Few people know how interesting Spanish culture and history actually are. For instance, did you know that Christopher Columbus, the one that is thought to have discovered America, was actually Italian? He was, however, under the auspices of the Spanish monarchy the moment he decided to set sail for the Indies.

But enough with the history. Let’s get to something more serious… Food! There are a lot of Spanish restaurants in New York and some of them you may have already visited, but how much do you know about Spanish cuisine? Well, we came up with a list of five of the most popular things about Spanish food that many people believe are true, when in fact they aren’t.

1. Spanish Food = Spicy Food

The reason why so many people believe that Spanish food is always spicy is because they tend to mistake it or associate it for/with Mexican food. The truth is even though they have their similarities, there are many differences between the two cuisines. Spanish food is full of spices such as Saffron, paprika, and garlic, but this kind of cuisine isn’t going to set your mouth on fire. There is one dish that uses chilies though, and that one is Gambas al Ajillo.


Gambas Al Ajillo 06 - alcala
Gambas al Ajillo | Alcala Restaurant

2. Sangria Is Spaniards’ Favorite Drink

When it comes to Sangria, what most people like about it is that it’s fruity, easy to drink, and boozy. While it’s true it’s a delicious drink, it’s worth knowing that in Spain, there are more tourists that drink Sangria than locals. In fact, locals prefer beer or red wine. For instance, one very popular drink that Spaniards like to have on a night out is “Tinto de Verano”, which is considered sangria’s much simpler cousin, made of red wine, lemon Fanta or soda, ice and a slice of lemon.

Spanish Sangria 03 - Manhattan Brew & Vine
Spanish Sangria | Manhattan Brew & Vine

3. Tapas… Tapas Everywhere

Tapas in Spain is completely different from Tapas in New York for instance. In NY, “going out for tapas” implies going to a restaurant and sitting down on a chair for hours, whereas in Spain, “going out for tapas” refers more to bar-hopping.

Tapas01 - sacred chow
Tapas | Sacred Chow

4. Paella, A National Dish… Not!

You are probably among those people that believe Paella is a national Spanish dish. Well, we’re about to blow your mind and tell you this isn’t true. Paella is actually from Valencia, located on the East coast of Spain, where rice has been grown for centuries. Also, don’t be surprised if you don’t find Paella on a restaurant menu outside Valencia, Spain. Bonus tip: Don’t pair paella with sangria!

Valenciana Paella - alcala
Paella | Alcala Restaurant

5. Churro Isn’t A Dessert

If you ask a Spaniard to name a few popular Spanish desserts, Churro isn’t going to be among them. The reason is that in their opinion, Churro is not even a dessert. It’s actually eaten as a breakfast, morning tea or afternoon tea, not as something you have after your dinner. It’s served plain, not with creams in the middle. You simply dunk it in the coffee or chocolate. This Crème caramel below though is a dessert. And it’s delicious.

Crème caramel - Flan 03 - alcala
Crème Caramel – Flan | Alcala Restaurant

What other interesting Spanish cuisine things do you know? Where are you favorite Spanish restaruants? Tell us on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest.

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