Devouring Valencia Like a Local: 8 Typical Foods from Valencia

This blog post was originally posted on June 26, 2017 and was updated on April 16, 2019.

Valencian cuisine is full of diverse flavors, from mouthwatering seafood to delicious desserts.

As the third-largest city in Spain, Valencia attracts millions of tourists every year. Its sunny Mediterranean climate and prime beach location on Spain’s eastern coast make it an ideal vacation hotspot. However, exploring the local gastronomy is a must while you’re there. Don’t leave Comunitat Valenciana without trying some typical foods from Valencia! (And yes, there’s more to Valencia than its delicious paella!)

These typical foods from Valencia deserve a spot on every foodie's bucket list.

1. Paella

One of the most well-known Spanish dishes on the Iberian Peninsula and beyond, paella has its roots in Valencia. Some paella purists even argue it should only be eaten in Valencia, not in the rest of Spain!

The wetlands near the region’s Albufera lake are ideal for growing rice, which the Moors brought to Valencia in the 10th century. Paella was originally cooked in giant calderos in the open air near the lake in the 18th century, and it exploded in popularity around the mid-1800s.

Traditional Valencian paella includes chicken, rabbit and local white beans called garrafó—but seafood, vegetarian and “mixed” paella, containing both meat and fish, are also popular. Other typical additions include artichokes, lobster and even snails! And of course, the best paella always has a layer of crispy rice along the bottom.

Paella is easily the best known of all the typical foods from Valencia.
There’s nothing like a hearty plate of steaming hot paella. Photo credit: Time and Date

2. Fideuà

Paella’s seafood-and-noodles cousin has its origins as a humble fisherman’s dish. Tender, cooked-to-perfection noodles taste spectacular with seafood additions like monkfish, squid, shrimp and more. This is one of the most typical foods from Valencia, and a great option if you don’t want to order paella! 

The Valencian town of Gandia is proud to be the birthplace of this tasty dish. Fideuà fans who visit the region in early summer can check out the annual fideuà cooking contest, a favorite local celebration in Gandia.

Fideuà is a noodle and seafood dish that’s one of the typical foods from Valencia.
Everyone loves paella, but don’t forget about fideuà!

3. All i pebre

This delicacy is a favorite among valencianos, and after trying it we’re sure you’ll see why. All i pebre is a stew containing chunks of eel and potatoes simmered to perfection in a sauce that includes garlic, paprika and almonds. Not as well known outside the region as other typical food from Valencia, this hearty meal is one of the locals’ best-kept secrets and a true gastronomic hidden gem.

All i pebre is a stew made of eel and potatoes in a sauce of garlic and paprika. It’s one of the most beloved typical foods from Valencia among locals.
A piping hot bowl of all i pebre is the perfect way to warm up. Photo credit: Verema

4. Arròs a banda

Valencianos sure love their rice, and arròs a banda is one of their all-time favorites. This typical food from Valencia is not to be confused with paella! In fact, this dish originated in nearby Alicante, where fishermen would use their unsold fish to make the stock used in cooking the rice. Curiously enough, the rice and seafood are traditionally served separately in arròs a banda: first comes the fish, then the rice is served as a second course and topped with a dollop of alioli (garlic mayonnaise).

Nope, it’s not paella! Arròs a banda is one of the many typical foods from Valencia that contain either seafood or rice—in this case, both.
Traditional presentation of arròs a banda, with the rice served apart from the seafood (and topped with plenty of alioli!). Photo credit: Cocinaros

5. Esgarraet

Although most Spanish food fans don’t usually consider tapas a typical food from Valencia, esgarraet is an exception to the rule. This tasty tapa includes strips of bacalao (salted codfish) and roasted red peppers, both of which are cut into fine strips. It’s usually swimming in good-quality olive oil with plenty of bread on the side to soak up the hearty juices.

One of the few tapas that’s considered one of the typical foods from Valencia, esgarraet is a perfect blend of red peppers with salted codfish.
Tenderly roasted red peppers meet mouthwatering bacalao in one of our favorite typical foods from Valencia, esgarraet. Photo credit: La Cocina de Alimerka

6. Bunyols

Don’t forget to save room for dessert! Bunyols are yummy fritters containing a touch of pumpkin in the dough. Valencians usually snack on them during the famous Las Fallas festival in March, but we recommend enjoying them any time of year! This delicious snack is one of our favorite typical foods from Valencia!

Bunyols/buñuelos are a favorite treat all over Spain, but they have their roots on the eastern coast and are considered one of the typical foods from Valencia.
Bunyols, or buñuelos in Spanish, are a favorite Valencian treat during Las Fallas.

7. Horchata and fartons

Lots of people have enjoyed a nice cool glass of horchata in the summer, but many probably don’t know that this delicious vegan milk comes from Valencia! Locals typically accompany it with fartons, a sweet bread glazed with sugar. This is the perfect pick-me-up after a long day of sightseeing!

Typical foods from Valencia include fartons, a sweet, sugar-glazed bread that’s usually enjoyed with a glass of horchata.
Horchata and fartons: a match made in heaven! Photo credit: Serious Eats

8. Turrón

Spaniards all over the peninsula enjoy this nougat-based treat at Christmas, but it has its roots in Valencia. Turrones can be hard or soft, depending on whether the almonds used are kept whole or pulverized into a paste. With flavor varieties such as chocolate, coconut, coffee and more, there’s sure to be a turrón that pleases every traveler’s taste buds.

Turrón is one of the typical foods from Valencia, but Spaniards all over the country enjoy it, particularly at Christmas.
Nothing beats turrón and sweet wine during the holidays!

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