Five local specialities to eat on Tenerife

Tenerife isn't particularly well known for its gastronomic goodness, yet the culinary choice on the island is deliciously diverse with some interesting local specialities.

Here are five popular dishes to seek out and devour for an authentic taste of Tenerife.

Potaje de berros, watercress soup, Tenerife

Potaje de berros

Peppery, savoury watercress soup is a good way to start a traditional Tenerife eating experience. The only thing is you won't know what version is going to turn up on your plate until it arrives. Personally I prefer when it is simply watercress soup accompanied by a bowl of gofio (toasted grain flour) to thicken to get the consistency you like. However, often the berros will be joined by chunks of meat, potato and sweetcorn, leaving you on the wrong side of full by the time the main course arrives.

Goat

Walking around Tenerife's hills there's one animal you'll see far more than any other; goats. Subsequently cabra (goat) is common on menus in Canarian restaurants. Ordering cabra is a bit of a hit and miss affair. When it's a good cut and prepared right, goat is delicious and falls apart easily in your mouth. However, sometimes it can be fatty and the preparation a bit of the basic side – chop it up with a cleaver, bones and all, and throw it into a frying pan. It is nearly always served under a mountain of French fries which adds to an overall look that couldn't be described as sophisticated cuisine. But when you get good cabra, who cares?

Goat and French fries, Tenerife

Puchero

There are a number of traditional Tenerife dishes that are an amalgamation of everything but the kitchen sink. The most classic is puchero, which has been stuffing the stomachs of locals and hungry travellers for centuries. This is the dish to choose when you're ravenous to the point of madness. It is also one of the most anarchically unappetising looking dishes to grace a dining table. Even a master chef with Ferran Adriá's artistic capabilities would struggle to make something attractive out of a dish consisting of pork ribs, beef, chorizo, chicken thighs, chickpeas, corn, beans, cabbage, carrots, pumpkin, potato, sweet potato, garlic, herbs and sometimes even pear.

Rabbit

Yes, Bugs Bunny is a Tenerife favourite. In hunting season Tenerife's forests are full of hunters in full combat gear tracking rabbits. It's a bit overkill considering their prey, but it does mean that rabbit is plentiful and cheap. Rabbit is usually served as conejo en salmorejo (in a richly flavoured sauce) or conejo frito (fried rabbit pieces) which is much easier to eat with your fingers at a stall during a fiesta. Some people have an aversion to eating rabbit; they're missing out, it's a tender meat that's full of flavour.

Rabbit en salmorejo, Tenerife

Parrotfish

It's said that Vieja (parrotfish) is the most popular fish on Tenerife. That's not strictly true. Cherne (wreckfish), a meaty white fish, is far more common on menus. However, parrot fish might just be the tastiest fish found in traditional seafood restaurants on the island. Puerto de la Cruz and Santa Cruz are good places to seek out this exotic, beaky fish whose skin is vibrant red. With delicate, smoky flavours, vieja is a real treat for fish fans.

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