A huge variety of food can be sampled on the Canary Islands, so get ready for a taste sensation – Canarian style! The gastronomy is a mix of Spanish dishes with influences from Africa and Latin America. Of course there are some recipes that are traditionally Canarian and these can often be found on the menus in hotels and restaurants all over Tenerife, alongside dishes from around the world.
Let’s start with the typical dishes that are popular in the Canary Islands. Stews packed with prime cuts of meat which are imported from South America and mainland Spain are well-liked in Tenerife. Add to this fresh vegetables, sourced from the agricultural markets found in many of the resorts and you have a delicious, wholesome meal.
Gofio has been a staple part of the Canarian diet for many years and is rather like flour made from toasted cereals. It was believed to be the main food of the Guanches, the native people of Tenerife and remains a popular dish to this day. If you see this on a menu, try it... delicious.
Another main dish you will see everywhere is papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes) or sometimes also called Canarian potatoes. Cooked in salt with their skins still on, they are simple and flavoursome when served with mojos (sauces), which are used for dipping. There are two; a red mojo picón which is hot and spicy and an olive-oil based mojo verde which is green and not so fiery.
Fish lovers will be in paradise on Tenerife thanks to the abundance of great seafood and fresh fish. Lobsters, crab, dorada (a type of sea bream), mussels, oysters and all manner of succulent morsels are found on menus. There are some particularly good fish restaurants in the Costa Adeje and Golf del Sur resorts.
More typical fish recipes are the dishes caldereta de pescado (fish stew) or sancocho Canario (Canarian stew), which use salted fish cooked in spiced sauces.
And those of you with a sweet tooth might like to try bienmesabe, a very sugary dessert made from a blend of honey, almond cream, eggs and rum. This can be served on its own or with ice cream.
Using fresh fruit is also a key part of the Canarian diet, with stocks of bananas, papayas, strawberries and mangos in good supply. These often go into the many drinks on offer at some of the more discerning cocktail bars in resorts like Playa del Duque and Costa Adeje.
Another big hit as far as drinks are concerned is the local beverage ron miel, a sweet honey rum served after your meal.
It’s typical in Tenerife to make smaller, light dishes that are more palatable in warmer temperatures. A mixture of fresh crunchy salads and tapas are a firm favourite, especially on the lunch menus. Enjoying tapas is a traditionally Spanish way of eating small portions of a variety of food.
Your dining options are absolutely overflowing on Tenerife with something for everyone to enjoy. Guaranteed, you will be going back for seconds, thirds...
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