I don’t think it’s unfair to point out that the general populace of Tenerife is a little more… solidly built than on the Spanish mainland. And now that we’re getting familiar with the cuisine here, we understand why. Theirs is nourishing food, served in construction-worker portions. And if you’re not out in the fields all day, or regularly exercising, all that protein has just one place to go.
At first I thought it was a misspelling… the Spanish word for “chickpea” is garbanzo, but then I saw it on a few menus. Garbanza is a Canarian dish made with chickpeas; almost like a stew. Served with onions, pork meat, garlic, as well as some spices, this is a rich, delicious appetizer, especially good after a long hike on a cold day.
Carne de Cabra
Goat meat is one of the staples on Tenerife, and a speciality at many guachinches. It’s never really appealed to me — something about the way it clings to the bones has always turned me off — but when cooked right, it can be delicious. Egged on by the enthusiastic waitress of Casa Adrián, which we visited after hiking around La Caldera, I ordered a plate. This meat had evidently been stewing for hours, and she guaranteed it was fresh off the farm. I loved every bite.
Canarian fish and chips, basically. But really good fish and chips. Churros pescado are deep-fried strips of white fish, served almost always with french fries. This is comfort food, but excellent comfort food… especially when they’re served along with alioli (garlic mayonnaise). It’s become unfortunately common for restaurants to substitute fresh fish for the cheaper (and far inferior) frozen version. As long as you’re in a decent guachinche, this shouldn’t be a problem — it doesn’t hurt to ask first, though.
The first time we saw this on the menu, we thought it was a joke! Ropa Vieja means “Old Clothes”. The dish takes its name from the shredded aspect of the flank steak which is its principal ingredient. This is a dish more well-known in Latin America, particularly Cuba, where it generally comes with rice and beans, but the Canarian version is a bit different… more a stew, served with chickpeas, onions, and spices like thyme and bay leaf.
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