Eat like an islander – Dishes you need to try in Gran Canaria
Diversity. This word describes Gran Canaria perfectly, no matter what area of living we talk about. Nature, beaches, weather, waves for surfing or a lifestyle. And the cuisine is not an exception. If you only expect tapas and paella, you will be surprised how wide a menu of Canaries is!
As we all know, Canary Islands create an autonomous area that politically belongs to Spain. But when you try to find this archipelago on the map, you will quickly recognize that it is situated much closer to Africa than to Europe. And this fact strongly influences the cuisine of this beautiful part of the world. The dishes are full of different African and Latin-American spices – just like the locals! 🙂 So what food will you please your taste buds with in Gran Canaria?
1. Papas Arugadas
The first thing you will notice on the menus of probably all the restaurants are papas arugadas – Canarian style of preparing potatoes. Do you know what «arugadas» means in Spanish? Wrinkled! So, these tiny little potatoes are boiled in the salty water with their peel on, but when we say salty, we mean really salty! Because that´s what will make them look so wrinkled! But that is not the end of the story… Papas arugadas are served with the most authentic sauce of the Canaries called mojo, which can be red or green. Thinking about the cuisine of Canaries, we may say that the taste of mojo is the first thing that we can think of… The sauce is so full of different tastes – garlic, orange juice, oregano, cumin… Hmmm, we want to go and get some right now!
2. Sancocho Canario
So simple, but so healthy and tasty! Sancocho Canario consists of a salty fish, which is cooked whole and then simply served with papas arugadas and with sweet potatoes. If it sounds too diet, no worries – this combination of two types of potatoes will make you feel full enough! But this food is also a great example of the influence that the gastronomy of the Canary Islands has over other parts of the world! Because of the migration of the indigenous Canarians, it was exported into various parts of Latin America!
3. Cerdo Negro Canario
Yes, this one is really called “the black Canarian pig” and it actually has a long history…Many years ago, families used to raise pigs not only for their own consumption. It was also their way of disposing of organic materials. Nowadays, families rarely do it, so the pig even became certified by the government of the archipelago. So to get the authentic one, you may need to do some research about restaurants first.
4. Ropa vieja
If you can speak Spanish and translate this expression, you can relax. We know that ropa vieja means “old clothes”, but we promise that no clothes are used to prepare this meal! The main ingredient is chickpeas, but you will also find a lot of meat, potatoes, onion, and, of course, a lot of pepper in it. And if you want to try cooking it, be prepared that you need a lot of time, because it is a slow-cooked dish. But we promise you that you will not regret it!
5. Local fruits and vegetables
We need you to promise us, that during your stay in Gran Canaria, you will eat as many local fruits and vegetables as possible! Go and visit the local markets, full of our bananas, tomatoes, mangos, avocados, grapes, or any other fruit and vegetables that you could think of! Those mercados, as we call them here, are so colorful and fragrant… and also cheap! You can also buy fresh meat and fish caught just in the morning there! Oh, we love that so much…
Bonus – Ron miel
If you are under 18, stop reading this article, because if you keep reading, you will not be able to resist trying it! Ron miel is a Canarian rum with honey with the tradition lasting for centuries. You do not even need to be a fan of rum, but we are sure, you will love this one. It is sweet, but not too sweet, it is strong, but not too strong… It is just perfect. You can drink it as a simple shot, in a big glass with ice, or you can also try it in combination with a cold mint tea. The only problem is that you should not drink too much if you need to be fresh the next morning. So, salute!