Gypset rule #37: Eat and drink what the locals actually eat and drink (not what the tourists think locals eat and drink).

Most tourists who visit Spain eat the same typical dishes that has been popularized by pop culture and the internet. I’m not saying they’re not good. I’m just saying that there’s more to Spanish food and drinks than your typical paella and sangria.

When I travel, I always avoid tourist restaurants and bars and let locals show me the side of their cities unknown to tourists. As a self-confessed gourmand, I enjoy eating a variety of dishes recommended by local friends.

So here’s 9 food and 2 drinks that will set you apart from the typical tourists.


Spanish Food Porn

Champiñones la plancha rellenos de jamon y pimiento – baked mushroom with ham and pimiento


Pastel de puerros en salsa de queso – leek cake in cheese sauce. so yummmmy!


Queso frito con salsa de fresas – fried cheese with strawberry sauce


Patatas alioli – fried potatoes covered in warm garlicky mayonnaise


Pan con tomate – tomato bread: simple, well-loved and widely eaten in Cataluña


La bomba – oozy mass of potato croquette stuffed with some meat and covered in a cream sauce and a deliciously spicy romesco sauce. This is a Catalan dish.


Jamon Serrano (front) – debatably the best dry-cured ham from Spain. Go buy in the market or supermarket and snack on it like I did. It’s not really underrated but I just want to put it here haha.

Jamon York (upper left)- boiled ham. delicious but not as good as jamon serrano

Queso Manchego (upper right)- super delicious Spanish hard cheese from sheep’s milk that is only made in the La Mancha region of Spain (hence the manchego). It’s so good I can’t stop going back to the fridge for another slice.


And this is how you finish your meal like a legit local: wipe the plate clean with the complimentary bread. Your friends will love you.


Spanish Drinks

Tinto de verano – Forget sangria. Ask for this one and you’ll win kudos from your Spanish drinking buddies. What is it? It’s red wine mixed with lemon fanta (or equivalent) or sometimes, orange fanta (tinto de naranja).


Horchata – a non-alcoholic drink made from almonds or tiger nuts. It is originally from Valencia (orxata) and it’s a perfect refreshment during the hot summer months. You have to drink it when you’re in Valencia. A glass cost 2 euros or less. (Kinda reminds me of Vampire Weekend’s song named after the drink.)


Where to get them:

Barcelona –  El Tropezon Tapas Bar in Carrer del Regomir 26, Barcelona

Albacete  – El Alambique Restaurant in Callejon San Jose, Albacete

Valencia – Street corners. Pretty much everywhere.


What are your other favorite Spanish food?



DJ Yabis is the poster boy of Dream Euro Trip and a modern day renaissance man. Originally from the Philippines, he loves throwing dinner parties and stalking rock stars in music festivals. Subscribe or follow his adventures LIVE on Facebook or Instagram. Learn how to plan your own eurotrip.

What do YOU think?

40 Responses to “Alt Spain: The Gypset’s Guide to Spain’s Most Underrated Food and Drinks” Subscribe

  1. Elena June 27, 2014 at 1:34 AM #

    Hitting on Spain in July and can’t wait to try ALL of these! Mouthwatering!

    Any suggestions for cheap places to eat?


    • DJ Yabis June 28, 2014 at 7:25 PM #

      Depends which cities you’re visiting

  2. Zara @ Backpack ME November 21, 2013 at 1:26 PM #

    I have eaten so much Spanish food but never came across La Bomba. Well… it looks quite bombastic indeed! Would love to try it sometime!

    • DJ Yabis November 24, 2013 at 5:53 AM #

      It melts in your mouth! Try it next time ;D

  3. Courtney October 7, 2013 at 2:04 AM #

    Oh, Lord! This post has got me itching to return to Spain. The food there was amazing and after years, I still have cravings for jamon serrano! My friend’s mom made paella for us one night and I have yet to find its equal.

    Its funny about the drinks. In Valencia, one of my profes talked about sangria like it was a trash drink because “the bartenders just dump whatever leftover wine they have in a bucket and put fruit in it.” In Sevilla, I think, a Spaniard told me that tinto de verano is a tourist’s drink. Ha, the same was told to me about “Agua de Valencia.” I don’t remember who it was, but I was told that essentially all cities have a “agua de____”, but that it’s for tourists who want to get drunk and that spaniards don’t drink it.

    This is random, but did you try any fresh squeezed juice in Valencia? Most of the restaurants seemed to have a juicer. At the time, I figured that orange juice is orange juice wherever you go, but now I realize that I missed out on having fresh, local orange juice. Nom, nom, nom!

    • DJ Yabis October 7, 2013 at 3:01 AM #

      Not true. All my Spanish friends actually drink sangria and tinto de verano. It’s not just for tourists. Specially younger people I think because they dont have alot of money so they do this mixing alot. Like cheap red wine with coke etc. Haha

      I’m going back to Barcelona again next week so I am so excited to pig out on Spanish food again. Thanks for all the extra info.

      Actually I’ve never tried their fresh fruit juices. I’ll see if that’s a thing in BCN. 😛

  4. Nik August 18, 2013 at 9:14 AM #

    I totally forgot the name of the cheese until I found it here again. I saw this Queso Manchego in a documentary and they say it’s kinda endangered being that the practice of making it is almost lost with the new generation.

    I hope I get a taste before that happens.

    Anyway, I would love to try all of these when I visit Spain for the FIBA world cup next year. Hahaha. Wish!

    DJ, maybe you can make a post about that and invite the Filipino netters, who will be making their first appearance for a long time in the world cup, to try these.

    • DJ Yabis August 18, 2013 at 8:18 PM #

      Really? Didn’t know that. queso manchego is sooo delish! you should share this post to them haha ;P

  5. noel July 2, 2013 at 5:29 AM #

    Drool, love Spanish tapas, now how do I get to sample through cyber space?

    • DJ Yabis July 3, 2013 at 5:07 PM #

      You can’t. Let me know if you find a way ;P

  6. Bianca April 5, 2013 at 1:22 PM #

    I’m not so sure about the fried cheese teamed with strawberry sauce. That seems like a very odd combination. I think I’d be saving room for those la bombas. They look delicious.

    • DJ Yabis April 5, 2013 at 9:53 PM #

      It’s delish!

  7. Ian Ord - Where Sidewalks End February 1, 2013 at 10:33 AM #

    This looks incredible! I need to get back to Spain to try some of these dishes (and drinks!!) 🙂 I love when food’s good enough you want to lick the plate clean and here, they give you bread to essentially do so! Awesome!

    • DJ Yabis February 2, 2013 at 7:41 AM #

      I know right. You know you’re in a good place. ;D

  8. Sara February 1, 2013 at 1:04 AM #

    I absolutely adore Spanish food! Garlic potatoes there are unbelievable. And I’m so glad you posted about tinto de verano, that was one of my favorite drinks when I was in Spain in college. A lot easier to replicate at home, too. 🙂

    • DJ Yabis February 1, 2013 at 1:21 AM #

      Oh yes those garlic potatoes! Yum. So simple yet so delish!

  9. Claudina January 12, 2013 at 4:39 AM #

    This looks absolutely delicious, can’t wait to try those stuffed mushrooms!

    • DJ Yabis January 12, 2013 at 6:09 AM #

      The stuffed mushroom was my favorite!

  10. Micki December 16, 2012 at 7:51 AM #

    Love you for this! We’re headed to Spain in February and I’ve been having a bit of trouble finding good ideas for vegetarian tapas – the patatas alioli and queso frito con salsa de fresas with some horchata sound soooo good.

    • DJ Yabis December 17, 2012 at 9:28 AM #

      You’re welcome, Micki. I’m sure you’ll find plenty of vegetarian options in Spain. And yes, you should definitely try those!

  11. Terry at Overnight New York December 15, 2012 at 11:50 AM #

    What yummy pictures! The baked mushroom with ham and pimento is making me hungry.

    • DJ Yabis December 17, 2012 at 9:23 AM #

      So simple yet so gooooooooood!

  12. Steph | December 15, 2012 at 12:30 AM #

    OH MY GOD…that is all!

  13. Linda McCormick December 13, 2012 at 8:00 PM #

    God, that all looks so good! Have fond memories of many hours sitting over tapas and vino when we lived in Barcelona. Ah, those were the days!

    • DJ Yabis December 14, 2012 at 5:41 AM #

      I can eat these everyday ;D

  14. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas December 13, 2012 at 5:03 PM #

    I’ve lived in Southern Spain for five years and agree with you – I prefer the hole in the wall places where the waiters know your name and refuse to let you leave the change from your bill. That said, I am a HUGE proponent of jamón ibérico over serrano. My boyfriend’s family ahas a farm, and we’ve got a ham leg year-round in our kitchen! Did you get a chance to try some?

    • DJ Yabis December 14, 2012 at 5:44 AM #

      HAHA there’s a huge debate over which jamon is better. Iberico is the more expensive one right? Yes, love it as well! I can eat both any day haha and so jealous you have a ham leg all year-round. I’m hungry again just thinking about it.

  15. Jennifer December 13, 2012 at 5:00 AM #

    I imagine that if I wasn’t full from lunch right now, I’d be drooling all over my keyboard. Then I would have had to bill you for the replacement, so consider yourself lucky, mister. 😉

    • DJ Yabis December 13, 2012 at 7:05 AM #

      HAHA. Can I pay you with a plate of jamon serano and queso manchego instead? I’m always happy to share! ;D

  16. emmeline October 15, 2012 at 8:35 AM #

    berenjenas con miel! patatas bravas! best i’ve tasted were from a place called el almacen in jerez! mouth watering mmmm..
    if you’ve not had a chance to go to southern spain, i’d highly recommend it! andalucia is full of culinary delights! especially around fiesta & holiday weeks like semana santa, christmas, & feria, they serve specific food/drinks/desserts only available during those times!

    • DJ Yabis October 15, 2012 at 11:21 AM #

      yes those are spanish classics! The southermost I’ve been to is Valencia. Must check out the south one of these days. Thanks for your recommendations!

  17. JL October 14, 2012 at 3:58 PM #

    Jamon serrano’s my favorite, wanted to bring a whole leg home. Spent 8 months in Jerez, best time of my life. Wish everyone has a chance to experience life there, even if for a short period of time.

    • DJ Yabis October 14, 2012 at 8:55 PM #

      I drool just thinking of jamon serrano. My Spanish friend just threw his birthday dinner party last week and he has some so that’s all I ate ;D

  18. Gregory Power October 9, 2012 at 7:32 AM #

    Loved this! Spain is on my shortlist for next year. This may have moved it ahead a spot or two!

    • DJ Yabis October 9, 2012 at 3:08 PM #

      I would love to go back as well and see other cities and eat more Spanish food!

  19. Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista October 9, 2012 at 4:38 AM #

    I think I gained weight just reading this! It all looked so wonderful. I’m with you on the local restaurants!

    • DJ Yabis October 9, 2012 at 3:08 PM #

      I got hungry just writing about them myself haha.

  20. Ayan October 4, 2012 at 5:43 PM #

    crazzzy… i can hear the foods talking to me…lol

  21. Ayan October 4, 2012 at 5:42 PM #

    crazzzy… i can hear the foods talking to me…

    • DJ Yabis October 5, 2012 at 12:38 PM #

      what are they saying? haha