I don’t like Spanish food!
The headline “I don’t like Spanish food” is a bit dramatic, and not entirely true. What I don’t like is the self righteous prigs who tell me I should like Spanish food BECAUSE I live here!
I came to write this after Elle read an article I wrote, in which I voiced my disappointment at Burger King being closed when I was in Almeria a few days ago. She asked “Do you really want to take the flack about Burger King?” Hell yes, I’m happy to embrace and encourage it!
I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve read or heard, usually from newbie expats who will be gone in a year or two, that it’s not really possible to fully embrace life in Spain without eating the local dishes. I’ve never heard it from long term expats, nor have I ever received a lecture on the matter from a true foodie, it’s always from over-excited and over-enthusiastic newbies.
The simple fact is, I like what I like. It’s not a question of culture, it’s a question of my own personal taste.
In truth I love a lot of the seafood dishes. I love calamari, and I’m very partial to a bit of pulpo (octopus). What I really can’t stand is chorizo, it just doesn’t work for me. I dislike it almost as much as I get annoyed by the inability of almost anyone in the UK, including many of the TV chefs to pronounce it properly. For the record it is pronounced ‘chureetho’ not ‘choritzo’ – please get it right in future if you are one of the culprits. I don’t like the stuff, and I don’t like any dishes tainted with the taste, which are many.
I don’t like paella, in my eyes it can easily be recreated by throwing a bit of seafood and chicken into a portion of Bachelors savoury rice! I don’t like cooked olives or uncooked ham either! I really can’t be bothered with some of the dry and tasteless pastries on the supermarket shelves here, and I’d rather have chips than patatas bravas or papas arrugadas. Add to all that, Spanish sliced bread (although it lasts ages) is not a patch on its English equivalent.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have an English breakfast every day, I don’t have afternoon tea; I have a McDonalds only about twice a year, and I don’t believe I still live in the days of the empire. I do however reserve the right to dislike some Spanish cuisine in preference for more traditional English fayre like pizza, crispy duck with pancakes, chilli, fajitas, spag bol, or a decent curry.
Alan, along with Elle, is the owner of Spain Buddy. He was born in the North of England (Lancashire) and travelled extensively before eventually settling in Almería. Alan has 3 sons from the first of his 18 marriages, (Sam, Joe & Ben) who are all now adults. You can read more articles by Alan on his personal blog at AlanGandy.com and see more of his photography on his photography website as well as on Flickr and Instagram.
Also, for less than the price of a cup of coffee each month you can help support Alan’s photography (and get some freebies into the bargain). Click here to visit his Patreon page to find out more.
March 30, 2013 @ 4:52 pm
I agree wholeheartedly! Much as I like the local food, I do get totally fed up with f’ing pimenton in everything!
March 30, 2013 @ 6:07 pm
…and don’t get me onto olives! :)
David Dchtoo (@dcht00)
March 30, 2013 @ 5:18 pm
I completely agree with your point, though I have more love for Spanish food myself. But more importantly, thank you for opening the world of Duck with pancakes, my new favorite dish of the future, to me o/
March 30, 2013 @ 6:08 pm
You’ve never tried it from a Chinese restaurant?
If you haven’t tried it yet – give the Japanese place in Arrecife a go…
Debs @ The Spanish Wok
March 30, 2013 @ 6:39 pm
I have to agree with the majority of your views. However, although I don’t it chorizo, i do like the flavour it imparts into a dish and simply pick it out LOL. I don’t eat seafood and very little fish. But my main problem with Spanish food is how it’s consistently cooked badly by “wanna be chefs”.
I do feel the food offered in Northern Spain far exceeds that of the South simply because the majority of establishments there actually have a passion for excellence in the cooking of produce. Here in the South I find chips served with everything (enimic soggy ones too), Occasionally a dish may even be accompanies with overcooked, mixed mushy frozen veg (enough to make anyone recommend that establishment). All too often there are bottles of vinegar and oil on tables that have clearly never been washed out and are full of dead flies! The salt and pepper will not dispense from their respective containers due to being clogged! Hot (well should be) food served on cold plates!
Oh now you’ve got me started, think I better stop there before I start a war LOL, you get my point?
March 30, 2013 @ 9:43 pm
HI Debs! I still haven’t had the pleasure of eating in Northern Spain (Madrid is as far as I’ve got so far in Spain… hardly North) so I can’t compare. I’m all for Spanish fayre myself – in fact… I eat Alan’s share so the economy sure ain’t missing out – and my waistline has certainly noticed! ;) Luckily I have some great pals here, happy to show me around some local gems. Have had amazing rabbit, lamb, migas… and recently enjoyed my first pigs’ cheeks (they are officially now my new favourite). I have to say that everywhere I have eaten so far has been spotless – although to be fair, I’ve been nowhere near a resort since we moved from Lanzarote to here. I saw enough of the laziness and cleanliness issues in some places there that don’t care because a new round of holidaymakers arrives next week. Conversely, I really miss those extra special places that really are 5* standard – somewhere you get your gladrags on to head to. Also haven’t had caracoles here yet… although I am reliably informed that one of my favourite haunts has them on market days. Yum! xxx
PS: Cooked gambas gabardina for me and Alan tonight – bloody lovely!!
March 30, 2013 @ 8:41 pm
“I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve read or heard, usually from newbie expats who will be gone in a year or two, that it’s not really possible to fully embrace life in Spain without eating the local dishes. I’ve never heard it from long term expats, nor have I ever received a lecture on the matter from a true foodie, it’s always from over-excited and over-enthusiastic newbies.”
…BANG ON THE BUTTON! Irritates me almost as much as newbie expats who over-enthusiastically hug a neighbour they saw the day before in the MISTAKEN belief that all Spaniards hug each other enthusiastically and incessantly. I’d probably smile more indulgently if the culprit could say more than, “Howla, María. Quaay tahl, amigo”
There are plenty Spanish foods I don’t/won’t eat —- just as there are in England/Scandinavia and nobody is going to tell me that I must eat x or y “to be Spanish” Vaya!
….and I get really irritated by those who tell me that eating pizza isn’t Spanish. When they clear off “home” a few months later they will find that pizza is European and is eaten extensively throughout Spain!
March 30, 2013 @ 9:12 pm
Steve, used to work in Scandinavia a lot. Some of that fishy stuff is vile! :)
March 30, 2013 @ 8:53 pm
Don’t slag off people for pronouncing Chorizo in a non Spanish way if you can’t be bothered to eat in Spanish way. Pot calling kettle. As for fast food BK and “Maccy D’s” are a disgrace in any culture except US, but it is more acceptable in the UK since food is of a poorer average standard. When in place that does fine fresh local food for around the same price as “maccies” you’d be foolish to “feed” the American fast food conglomerates selling heavily reprocessed food/chemicals ( http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/news/on-the-menu-at-mcdonalds-78-additives-some-may-be-harmful-767533.html ).
Case in point – in Tenerife a year ago I witnessed a local ex-pat customer shouting at two late teen tourists who’d bought their burgers at a “Maccies” then proceeded to eat them *next door* in a proper Spanish restaurant that actually sold freshly made burgers with home cut chips and salad for much the same price. They only sat at a table in that restaurant for the cheap booze, but blatantly, and shockingly proceeded to eat out of the brown paper bag and red recycled packaging their reprocessed beef and “fries” were in. The bar owner reasoned with the expat and stated that he was used to it and shouldn’t get het up but the owner really shouldn’t have to put up with that behaviour. It’s bad for the locals and its an education problem for the youngsters addicted to the high salt and sugar who “like what they like” without understanding they’ve been brain washed by it. Show them a big yellow M and watch their faces light up like the first time they were shown it and received a free reward (a toy) in their happy meal… the locals just can’t compete with happy memories so give them a chance.
Now if you don’t mind I’m off to eat my Full English in a Spanish restaurant and I’ll use my best Spanish to order.
March 30, 2013 @ 9:45 pm
Benjamin, I think my post would suggest that I will try stuff. And, if I don’t like it I won’t eat it again. It’s not that I “can’t be bothered to eat in a Spanish way”, it’s more a case of if I don’t like something I don’t eat it.
You should perhaps be careful about what you say about the “American fast food conglomerates”, before you know it you’ll have black helicopters hovering above your house.
The point of the article was, it’s my life, it’s my taste, and I’ll eat what the fcuk I like, and the opinions of others are completely irrelevant to me.
No pot, no kettle, just my opinion. Which to quote Noel Gallagher ‘is the only opinion that matters’ ;)
March 30, 2013 @ 11:29 pm
Strange isn’t it… I’m now an ex-expat having served 8 years in Spain before returning to the UK and yes, I agree with most of what you say… when first in Spain, everything ‘Spanish’ is the best before gradually sliding back to I’ll eat what I like, not where it comes from… However, even now I do miss the proper Spanish cuisine especially the quality chorizo, hams, cheeses and bean stews!
March 31, 2013 @ 10:44 am
Mike there’s a couple of ads appear on this site from time to time for suppliers of genuine Spanish food in the UK. Might be worth a look for you if you’re missing it.
March 31, 2013 @ 1:20 am
Ha Ha Ha !! Got to luv Alan! Love the bit about bachelors savoury rice! One of my requests from visitors is 5 packets of savoury rice and I’m made to feel a chav for asking! lol they are only 69 pence from home bargains! What’s wrong with that? And that’s after 13 years ‘abroad’! Keep up the good work Al xx
March 31, 2013 @ 7:29 am
Well I’m in Turkey at the moment … Here is a place where I could survive on their local cuisine (kebabs … Lots of them)! As for Spain I have to agree was nice to experience at first but then back to the old favourites it was for me too!
March 31, 2013 @ 10:42 am
Kebabs, now you’re talking Phil! :) More fine traditional British cuisine!
March 31, 2013 @ 1:36 pm
I like most Canarian food, but I’ll give the salt fish a pass, and I don’t think churros are worth the calories. Mostly I like that the fruit, veg and fish are so fresh. But you have every right to like what you like too.
December 30, 2017 @ 8:54 pm
You’re simply right. Spanish food is the worse of all Mediterranean cuisine. Again there is no real cooking. No country in the world markets a slice bread with some paste smear or cut of meat “cuisine”. Only in Spain they got the tenacity for that. In case you visit places as Sicily or Genova or Cyprus or Israel which all have real cooked variety of warm and cold cuisine with more than 2 condiment as in Spain. Spain is extremely overrated.