Experiencing Culture Through Food: 6 Classic Dishes In Seville
When I first arrived in Seville, my employer was kind enough to take me to a tapas bar and point out the exact dishes that embody Sevilla. My first true meal here could not have been more representative of the city itself. Since then while attempting to find the best way to learn Spanish, I've learned much more about all of Sevilla's traditional dishes. I'd like to share those with you so you don't miss out on anything that Seville has to offer!
The dishes described in this post are all traditional dishes here in Sevilla, but they are all very different in taste and preparation. Of course, these dishes will vary immensely between eateries as each chef likes to put his or her own spin on them. But no matter where, these dishes will never fail to disappoint! *All dish descriptions are preceded by an image of the dish being described*
Salmorejo - Though technically having originated in Cordoba, Seville claims rights to this refreshing tomato dish as well! Typically a purée of skinned tomatoes and bread with a bit of olive oil and garlic, there are of course a huge range of variations on this dish. Though I will say some tapas locations don't quite succeed in GREAT Salmorejo, don't let one bad experience stop you from ordering it again. It can be absolutely incredible in many restaurants and you'll be glad you kept trying it when you find a place that truly masters it. (For a very non-traditional spin on this dish, check out Sal Gorda in Alfalfa. They do a green tomato version of it that is almost the consistency of mayonnaise, though their menu changes frequently.)
Carrillada de Cerdo - Though it may sound off-putting to some, Pork Cheek could possibly be my favorite dish here. Usually served in a stew form, this extremely tender cut of meat is cooked in a wine sauce but every chef will add in their own seasoning to change the dish to their liking. I kid you not, it's incredibly hard to find a more melt-in-your-mouth meat dish. I could order this every day and never get sick of it - it's that good! So don't let the cut steer you away, it's absolutely worth a little adventurous eating!
Espinacas con Garbanzos - This is one of the few traditional vegetarian dishes you'll find in Seville. The city (and all of Spain, really) tends to be very "meat enthusiastic", and they really excel at it! But this blend of spinach and chick peas is a delightful exception to that rule. It's a warm dish, typical served with what looks like a large crouton. It came from both the Moorish and Jewish roots of the city, so it truly does embody the place. Give it a try and you won't be disappointed!
Serranito de Lomo - As a twist on the above dishes, this is a sandwich style tapa which focuses on seared pork loin with a salty Serrano ham on top (again, they like their meat here). Every restaurant will serve it differently, some with aioli some with egg or pepper or myriads of other ingredients. No matter the substitutions, it's a great bite when you feel like going for a quick montadito (Spanish "baguette sandwich").
Solomillo al Whiskey - Lest you be worried you haven't received enough meat options, you can't miss this grilled sirloin. The tradition here lies in the Whiskey sauce, made most basically with Whiskey, garlic, and olive oil with the option to be spiced up more if the chef so desires. This dish is also typically served with some form of potatoes and can be found anywhere in the city.
Churros con Chocolate - I couldn't leave you without a traditional dessert option to finish out your meal! Though this is more of a country-wide tradition, this deep fried dough dipped in a mildly sweet drinking chocolate shouldn't be overlooked. Personally, I think the best churros can be found at the little round stand by the Puente de Isabel II (Triana Bridge) on the Sevilla side of the river [pictured below]. But it's hard to dislike this sweet treat no matter where you get it. You can even get these for breakfast and be truly Spanish for a day!
I can honestly say that my entire experience in Seville could have been much different if my boss hadn't shown me those dishes in my first days here. I probably never would have thought to look into what I should try while I was here and could have missed so much by not being adventurous. Looking back on it all as I'm nearing the end of my time here, I realize that one of my first cultural experiences in Spain was with food - and I wouldn't have had it any other way!