During your trip to Valencia don't miss the opportunity to try some authentic Valencia food. The city and region offer certain specialities that are worth investigating during your holiday. This page will provide you with information on some of the most traditional Valencia specialities.
Valencia rice dishes
In Spain, paella (see below for more details) is considered to be just one of many rice dishes - known as 'arroces'. 30 percent of the rice produced in Spain is produced in the region of Valencia. The Albufera Nature Reserve has over 9,000 hectares of land for rice cultivation. If you are looking for the best of the Valencia rice to buy to bring home with you, look out for a stamp of quality called 'Rice of Valencia Certificate of Origin'.
If you are on the lookout for places to try Valencia rice dishes, it is best to look for places serving traditional and local cuisine (see our Valencia Restaurants Listings). One of the most interesting Valencia classic rice dishes is 'arroz negro' - a dish using squid ink to flavour and colour the rice so that the rice is black.
Valencia's all-time most famous of the 'arroces' is paella. Paella is said to have been invented in Valencia, and the people of the city are proud of its heritage. Ernest Hemingway famously tried his first paella in Valencia at a restaurant called La Pepica. It is still possible to visit this legendary restaurant, that is located on the promenade of Valencia beach. Along this stretch of promenade is where you can get some of the best paellas in Valencia- there is a whole row of seafood restaurants here specialising in local Valencia dishes.
It is interesting to note that the most traditional Valencia paella does not contain seafood - it contains chicken, rabbit and snails.
Horchata from Valencia
Horchata is a sweet and milky drink made from tiger nuts. Tiger nuts are a fruit that are originally from Egypt and were brought to Valencia by the Arabs. Tiger nuts are now grown in 16 towns in the region of Valencia - the method used to grow the tiger nuts in the specific area of L'Horta Nord ensures that it is the only region in Spain where an authentic tiger nut is grown.
During your trip to Valencia you won't be able to miss horchata. The drink is the most classic of breakfast options in Valencia, served with 'fartons'. Fartons are like long and thin iced buns. Traditionally they are dunked into the horchata.
If you want to try horchata you can head to the old town - El Carmen. Here you will find places called 'Horchaterias' - small cafes that specialise in horchata and fartons. In the small streets surrounding Plaza de la Reina, you will find some of the best horchaterias. Also, if you head to Valencia's famous food market - Mercado Central, you will find a stall right next to the main entrance where people queue each morning for fresh horchata and fartons.
Throughout Valencia, during the summer months, you will spot small stalls selling horchata in the streets of the centre. Here you can pick up a horchata on the run.
Pan Quemado from Valencia
Pan quemado is a type of cake that is associated with celebrations in Valencia. It is a simple and round cake, made using eggs, flour, sugar, oil and lemon. During the major celebration times in Valencia, you will see the windows of bakeries piled high with these sweetbreads.
Tapas in Valencia
In reality, tapas are not particularly typical of Valencia. Unlike cities such as Madrid or Seville, in Valencia people are less likely to stroll from bar to bar eating a different tapa in each bar. It is more authentic in Valencia to find one bar or restaurant, order a whole batch of tapas and get stuck in for the evening.
For advice on places to head for tapas in Valencia, see our Guide to an Evening of Tapas in Valencia.
If you are planning a foodie trip to Valencia, it is worth noting that each year the Valencia Turisme board organise a Valencia Restaurant Week. During this week restaurants throughout the city centre will offer imaginative menus, special deals and other events. Keep an eye on the Official Valencia Restaurant Week Website for the dates of the next event.
Valencia is a city that boasts over 8,000 bars, cafes and restaurants. There are six restaurants in the city with Michelin stars. There are also a good variety of restaurants and bars offering quality traditional and local cuisine. During your trip to Valencia, get involved in finding out a bit about what the locals eat and drink. It can add to the fun of the holiday and you are sure to find a few recipe ideas that you'll want to take home with you.