If you are fond of Mediterranean healthy and fresh food, Valencia is the place to be!
Whether you want to cook your own meal, go for take away, or eat at some of XY000 restaurants, you can’t go wrong at this gastronomic paradise.
Let’s start with a simple list of typical foods in Valencia
Rice is staple of Valencian cuisine. Please don’t think that paella is the only rice dish you can get here. It is the most famous one, but definitely not the only one.
Main groups of rice dishes in Valencia: Seco – dry, Meloso– slightly liquid(ish), Caldoso– (very liquid(ish)
Traditional Dry Rice Dishes:
Valencia is actual home of paella. Please remember that and share your knowledge with new Valencian friend. They will be quite impressed 🙂
Remember, paella should not only be dry, but also have a crispy rice layer at the bottom (“socarrat“).
Two most popular paellas:
Short grain rice (round) cooked with chicken (and / or rab, bit), olive oil, sweet pepper, green beans tomatoes,saffron,artichokes and peas.
Short grain (round) rice cooked with olive oil, , mussels, lobster, clams, calamari, shrimp, garlic, tomatoes, saffron any other shellfish that you like or have handy.
Arròs a banda
This is a dish of rice cooked in fish stock. It originated in Alicante, where fishermen would sell off their best fish and keep the leftovers for stock. It is usually served with alioli and separate from seafood
Arròs al senyore
This dish is the same like Arròs a banda, but seafood is served together with rice
Simple dish – it’s black rice cooked in squid ink. You may hear people call it paella negra (“black paella”). However, some of my proud Valencian friends, get offended when you use name “paella” for this dish, so be careful here 🙂
Arròs al forn
This is oven baked dry rice, humble in its origins with tomato, blood sausage, pork belly, garlic, potato, chickpeas, leftover fish stew …
Arroz con costra
Rice dish covered with a baked egg crust. It is cooked in a clay pot, with wood fire, and it’s finished in device called “costrera”,
Traditional Meloso – Slightly Liquid(ish) Rice Dishes
Arròs amb fesols i naps
Brothy rice dish with beans and turnips. One of the most typical dishes during the winter season and one of the star stews of the Valencian cuisine.
Arroz con bogavante
The rice with lobster is a typical dish of the Spanish coastal towns, which is prepared in a similar way to the seafood paella (can be meloso or caldoso).
From what I’ve learned talking with my Valencian friends, you can make any of these rice dishes meloso or caldoso except for the paella (that is a big NO NO) Remember, paella should not only be dry, but also have a crispy rice layer at the bottom (“socarrat“).
Other Traditional Dishes of Valencia
This dish is similar to paella, but instead of rice noodles are used. It’s maid with seafood only (most often shrimps and squid)
Vegetable stew which consists of potatoes, onions and green beans. This would be the basic but other vegetables such as carrots, chard, artichokes or even cauliflower could be added
Roasted vegetables sprinkled with ovile oil. Usulay peppers and aubergine are used, but other vegetables can be added.
Suquet de peix An eel
Another typical Valencian dish. It is a stew of intense flavor that the fishermen used to prepare in the past at the end of their journey. It consists of a simple stew made from battered fish (hake, cod, halibut)
All i pebre
As the name suggests it two ingredients are used to make it: garlic and eels.
Coques or Coca
is Ancient local pastry, similar to pizza. It can be savory or sweet.
Salmueros and salazones
Dried and salted fish and roe
The pot (olleta or Olleta d’ arròs) is a unique dish of the interior regions of Valencia although there are also some variants in the coastal regions. It is a stew that includes vegetables, legumes, bones and different meats (mostly pork) and sausages and in most cases rice.
Sweets and Desserts
There are no heavy, creamy cakes on traditional Valencian menu list. You may find them these days of course in number of coffee shops and cafes, but they are not typical of Valencia.
Here are some delicacies that are considered Valencian: (Don’t be surprised by strong Arab influence)
Pastissets Pastry filled with sweet almond or sweet potato
Pestinyos Small, dry pastry flavored with orange and aniseed.
Coques de dacsa Flat pastry bases similar to tortillas, and topped with mullador (tomatoes based sauce) and different fillings
Arrop i tallaetes Sweet syrup with different peaces of fruit imerced (grape is a must)
Fartons Pastry fingers designed to be dipped in orxata (in modern days in chocolate 🙂
Orxata (Horchata). A drink made from Horchata nuts (tiger nuts)
Coca – Coques Pastry (mentioned above)
Churos – fried-dough pastry – probably the most famous one
Buñuelos de Valencia – “Fallas” food
Arnadí – It’s probably the most famous dessert in Valencia. It is made of pumpkin and sweet potato, sugar, almonds and cinnamon
La Mona de Pascua . The traditional cake takes the form of a huge doughnut topped with boiled egg
Peladillas The candy-coated almonds are similar to “Jordan Almonds”
Turrón (Torro) Nougat which can be soft or hard
Pastel de boniato – Sweets with “empanada” looks made from sweet potato
Roscon de Reyes (Kings ring) – Cake pastry decorated with candied fruits
Bunyols – Arab-inspired fritters. Fried pumpkin dough- or donuts, covered with sugar
Figues albardaes (Buñuelos de higo) – Fried dough filled with dry figs
While here, you have to try:
Agua de Valencia – concoction – range juice, cava (champagne), gin/vodka and water
Great Valencian wines
Horchata de chufas (mentioned above)
Valencian oranges are delicious: sweet and juicy, no wonder they are famous worldwide