When you think of Tenerife you will likely be imagining glorious sunshine and some wonderful beaches. Perhaps, if you are an adventurer, you will be thinking about walking in the stunning, volcanic landscape of the interior. But what you might not know is that there is another adventure right on your doorstep: a culinary adventure!
The food of Tenerife reflects the different cultures that have influenced the island’s history. There is, of course, a distinct Spanish flavour in the drinks and in the tapas menus, and this is mixed with some South American influences, particularly in terms of meat from Argentina. Finally, there is the indigenous culture of the Canaries and the plants and fruits that flourish in the balmy weather.
But what to choose? Here is our culinary guide to Tenerife.
Most restaurants in Tenerife serve tapas, which will be very similar to the tapas served on the Spanish mainland. But Tenerife also has its own special dishes and, papas arrugadas is certainly one of them. Translated as “wrinkled potatoes’”, papas arrugadas is a distinctive and deliciously salty Canarian dish. Potatoes were brought to the island in the 1550s and were quickly incorporated into local cuisine. The dish consists of small local potatoes boiled with the skin on in salty water. In their most authentic form, they should be boiled in seawater. They are then drained and the potatoes are tossed in yet more salt! Don’t peel them – instead, you should dip them in a local sauce called Mojo Rojo, a hot, red sauce made with garlic, cumin, paprika oil and vinegar.
Gofio is flour made from maize or wheat, toasted and ground. One of the dishes eaten by the indigenous Guanches, it can be used to make a coating for dishes or eaten on its own as a kind of porridge. It can be either a sweet or savoury dish, but gofio escaldado is definitely a savoury version. On Tenerife, it is made into a porridge with meat broth and garlic and served with toppings, including pieces of meat and chopped onions.
Garbanzada a lo Canario
This is a chickpea soup made with chopped vegetables, tomatoes and chickpeas. Pimento is used as a seasoning and it tastes rich, with a Spanish flavour.
Another tapas dish you will find in Tenerife, Ensaladilla Rusa is a mixture of tuna, mayonnaise, potatoes, carrots and peas. However, each restaurant will add its own special touches, making this a new culinary experience each time you try it.
Tortilla de Platanos
Tenerife is renowned for its bananas, which have been given a Protected Geographic Indication for their distinctively sweet flavour. This dish uses them to make a kind of sweet omelette.
Carne de Cabra
Goat meat is a particular favourite on the island, and all over the Canaries. Carne de Cabra literally means goat meat, but look out for it in tasty stews and tapas dishes, mixed with Spanish-style seasonings of paprika and cumin.
Croquetas de Pesce
Craving fish and chips? You can definitely get this on the island! But if you want an authentic Tenerife take then try fish croquettes. A taste of the sea and a favorite of the island.
Enjoy your culinary adventure in Tenerife!
*Post contributed by peer travel writer and foodie, Colton Davis.*