If you enjoy Spanish food, probably paella is on the top on your list, but be aware there are so many unspoken rules on when and how you are supposed to have it. To make it easier, we have put together the 10 facts about paella you need to know if you want to enjoy it like a local.
There is no doubting the fact that food is one of Spain’s main attractions, and, thankfully, the days of tourists looking for Fish and Chips in Spain are, mostly, behind us.
Spanish people take great pride in their food, and witnessing a foreigner eat a local dish and enjoy it is always a joyful experience.
Therefore, do not be surprised if a Spanish person is disappointed after you refuse to try what they are offering. Believe me, there is a big chance of it happening as we Spanish people eat a lot of delicious – yet sometimes gross – stuff.
10 facts about paella you need to know to enjoy it like a local
1. A fact about the original version of Paella you need to know
The original version is “Paella Valenciana” and the main ingredients are chicken, rabbit, snails, local beans and rice.
2. In Valencia, only the original version is called Paella
In Valencia, any variations on “Paella Valenciana” are not paella, there are simply called “arroz” (rice) or “arroz con cosas” (rice with things).
People from Valencia feel outraged when people from other regions of Spain say, for example, “seafood paella”, as for them that will be “rice with seafood”.
3. The most surprising of the facts about the Paella ingredients
The ingredients might vary depending on the region. For example, people add red peppers in the paella in Murcia, but it would be a sin to do so in Valencia.
4. The most unknown of the facts about Paella in London
You NEVER add chorizo to a paella. No Spaniard has ever visited London, and not come back to Spain joking about the fake paella with chorizo you can find in Covent Garden or Tesco. It is simply not ok for us.
5. You only have paella for lunch
You never have it for dinner, paella is strictly a lunch. Can you order it for dinner? Sure. Will everyone in town know you are not Spanish? Also yes. Although to be fair if you sat down to have dinner before 21:00 in Spain, they knew that already.
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6. People do not know the correct pronunciation
The correct pronunciation is closer to PA-EH-YA not PIE-E-LA.
7. Interesting facts about Paella: You need certain utensils to cook it
You need a special pan to cook paella. Depending on the region, it is a paella or paellera.
8. The tastiest bit in a Paella is in fact not what you might thing
Is common knowledge in Spain that one of the tastiest bits about paella is the burnt rice in the bottom of the pan. In Valencian it is called “socarrat”.
9. The most fun of the facts about Paella: How to eat it like a local
Paella is best enjoyed eaten straight out the paella pan, so do not be surprised if you see a group of people scraping it from the pan even in a nice restaurant.
10. Different variations of paella
Some of the yummiest variations of the “Paella Valenciana” are “Arroz del Senyoret” (with pealed shellfish) or “Arroz al Horno” (with blood pudding, ribs and vegetables).
Save money on your trip to Spain to put the paella have in practise!
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