I didn’t really understand it either until I started traveling again.
Pintxos is Spain’s sushi!
Another typical bar meal is « pintxos ». You’ve probably heard of them before, but they may not be so popular in Japan.
Pintxos, which are slices of baguette topped with a variety of ingredients and pointed with bamboo skewers, are one of the most popular meals in Spanish bars.
I guess it’s like sushi in Japan, because you put everything on the baguette (lol), but it’s fun and delicious.
However, just like other European countries, Spain is a nation of other ethnicities, and its local culture is rich in variety, regardless of modern national boundaries. It may be too easy to classify pintxos as Spanish food.
Hamon Iberico, of course, but also croquettes, a tapas staple, and a wide variety of seafood such as crab, sardines and anchovies. There was a combination of crab (with mayonnaise?) and cured ham, which was exquisite.
Hmmm, this should be more popular in Japan.
Basically, it seems to be self-service.
The pintxos seemed to be self-service. At the restaurant we entered, we were given a large plate first, and then we could serve as many pintxos as we wanted.
However, be careful not to take too much because each one is surprisingly large and hearty. Especially the baguette is very generous. I also got carried away and took too much.
When you take your seat after serving your food, the staff will count what you have taken without your permission. It’s a bit confusing at first, but once you get used to it, you’ll start to enjoy it. It seems that the restaurant we entered was an easy place for many foreign tourists to enter. We were told that it would be better to go to a place that is more popular with the locals. Nevertheless, it was delicious enough even in this restaurant.
San Sebastián, the home of gastronomy
As for the pintxos, there were a lot of them, especially from San Sebastian (Donostia) in the Basque Country, which is said to be the birthplace of the pintxos.
San Sebastián is such a city!
The alleyways of the old town are crowded with bars.
Donostia is said to be one of the most famous gastronomic cities in Europe. I’ve heard rumors that it has the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants per capita in the world.
Donostia is facing the Bay of Biscay (Atlantic Ocean), so it is rich in seafood. Particularly, this area and Cantabria on the left side of the bay are said to produce good quality sardines (sardines), which is why anchovies and pickled sardines are so delicious.
I thought the anchovies in particular were more elegant and flavorful than those in other areas.
In addition, I was gathering information at the tourist information center in San Sebastian (very comprehensive!). There is a pintxos eating tour in San Sebastian. If you have time, why don’t you try it!
There was also a book for sale at the tourist information center that might be useful in walking around eating on our own.
This seems to be a guidebook for a pintxos restaurant in San Sebastián.
There is also a map of the shops listed.
Apparently this is updated on a regular basis.
Are you close to Bordeaux?
By the way, San Sebastián, the place is here in Spain. It is very close to the French border. Moreover, it is easy to access to Bayonne and Bordeaux on the French side by high speed and train.
I’ll have to organize a Basque-Aquitaine gastronomy tour!