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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > Spain > Canary Islands

Canary Islands Food and Drink

The cuisine of the Canary Islands shares much in common with that of the Spanish peninsula, but there are key distinctions that mark them out from the rest of the country. Canarian fare bears influences from its aboriginal inhabitants, Latin American immigrants, and nearby Africa.

A staple of the Canarian diet is papas, which is thought to have been invented when the first potatoes were brought over from Latin America by the conquistadores. Locals like to mash them with a special sauce called mojo picon derived from garlic, paprika, cumin and white vinegar; this potato dish is served with almost every meal. Fish soups are very common, too, as is goat meat, and various stews. Bananas, tomatoes, avocados and papayas are grown locally and widely consumed.

In the main resorts, restaurants offer the full range of international cuisine, Spanish dishes and a limited choice of local delicacies. Often restaurants and bars, particularly at the cheaper end of the scale, simply cater for the tastes of particular holidaymaker's nationalities. British-oriented, and to a lesser degree, German-oriented establishments are common in the main resorts. Spanish wines and spirits are the best value. Local beers are pilsner-type lagers.

Specialities

Mojos: Olive oil based sauces.
Picón: Spicy red sauce to accompany meat.
Verde: Sauce from parsley and coriander to accompany fish.
Papasarrugadas: Wrinkly new potatoes boiled in sea salt.
Potaje: Vegetable-only soupy stew.
Pucherocanario: A meat soup of chicken, beef and pork meat, plus corn cobs, chickpeas, sweet potatoes and other vegetables.
Sancocho: Stew of salted fish, sweet potatoes and vegetables.
Ropavieja: Meaning 'old clothes', this dish mixes chicken and beef with potatoes and chickpeas.
Conejo en salmorejo: Rabbit stew marinated in coriander sauce.
Costillas con piña: Ribs with corn cob.
Pella de gofio: Gofio is a kind of milled grain with a whole range of culinary uses in the Canaries. Pella de Gofio is a kind of soft, doughy loaf.
Ronmiel: A rum-honey liquor.

Tipping

There is not a huge culture of tipping in the Canaries, but 10% in restaurants is acceptable

Drinking age

18

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