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Eat like a local with these famous Valencian dishes!

It’s been a while since we did a post for all of our foodies out there and now with the holidays fastly approaching, you’ll have a lot of time to dine and indulge in all of the tasty restaurants all around the city. If you’ve been here for a while then you’ll probably know that Valencian cuisine – hailing from the vibrant Mediterranean region of Valencia, Spain, is renowned for its rich flavors and diverse ingredients. Although paella is central to its culinary identity, the region offers a big culinary diversity that goes way beyond it (the problem is you’ve just not tried them all yet).


Below we’ll explore some of Valencia’s best dishes and give you some history about them. EUROACE is also big on getting our students involved in trying the local food here with our regular tapas activities! Keep reading for the best dishes and information about our activities..



1. Valencian Paella

Taking first place in Valencian cuisine is the delicious and iconic rice dish, paella. You can’t talk about Valencian gastronomy without mentioning this world-renowned specialty. Traditionally originating from Valencia, paella is made with rice, chicken, rabbit, green beans («bajoqueta»), and «garrofón (a typical variety of bean). It is slowly cooked in a wide, shallow pan called a «paellera,» allowing the rice to absorb the rich flavors of the ingredients. This meticulous cooking process results in a dish that perfectly encapsulates the essence of Valencian culinary tradition.


The dish’s origin can be traced back to the mid 19th century and to start with, the dish was originally a humble meal prepared by farmers and laborers in the countryside. They would cook rice in a flat pan over an open fire, using whatever ingredients were readily available—typically a combination of rice, tomatoes, onions, and snails. As time went on, other proteins like rabbit, duck, and even chicken began to be incorporated.


The best place to eat paella is definitely in a family setting, like most Valencians would do on the weekends or on special occassions. The beach is also a good choice and you can find a lot of great restaurants that will be able to provide you with both great food and a great view.


2. Fideuà

Similar to paella but different in its own ways, Fideuà is a variant of paella that replaces rice with noodles. This dish originated on the Valencian coast and is particularly popular in Gandía. The noodles are cooked with seafood such as squid, prawns, and mussels, and are seasoned with a tasty fish broth. Fideuà is traditionally served with alioli, a garlic sauce that adds an extra touch of flavor.


This dish was created by fishermen as a variation of the more famous paella. The story goes that a cook on a fishing boat substituted rice with noodles because they had run out of rice or to appeal to the crew who preferred noodles. The dish quickly gained popularity and became a staple in Valencian cuisine. It’s safe to say that a bit of imagination really solves everything, right?


4. All i Pebre

All i Pebre is a traditional dish from the Albufera region near Valencia, Spain, particularly associated with the town of El Palmar. This dish has deep historical roots and is emblematic of the region’s culinary heritage.


The name «All i Pebre» translates to «garlic and pepper» in Valencian, also highlighting the main flavors of the dish. Again, it is a rustic, fisherman’s dish that originally made use of the local eel found in the Albufera lagoon, a freshwater lagoon and estuary located south of the city of Valencia.


Preparation includes the eel being cooked in a stew with garlic and pepper, along with potatoes and a mix of spices that give it a distinctive and delicious flavor.


5. Esgarraet

The name «Esgarraet» comes from the Valencian word «esgarrar,» which means «to tear» or «to shred.» This, like All i Pebre, refers to the main ingredients, particularly the roasted red peppers and salt cod, are hand-shredded into strips.


The main ingredients of Esgarraet include roasted red peppers, salt cod (bacalao), garlic, and olive oil (sometimes black olives are added). The dish relies on the quality of its ingredients, with the sweet, smoky flavor of the roasted peppers complementing the savory, salty taste of the cod.


This dish has deep roots in Valencian culinary traditions, particularly in areas close to the coast where salt cod has been a staple for centuries. Salt cod was a crucial ingredient historically because it could be preserved and stored for long periods, making it an essential part of the diet in coastal regions.


6. Coca de Llanda

For those with a sweet tooth, coca de llanda is an irresistible option. A traditional cake from the Valencian community, this kind of rectangular sponge cake is baked in a baking tray/tin (called «llanda») and is made with basic ingredients such as  flour, sugar, eggs, milk, and oil. It is sometimes flavored with lemon zest or cinnamon, and its fluffy texture and mild flavor make it a perfect dessert to enjoy with a coffee.


7. Horchata and Fartons

Lastly, we share with you an iconic pairing in Valencian cuisine. Yes, we’re talking about Horchata and Fartons. Horchata de chufa is a refreshing drink made from tiger nuts and has ancient origins dating back to the Moors, who brought the chufa (tiger nut) to the Iberian Peninsula. The drink is traditionally made from ground chufa, water, and sugar.


Chufa cultivation is primarily concentrated in the region of Alboraya, due to the areas ideal climate and soil conditions. Fartons, the sweet, elongated pastries were specifically created  to accompany this horchata. They were developed in the town of Alboraya by the Polo family in the 1960s. 


The fartons are commonly enjoyed dipped into the horchata and they make for a delicilous and satisfying pairing, especially during hot Summer days. You’ll also see them being sold in food trucks throughout the Summer during musical events or other celebrations in the region.



EUROACE’S Tapas dinner activitity

Amongst the cultural activities we organise at EUROACE each week is our brilliant Tapas dinner that lets students and whoever they’d like to bring try local and authentic dishes from both Valencia and Spain.  As well giving you the opportunity to socialse with other students and meet new people, we also try to introduce each dish and talk a bit about it – a perfect way to practice and improve your Spanish.


If you’re interested in coming to one of our Tapas dinners please talk to us at reception or send us an email at


Make sure to stay tuned through our Facebook and Instagram pages, where we announce all the fun plans you can get up to this summer!



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