Have You Ever Tried Spanish Paella?

Spanish paella
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

The cool thing about food from around the world isn’t just about introducing new tastes to your palette. It’s about rethinking the way food is served and even understood. A great example is paella, a popular rich dish from Spain. You may have heard of it in America as “Spanish Rice”, but in Spain they call it the former, and here’s why it’s so culturally important—and so different from the way Americans perceive food.

A Different Approach to Rice

In America, when we think of rice, we think of it as a side dish. We think of it as a way to support the “main enchilada”, where something like chicken or meat usually sits. But in Spain, paella is a main dish in its own right. This classic Spanish dish, which is essentially rice with a profound mixture of tasty spices, is not a supporter, rather something to be supported.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that tapas are so popular in Spain because tapas are another word for side dishes in Spanish cuisine. So maybe it’s not even that paella is a main dish unto itself—but rather that all side dishes are seen as main dishes in Spain! In any case, paella is a must-order if you’re ever in Barcelona.