Iconic Dishes Define Spanish Regions

Which Food Identifies Spain's communities?

Stock image of chef cooking paella. Credit: bodiaphvideo/Shutterstock.com

Travel anywhere in the world and certain areas become synonymous with certain foods. Many people think of certain stereotypical dishes associated with Spain’s communities, but what do the Spaniards themselves think?

On a recent survey conducted by the Centre for Sociological Research (CIS), Spaniards were quizzed about the hallmark dish of their respective communities. The results? The Valencians stood out with a whopping 92.8 per cent confidently choosing the renowned Valencian paella, writes 20 Minutos.

While heated discussions continue about what ingredients make up a paella, does it contain rabbit, chicken or duck? Most Valencians are united in that it must not contain shellfish, ever!

Asturias And Cantabria

Paella arguments aside, the Asturians are in no doubt about their signature dish. A significant 88.7 per cent believed fabada represents their culinary identity. Fabada is a hearty bean stew that contains shoulder of pork, morcilla (black pudding) and chorizo. Similarly, 75.6 per cent of Cantabrians favoured the mountain stew, while 77.2 per cent of Madrileños opted for Madrid stew.

A Mixed Bag Of Delicacies

La Rioja had a majority, with 69.8 per cent leaning towards Riojan-style potatoes. However, other regions showcased a diverse range of favourites. In Andalusia, gazpacho was the top pick for nearly half of its residents. Aragon’s pride lay in ternasco, a type of lamb dish, while over 50 per cent of Canary Islanders celebrated the iconic wrinkled potatoes paired with mojo picon sauce.

Regions Torn Between Choices

Castilla y Leon presented a culinary conundrum. Roast suckling pig led with 36.4 per cent, but roast lamb and suckling pig weren’t far behind, garnering 16.8 per cent and 12.8 per cent respectively. Castilla-La Mancha’s residents were split, with 24.7 per cent favouring migas, a type of stew with breadcrumbs. Extremadura faced a similar dilemma, torn between migas, and Serrano ham.

Catalonia’s top choice was pan con tomate (bread with tomato), but botifarra (sausage) and escudella (Catalan stew) trailed closely. Murcia’s preferences varied between the Murcian caldero (rice with fish), zarangollo (scrambled eggs, courgette and onions), and the marinera (anchovy and salad).

In the Basque Country, the competition was stiff between marmitako (tuna pot stew) and cod al pil pil. Navarra’s favourite was the stew with 29.2 per cent votes, and Galicia was split between octopus a feira (36.2 per cent) and seafood (33.1 per cent).

Spain’s rich culinary landscape is evident in the varied choices across its regions, reflecting the diverse gastronomic heritage of this vibrant nation.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.