A Foodie’s Guide To Tenerife
The small island of Tenerife is just 785 square miles in size. That’s smaller than the Lake District, and has fewer people living on it than the city of Manchester. It has only 3,606 restaurants, at least according to Trip Advisor, which is around five times less than the number of McDonald’s branches in the United States of America. So you’d probably be a little surprised when we say Tenerife has quite the culinary prowess.
Due to its location the island has been inspired by a number of settlers, most notably the Spanish, a country it is still a part of, but also Africa which the island sits just off the coast of.
For most people, a holiday to Tenerife doesn’t mean a trip to gastronomic heaven, it’s simply a week away to lounge by a pool, maybe a little exploring. But there’s more to explore than the mountainous terrain, rolling beaches, and excellent museums. There’s a whole range of tastes to sample too.
But we don’t think it’s fair if only you get to explore the flavour-filled wonders of Tenerife cuisine, which is why we’ve done it too and shared our favourite dishes that highlight exactly what’s so great about the island.
In the Canaries stews and casseroles are a staple for locals and it’s certainly a must try when visiting Tenerife. On the island fish-based dishes are commonplace and this one combines produce straight out of the Atlantic Ocean, usually grouper, sea bass, or donkey, with boiled potatoes, sweet potatoes, and mojo sauce. It’s a popular dish around the festive periods, particularly on Good Friday when it’s custom not to eat meat on that date.
Where the American’s have French fries, and the British have their roast potatoes, the Canary Islands has papas arrugadas, or to you and me, Canarian wrinkly potatoes. Mostly eaten as an appetiser or serves as a side with a main course, the smallest potatoes possible are found and served up with mojo – a peppery sauce – and salted.
They get their name because the cooking method, you boil them in salt water, then bake them, shrivels the skin and the wrinkles emerge. They are a unique dish to the Canaries and even Spanish tourists find the dish incredibly exotic.
If you’re a lover of cheese then Queso Asado could quite possibly be your dream dish. Basically created by either lightly frying or baking a chunky slice of goats’ cheese and drizzled in mojo, it’s a real taste of indulgence. Usually palm honey will top it off making your mouth water, complementing the cheese fantastically well.
La Hierbita in Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the perfect spot to try this delicious dish and is just a stone’s throw from Plaza de Espana and the heart of the city centre. If you want to try this cheesy sensation, that’s the place to go.
Take a look at a dish of carne fiesta and you’ll immediately want to get stuck in. The smells it produces are just as tempting, as cubes of pork are blended with garlic, thyme, oregano, spicy peppers, and a range of other spices.
Often marinated with white wine too, it’s a dish full of flavour and the juices really flow throughout. It’s one of Tenerife’s finest tapas dishes with bread to mop up the remains of the juices an absolute must.
If you’re going for tapas in the Canaries, then there’s no doubt about it, ensaladilla rusa will be on the menu. It tastes different in almost every place yet still keeps the same staple ingredients: boiled potatoes, tuna, peas, carrots, and mayonnaise.
Many chefs then like to get a little creative, adding produce such as boiled eggs, peppers, and olives, as well as asparagus. What you will also notice is that chefs will decorate the top with ingredients too.
However, unlike other Spanish and African inspired dishes that dominate the Canaries, this actually takes its origins from Russia before being spread across Europe and Latin America.
Right across Santa Cruz de Tenerife you’ll find a wealth of restaurants serving up these authentic Canarian dishes, and a night enjoying their customs amongst the wealth of holidaymakers and other restaurants serving burgers and chips simply has to be done.
It’s here you’ll capture Tenerife at its finest. Really experience what it has to offer on top of the magnificent landscape and gorgeous beaches.