but it's a tough place for a vegetarian that's for sure. Good thing I'm not one. Although I do not like to eat most fish or seafood, and Galicia is definitely known for that. One thing that I do enjoy from that selection of foods is octopus. This is not to be confused with calamari like we have in the US. It is pieces of tentacles cooked in oil and served in the sizzling pan with a bit of paprika or chili powder on top (I'm not sure which, and I've heard both).

Other things that I have enjoyed while here come from the local panadaría, or bakery. They make amazing bread and delicious desserts. It's difficult to say no sometimes!

It's definitely worth trying some new things while you are here, and if you're a meat and potatos kind of person it's definitely the place for you. If you love seafood and fish you will also find many things to enjoy here. And if you love things cooked in lots of olive oil, then you will be in heaven. And there are fruits and vegetables to be found at the local markets so you can enjoy some of that at home if you live here.

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