There is one thing you need to know before diving into the Catalan cuisine: Just like their culture, it is not Spanish. So, while traveling in Cataluñya, forget about Spanish food and make a note of these 10 Catalan dishes you should try.
Calçots are green onions that you will see the Catalan people eating after the winter starts fading. Eating Calçots is more of an experience than anything. Normally, the Catalans will have "calzotadas" where they spend an afternoon barbecuing Calçots and hanging out with friends and family. If you can get an invite to one of these calzotadas, it would be a great way to integrate yourself more into the Catalan culture.
2. Pa Amb Tomaquet Embotit
Pa amb Tomaquet is a really popular Catalan food. I probably ate this three or four times a week for breakfast when I lived in Barcelona. Pa amb tomaquet is bread with oil and tomato sauce spread on it. If you have Pa Am Tomaquet Embotit it is the same thing, but with a type of pork meat on top such as fuet, chorizo, or salchichón. My personal favorite was the Pa Amb Tomaquet with Fuet.
Canelons are typical Christmas dish in Cataluñya . I was lucky enough to try these homemade during a Catalan Christmas party, but there are numerous Catalan restaurants that serve this tasty dish all year round. Here are a few of them.
Esqueixada is cod mixed with olive oil, vinegar, salt and a few vegetables. I never tried it because I am not the biggest fan of anything that tastes like raw fish, but this is one of the favorites of many Catalan people.
Escalivada is a dish that usually consists of two vegetables: pepper and eggplant.
6. Botifarra Amb Seques
Botifarra = Sausage, Amb = With, Seques = Beans
7. Crema Catalana
Crema Catalana is really delicious. The good thing is that it's taste is quite similar to creme brulée, so you know beforehand if you will like it or not.
8. Escudella i Carn D'Olla
Escudella i Carn D'Olla is a soup that includes meatballs, vegetables, and pasta. Just like the Canelons, the Escudella i Carn D'Olla is part of the traditional Catalan Christmas meal.
Xatonada is a Catalan plate that combines cod, lettuce, and a special sauce.
10. Arròs Negre
Arròs Negre is kind of like the Catalan version of a paella. It is made with rice and squid and tastes really good! However, be a little cautious about trying this dish in the more touristic areas. From what I have heard, it is just not as good in these parts of the city.
Bonus Drink: Cava
Instead of ordering a Sangria, ask for a Cava instead. Cava is a Catalonian wine that is similar to Champagne.
What are your favorite Catalan foods?