You’ve landed in Madrid and you’re ready to explore its narrow streets, bustling plazas, historical sites, and try traditional dishes, but for those thrill-seekers out there is that enough? When it comes to food there’s plenty of tasty yet strange, actually some would possibly say disgusting, dishes you should surely try if you want to feel like a “real” Madrileno. All these dishes will have any vegetarian running for the hills. Here are four plates we dare you to try and if you have any complaints, well, we double dog dare you to raise that to your waiter as well!
Morcilla – Sausage stuffed with pig’s blood, onions, and rice
The wonderful news about Morcilla (black pudding) is, well, you can find it pretty much everywhere. Walk in to any tapas bar in the La Latina neighborhood and you’re bound to see people eating it by the mouth full. Although it looks gross (black, almost purple-lish in color, and thick), it’s actually really sweet tasting and addictive. Depending on where you go they may stuff it with different spices, but the main ingredient, pig and pig’s blood, well, you can’t really swap that for something else. I’d definitely recommend eating it with lots of bread on the first try … it’s an acquired taste.
Cochinillo – Suckling pig
The best Cochinillo in Madrid is served at Botin (Calle de los Cuchilleros, 17, Metro: Tirso de Molina / Sol, Telephone: 91 366 42 17). Botin is noted in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest restaurant in the world, and has been mentioned in many famous literary texts (the owner, Carlos, says that Hemmingway finished the last page of The Sun Also Rises at an upstairs table). The current owners’ grandparents bought the establishment over ninety years ago, and they’ve used the same oven since 1725, which is maybe why their suckling pig is the best in the city. The restaurant has strict rules for the little piggies before they arrive at the restaurant. They cannot be over four kilos or twenty days in age, and the must have only been fed mother’s milk. Once the piglets arrive at the restaurant they are put into the oven for two and a half hours. To get a glimpse of the little ones waiting to be placed in the oven – walk straight back from the entrance and look in to see the shelves of piglets and the ancient oven.
Oreja de Cerdo = Pig ears
I’d say if you don’t know how make pig ears (do you fry or boil them?) then head to Bodegas de la Ardosa (Calle Colon, 13, Metro: Chueca, 91 521 4979). Founded in 1892 and known as the seventh oldest tavern in Madrid, here is where you can enjoy a succulent pig ear all for yourself. Lucky for you, they serve this Spanish delicacy with Salsa Brava (red sauce).
Gallinejas, Entresijos and Mollejas – All parts of a lamb fried in its own fat!
One of the fattiest and almost gut wrenching (not only when it goes down but also the smell) must try foods are the Gallinejas, Entresijos and Mollejas. The best place, and one of the few places that still serves them, is Gallinejas Embajadores (Calle Embajadores, 84, Metro: Embajadores). The large plate shows off the loveliest fatty fried pieces of lamb and they top it off with some french fries. Yep, you’re all set for a great night owt on the town, or on the toilet.
Complain or Change of order
You’ve decided to try one of the foods mentioned above and you don’t like your meal, or after you’ve ordered you’ve changed your mind. Well, we dare you to ask the waiter to change your order, or complain that the food is too salty, fatty, or the fish is not fresh, the meat is not cooked enough. In Madrid the service at restaurants is not like in other parts of the world … But if you’re up for a heckle and big-to-do it’s a great way to entertain yourself and the people you’re with.