I’m gonna go out on a limb here and argue that the region of Galicia in the northwest part of Spain churns out the best food in the entire country. Give me some Galician food any day over expensive Basque pintxos, snobby Catalan cuisine, or the famine food of the central meseta. I realize I probably offended just about everybody out there, but exaggerations aside, I believe Galicia occupies a particularly special place on the peninsula that has allowed a rich cuisine to develop over the centuries: a rugged coast from which bountiful seafood arrives inland, a fertile, rain-blessed interior to grow anything from corn to peppers to greens in, and a climate friendly to raising dairy cows.
There’s a lot to see and do in this fascinating corner of the country, from Romanesque cathedrals and Roman ruins to glorious beaches and thermal baths, but enjoying quality home cooking ranks pretty high up there on the list. If you don’t know what to order when visiting Galicia, try any (or all!) of the dishes I’m about to talk about below.
1) Polbo á feira (octopus)
|A plate at Lugo’s San Froilán festival|
2) Pementos de Padrón (fried peppers from Padrón)
|(Source: Jessica Spengler)|
3) Queixo (cheese)
4) Empanada (meat pie)
|(Source: Predicador Malvado)|
5) Caldo galego (Galician stew)
|(Source: Stanley Fong)|
6) Mariscos (seafood)
|Cigalas, or Norway lobsters|
7) Pan (bread)
8) Tarta de Santiago (Santiago almond cake)
|(Source: Dale Calder)|
9) Lacón con grelos (pork shoulder with greens)
10) Churrasco (barbecue)
|Churrasco mixto at Parrillada Don Paquito, Boiro|
Because of this recent reverse emigration, los argentinos have brought to Galicia their famous tradition of roasted meat, asado. While beef might be more popular in Buenos Aires, it’s easy here to find a quality churrasco or barbecue cookout of pork ribs, veal steak, and criollo sausage, sometimes served with a tomato-and-vinegar sauce.
Have you tried anything on this list before? What sounds most appealing (or least!)? Tell me in the comments section below!