The Best Local Foods to Eat in Valencia

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The Best Local Foods to Eat in Valencia

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Wandering through Valencia’s colorful streets, I’m immediately drawn to the enticing scent of paella as it cooks. This emblematic meal is a testament to the city’s culinary traditions and marks the start of a feast for the senses. But there’s much more to savor here. Let’s delve into Valencia’s top eats, including the delightfully sweet horchata and the invigorating Agua de Valencia. Prepare for a flavorful adventure that promises to satisfy your palate.

Paella, Valencia’s heart on a plate, is a must-try. Originating from the local fields, this dish combines rice, saffron, and a variety of fresh ingredients such as rabbit, chicken, and sometimes seafood. Each bite reflects the region’s agricultural abundance and history.

Don’t miss out on horchata, a refreshing drink made from tiger nuts, water, and sugar. This nutritious beverage, which dates back to the time of the ancient Egyptians, is a staple in Valencian diet, particularly in the hot summer months.

For a citrusy burst, sip on Agua de Valencia, a cocktail blending orange juice, cava, vodka, and gin. Valencia, renowned for its juicy oranges, offers this concoction as a testament to its citrus industry’s impact on local culture.

Valencia’s cuisine is deeply rooted in its Mediterranean climate and fertile land, offering a unique blend of flavors and dishes that reflect its historical and geographical influences. Embark on this culinary journey and experience the true essence of Valencia through its food.


Paella, originating from Valencia, isn’t merely a meal; it’s a culinary treasure that reflects the deep flavors and dynamic traditions of our area. This emblematic dish, central to Spanish gastronomy, began in Valencia and has since become synonymous with our food heritage.

Preparing paella is akin to practicing an art, with techniques that enhance its taste and presentation. It’s usually prepared outdoors, cooked over a flame in a wide, shallow pan known as a ‘paellera’, ensuring the rice cooks uniformly and soaks up the rich blend of ingredients.

The composition of traditional paella hinges on several key items. We use Bomba rice, a short-grain type, favored for its ability to soak up surrounding flavors while retaining firmness. The golden hue and delicate scent of the dish come from saffron, a treasured and costly spice.

Besides these, the inclusion of either chicken or rabbit, green beans, tomatoes, and occasionally snails, characterizes an authentic paella. Despite its traditional roots, paella is remarkably adaptable, with numerous variations featuring seafood like shrimp, mussels, and squid, reflecting the local availability and the creativity of Valencian cooks.

In essence, paella is a testament to the culinary expertise of Valencia, where each ingredient is chosen with purpose and care, and the cooking process is steeped in tradition. This dish does more than satisfy hunger; it offers a taste of Valencian culture and history with every bite.


After delving into the gastronomic gem of paella, let’s focus on horchata, a classic Valencian beverage that promises to delight your palate. Originating from Valencia, horchata has deep historical roots and is an integral part of the local culture. Crafted from tiger nuts, water, and sugar, this drink offers a smooth and invigorating taste experience.

Tracing its history back to the times of the Moors, horchata is thought to have been brought to Valencia by Arab settlers, who introduced tiger nut cultivation. Nowadays, horchata represents more than just a refreshing drink; it embodies the essence of Valencian heritage.

Valencia’s horchata stands out for its variety, with numerous recipes that add a twist to the traditional mix, including almond, sesame, and melon seed variations. These adaptations provide an array of flavors and textures, inviting you to discover horchata’s rich diversity.

Make sure to sample horchata at one of Valencia’s many horchaterias, where the beverage is often paired with local sweets like fartons, which are ideal for soaking up the drink’s creamy goodness. By savoring horchata, you’re not just enjoying a drink; you’re partaking in a piece of Valencian culture and its distinctive palate of flavors.

Agua De Valencia

Agua De Valencia is a celebrated concoction that epitomizes Valencia’s rich gastronomy. This zesty mix of cava, freshly pressed orange juice, gin, and vodka offers a symphony of flavors that will entice any palate.

Conceived in the 1950s, this cocktail quickly became a welcoming gesture for tourists and a staple among residents. It’s not just a drink; it’s an emblem of Valencia’s effervescent social life.

The crisp taste of local oranges combined with effervescent cava forms the base of Agua De Valencia, while the smooth spirits of gin and vodka inject energy into the mix. Enjoy it chilled, poured into a sizable pitcher, and shared amongst company.

My first encounter with Agua De Valencia was unforgettable. It captures the city’s spirit with each sip, making it the quintessential beverage for a sultry summer night or as a prelude to an evening in Valencia.

Should you visit, immerse yourself in this exquisite, authentic tipple that’s part of Valencia’s heritage.


Valencia’s culinary landscape is renowned for more than its signature Agua De Valencia cocktail; it also boasts the delectable Fideuà, a staple of Valencian gastronomy. This seafood dish is a feast for the senses, sure to satisfy any epicurean desire.

Fideuà bears a resemblance to the well-known paella; however, it distinguishes itself through the use of fideus, or thin noodles, in place of rice. These noodles absorb a rich broth, seasoned with fish stock, ripe tomatoes, aromatic garlic, and a blend of spices. Central to Fideuà is a medley of fresh seafood, which may include shrimp, clams, mussels, and squid, all simmering with the noodles to infuse the dish with a harmonious flavor profile.

The outcome is a deeply savory dish, brimming with the essence of the ocean. The perfectly cooked noodles take on the robust flavors of the broth and seafood, offering a symphony of taste in every forkful, complemented by the succulent texture of the seafood.

Fideuà, a testament to Valencian culinary tradition, is an essential experience for anyone appreciating seafood or eager to explore regional flavors. It represents the coastal region’s gastronomic wealth and is sure to leave diners longing for another serving. When in Valencia, seizing the chance to savor this seafood masterpiece is highly recommended.

Orxata De Chufa

Orxata De Chufa is a creamy and refreshing beverage, deeply rooted in the traditions of Valencia. This regional specialty, crafted from tiger nuts, showcases the rich agricultural history where these small tubers have been grown for generations. To make the drink, tiger nuts are soaked overnight and then ground into a dense paste. This paste is blended with water and sugar, with an optional sprinkle of cinnamon, resulting in the distinctive smooth texture and flavor of Orxata De Chufa.

The drink isn’t just a treat for the palate; it’s a powerhouse of nutrition. Tiger nuts are loaded with dietary fiber, which supports digestive health and maintains a robust gastrointestinal system. They’re also rich in essential nutrients like vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium, which play a vital role in sustaining good health and could even be instrumental in warding off chronic illnesses.

In the heart of Valencia, Orxata De Chufa is the go-to refreshment on a sweltering summer day, offering a cooling and rejuvenating break. Whether you choose to savor it slowly or enjoy it quickly, its creamy consistency and distinctive nutty taste will evoke the lively atmosphere of Valencian streets.


Bunyols, a delightful delicacy from Valencia, are fried dough treats known for their crunchy outside and tender center. These irresistible snacks are a highlight for anyone visiting the region. Originating from a cherished family recipe, bunyols have won over both residents and visitors.

The mixture, prepared with basic components such as flour, eggs, sugar, and yeast, transforms into culinary magic once fried. The dough is carefully fried in hot oil until it achieves a golden hue and the right crunch.

What sets bunyols apart are the various versions one can enjoy. While the traditional bunyol is often dusted with a fine layer of sugar, you can find options filled with rich custard, luscious chocolate, or smooth cream. Each filling brings a distinctive flavor that enhances the classic bunyol. Whether you stick to the original or explore new tastes, bunyols will delight anyone with a penchant for sweets.

There are many ways to relish bunyols, and no single method is the correct one. Some people love to pair them with a steaming cup of hot chocolate, whereas others might prefer them plain. I’ve a particular fondness for dipping bunyols in a velvety caramel sauce, adding a decadent twist to the experience. Regardless of how you choose to enjoy them, bunyols offer a taste of Valencia’s rich gastronomic heritage that shouldn’t be overlooked.

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