What to eat in Tenerife: local dishes
When you are thinking about going to dinner in Spain, chances are you’re thinking about tapas straight away. Let’s get straight to the point: there’s no such thing in Tenerife. That might sound disappointing, but quite the opposite is true. The cuisine of the island has a rich history and lots to offer. We’ll guide you through.
History of Canarian Cuisine
The Canary Islands are located off the west coast of northern Africa. It was inhabited by the Guanches, before Spanish explorers arrived. The islands were also the first stop for ships returning from America. This results in a mixture of cuisines from native Guanche elements to Spanish, American and Latin American foods. Other than fish, you’ll find a lot of dishes with beans, potatoes, (locally grown) avocado, papaya, bananas, maize and so on.
Typical Canarian dishes
So what are the absolute staples you have to try?
- Papas Arrugadas: These wrinkled, small potatoes might look like they were forgotten by the chef, but that’s exactly what you want! This side dish is cooked for a long time in salty water which gives it a tasty, salty crust.
- Mojos: People in Tenerife take their sauce really serious. Mojo is served with bread, potatoes, meat or fish. So basically, you’ll see it everywhere. The red variant (modo picón) contains dried red pepper and the green variant (mojo verde) is made of coriander, cilantro or parsley.
- Gofio: As stated above, the history of the gastronomy is rich. One of those products that have a long history is Gofio. It’s made from maize and can be used in very different ways, for example to bake cakes, in your breakfast bowl or to make a savory dish called escaldon (made with broth).
- Goat cheese: be sure to try out the different ways goat cheese is served on Tenerife. Fried, baked, with mojo or with sweet jams. It’s delicious!
- Pimientos de padron: you can get this dish in mainland Spain as well, but it deserves a shoutout cause it’s one of the few dishes that will serve vegans. Tiny green peppers with a lot of olive oil and salt, and if you’re lucky you’ll find one spicy one in the mix.
- Arehucas: This drink cannot miss on this list, Canarian Rum. Be sure to try it, with or without cola. There’s also honey rum, coconut rum and banana rum to be find on the Canaries, but Arehucas is our absolute favorite.
- Barraquito or leche y leche: not your typical coffee! Condensed milk, coffee and milk foam. In case of the barraquito they add some Liquor 43. Delicious!
- Ropa Vieja: translated this means old clothes. It’s a leftover dish in which the chef uses the remains of a stew. Expect meat, beans and a rich creamy sauce.
- Conejo al salmorejo: A delicious rabbit stew with tomato sauce. Must try if you’re up for it.
- Polvito uruguayo: there are so many traditional desserts to choose from, but this one is our favorite. Meringue, caramel and cream, layered into 1 pile of goodness.
There are so many more dishes, but these are some of our favorites. What are the dishes you are most looking forward to? Have had enough? Come surf at Fins First surfschool to lose some of those calories.