One of my favorite things to spend money on while traveling is food! At the end of July I was in Madrid and had a great culinary journey. I love trying new foods, so Madrid was perfect with tapas all over. Later in the summer I met a Spanish guy in Croatia who told me I should visit Bilbao since it is one of the food capitals of the world. His family owns three restaurants in the area. As I said, if you invite me I will come. So of course I booked another flight to Spain!

Bilbao is a part of the Basque Country, which prides itself on their cuisine, which includes meats and fish, and pintxos (finger bar-food). The Basque Country attracts tourists due to their food.

 

IMG_4223On my first night my friend fixed a gourmet meal from his family’s restaurant, which consisted of octopus and sardines (on left), Serrano ham (middle), and blank ink squid (right). Needless to say, this was a perfect way to spend my first night in a new city.

 

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The next day while my friend was at work I went on a mission to find barnacles, since they are unique to the region and a delicacy. Now I did not know exactly what barnacles looked like, but I knew they were expensive. I walked into Mercado de la Ribera and realized I needed some fuel for my barnacle search, so I stopped at the first merchant and ordered a glass of wine and 2 pintxos for less than 5 Euros. I had no idea what I was eating, and the server didn’t speak English, but I was heaven with each bite.

 

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I walked to a different merchant and I think I found the barnacles! I ordered a handful and once I saw the price of 16 euros, I knew this was what I was looking for. Ten minutes later the server came out with my filter-feeding crustaceans. I stared at my plate for about 5 minutes because I had no idea how I was supposed to eat these. After I gained confidence, I just started biting and sucking with the salt and sea flavors taking over my taste buds. The barnacles had the similar texture as oysters. There was very little meat in each barnacle, but it was fun to try and yummy. I devoured them!

 

IMG_4141On my third day in Bilbao we drove to a beach town outside the city to get fresh fish. No words needed, this was absolutely delicious.

 

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On my last day in Bilbao I already had amazing seafood and pinxtos, but my friend saved the best for last.We went to a restaurant that overlooked the entire city and ate barbeque. For 25 euros I had some of the best steak I’ve ever tasted, potatoes, pigs blood with rice (no one told me it was blood), salad, and bread. Talk about great value!

 

Bilbao was a perfect trip where I was spoiled with food. Here are some non-related food pictures the capture my whole experience in this beautiful city.