Every society has its own cuisine, and food is one of the best ways to experience a culture. Food isn’t just nourishment, it’s part of a person’s identity and heritage.
For many people, foreign food is one of the best perks of traveling. Each year, tons of Americans backpack and vacation through Europe, sipping on coffee in Berlin or spending a night at a Spanish restaurant in Valencia. For people who can’t travel, whether they have obligations at home or cannot afford it, eating out can temporarily take them to whole new world. Having a night out at a nearby Spanish restaurant, for example, can introduce you to a whole new country without having to leave your hometown. Here are some staples you need to keep on your radar.
Paella is a staple dish in Spanish dining. It originated in Valencia on the east coast of Spain. Paella is widely considered as Spain’s national dish. With several different variations, it is generally made up of rice, seafood or meat, vegetables, and spices. Similar to the original jambalaya, it is great for groups to share.
Different croquettes exist all over the world as small, fried pouches, but Spanish croquetas are traditionally made with bechamel sauce and meat or fish with potatoes. Plenty of places today are more creative with their croquetas, using things like ham, cheese, and mushrooms for unique fillings. They work great as either an appetizer or a meal.
Empanadas are a staple of both Latin America and European Spain. Made from a thin wheat pastry, they are stuffed with fillings that vary from fish, meat, potatoes, and cheese, to dessert fillings. Empanadas can be either fried or baked, and they are one of the most versatile dishes out there.
This one’s like a Spanish creme brulee. It’s made with milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, and different spices with a thin, burnt layer on top. It’s rich without being too heavy, usually comes in a small, manageable portion, and is perfect for when you just have that little bit of room left after dinner.
San Jacobos is essentially a dish of meat wrapped around cheese, and it is both simple and delicious. It’s usually fried and is similar to the French cordon bleu. Some people use ham, some people use chicken, different people use different cheeses, but San Jacobos are always a good choice.
While you may not have the time to visit Spain in the near future, a night out at a local, Spanish restaurant can be just as life-changing, especially if you know what to order. Chefs today are great at getting creative with traditional dishes, so you might come across dessert empanadas or some kind of paella fusion. Don’t be scared to step outside of your comfort zone and trust the chefs at a Spanish restaurant.
To learn more about their options for a Spanish restaurant, Neward, NJ residents should visit www.chateauofspain.com.