Let’s Go Exploring! Madrid, the Food or Food Poisoning Capital of the World?

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FIRECracker

FIRECracker is a world-travelling early retiree. She used to live in one of the most expensive cities in Canada, but instead of drowning in debt, she rejected home ownership. What resulted was a 7-figure portfolio, which has allowed her and her husband to retire at 31 and travel the world. Their story has been featured on CBC, the Huffington Post, CNBC, BNN, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance. To date, it is the most shared story in CBC history and their viral video on CBC's On the Money has garnered 4.5 Million views.
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I closed my eyes, resting my face on the cold bathroom tiles. The tremors in my stomach had temporarily subsided, but the room was still spinning. Oh God, why oh why did I order that stupid seafood tower?

After what felt like hours, I knelt on the bathroom floor shivering and covered in cold sweat. Oh crap, I thought, as another wave of nausea hit me. With shaky hands, I crawled over to the toilet and started puking again.

So how did we end up here?

Let me back up a bit.

Before we came to Madrid, we were both big fans of seafood. Specifically raw seafood—oysters, sashimi, and clams–basically anything that smelled like the ocean. Given that Spain had some of the world’s most renowned seafood dishes, we thought we were in for a treat. And when we found out about the “tower of seafood” offered by the popular local restaurant recommended by our Airbnb host, we were ecstatic.

Having eaten at food stalls all-over Southeast Asia, Mexico, and Central America, food poisoning never even crossed my mind. And now that we were in Spain, I completely dropped my guard—after all, some of the best most expensive Michelin restaurants are in Madrid. What could possibly go wrong?

Turns out a lot. But I’ll get to that in a second.

Luckily, at the beginning of the week, we mostly stuck to cooked tapas, churros, and jamón. Madrid gave us some of the most memorable food experiences we’ve ever had in all of Europe:

Chocolate Con Churros

If you’re ever having a bad day, order a plate of chocolate con churros. Trust me, the combination of deep-fried fitters coated with cinnamon and dipped in thick melted dark chocolate will brighten even the darkest day. I inhaled the whole thing in 5 seconds flat and then upended the cup to get the last drops of dark chocolate into my mouth. Sadly, the waiter took away our dishes before I could embarrass myself by licking the whole cup clean. Oh well.

For the best CCC (that’s what the cool kids call it these days) in all of Madrid, head to “San Gines”. PROTIP: there’s always a long line up but if you keep walking past it, through the tunnel, you’ll see another café called “La Escondida de San Gines”. It’s the same cafe with the exact same menu but people don’t realize that, so you’ll already be seated and eating your churros while all the other tourists are distracted by the long line.

 

All Tapas, all the time

foie gras tapas–my favourite!
Salmon, crab, and cream cheese tapas. Yum!
Assorted seafood tapas

You can find delicious tapas all over the city, but our favourite spot was Puturru De Foie in the Mercado de San Antón. They had the best foie gras tapas for €4 each! (Given that foie gras sets you back at least $20 for a tiny appetizer, I have no idea how they make money, but I’m glad they found a way) I can honestly say this was one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth.

The most popular mercado in Madrid is San Miguel, but we found it to be overrated and way too crowded. I would recommend checking it out for the architecture—a gorgeous ornate historical building with iron pillars and floor-to-ceiling glass—but I thought the food was just so-so.

User: (WT-shared) Aiko99ann at wts wikivoyage [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

 

Another place that served up great tapas with a fantastic view is the rooftop food court in the El Corte Ingles at Plaza Callao. It’s pretty well hidden and packed with locals, but tourists have no idea where it is, so you’ll get this gem to yourself.

I wasn’t a huge fan of tapas in other parts of Spain (pay more for less food and SHARE it with other people, say what?) but in Madrid the tapas were exceptional. I would go back to Madrid in a heartbeat just for that.

Jamón Ibérico—my newfound love

The Spaniards are serious about their jamón—or ham—so much so that savouring paper-thin slices of the glistening cured pork is a Spanish rite of passage.

Before coming to Madrid, we didn’t even know the difference between Jamon Serrano and Jamon Iberico (tragic, I know). And the words “Pata Negra” didn’t even register in my brain.

Since then I’ve been educated on the difference between Serrano and Ibérico and why you hadn’t lived until you’ve devoured a slice of “Bellota Pata Negra” shaved ever-so-carefully from a severed pig leg hanging from the ceiling, hoof still attached.

You see, Serrano ham comes from the common white pig raised on a farm and fed a normal diet of cereals. Ibérico ham, on the other hand, comes from a one of a kind black-hoofed pig that is raised on a special diet of acorns and left to run wild on oak-filled pastures, their backs “caressed by mountain air” (the Spaniards can be a tad melodramatic).

This is why the cost of Ibérico ham is 10-20 times more expensive than Serrano ham.

So is it worth it? Being the skeptic that I am, I decided to find out for myself.

At €165 ($185 USD) per kg, the Bellota Pata Negra (acorn-fed black-hoofed pig) was the most expensive ham in the entire store and I half expected a loud alarm to blare the minute the butcher took it off its hook.

Here’s what it looked like sliced.

As soon as I put it in my mouth, it practically melted on my tongue. I tasted an earthy, nutty, almost sweet flavour that resembled nothing of the Serrano hams I’d had before. Serrano hams tastes like being punched in the mouth with a fistful of salt, but Ibérico ham was so exquisite I didn’t want to ruin it by clobbering the taste with any bread.

So, now it’s officially. I’m a total ham snob. And if you go to Madrid to try Ibérico ham, you will be one too.

World class museums featuring Picasso and Dali

I’m not even into art museums, but I loved the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, the Museo
Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, and the Museo Nacional del Prado.

If you go to Madrid, you must hit up these 3, as they are known as the “golden triangle
of art” and listed in the top 10 best art museums in the world.

I went there mostly to see Picasso and Dali’s pieces, but I also ended up discovering Francisco Goya, who made one of the most disturbing paintings ever, entitled “Saturn Devouring His Son”

Soerfm [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

 

Yeah, Spanish artists can be dark. And speaking of dark…

Bull fighting

Now, this one is a controversial one. Notice how I said “memorable”, not necessarily “best or most fun” at the beginning of this list.

Bull fighting has been a Spanish tradition for hundreds of years, but in recent years, the sport has been banned in Barcelona because of its cruelty towards bulls. I didn’t know this but the matador stabs and kills the bull at the end of each fight. He even takes home the severed ears and head as a trophy! So understandably, some see this tradition as barbaric and have petitioned for it to be banned.

You can go to the Museo Taurino to find out about the art of bullfighting and all the casualties that came from participating in such a dangerous sport. Warning: this is not for the faint of heart.

So now that I’ve told you everything I love about Madrid, let me tell you about the one thing I didn’t love. Namely getting food poisoned within an inch of our lives.

All we heard was “seafood tower” from our Airbnb host and we headed straight to “Ribeira do Miño”, the popular local restaurant to eat our fill.

Six hours later, I ended up with my head in the toilet, swearing to never eat seafood again.

Little did I know, Spain has been dubbed “the food poison capital of the world” according to a survey of 2000 holidaymakers. And recently, there’s even been an outbreak of food poisoning which lead to a death in a Michelin star restaurant! Yikes!.

I can honestly say I didn’t want to look at a single oyster or shrimp after that ordeal and it’ll be a long time before I can even think about raw oysters without freaking out again.

Luckily, our bad experience was made up by the fact that our Airbnb host was nice enough to let us stay for two nights for free, and we didn’t have to catch a flight the next day.

Needless to say, we learned from that experience and will be super careful from now on.

You’d think that whole food poisoning thing would sour my experience on Madrid, but I still think it’s one of my favourite cities that we visit in Europe—mostly because of the wonderful food and world class museums. Just be careful with seafood and make sure to avoid Ribeira do Miño like the plague.

We ended up spending more in Madrid (mostly on food) than many other parts of Europe, but it was worth it:

Category Cost in USD/couple Cost in CAD/couple Notes
Accommodations: $46 USD $71 CAD Even though it was more expensive than places like Eastern Europe, accommodations in Madrid were still quite reasonable for a big city. Our Airbnb was tiny but well laid out and close to major attractions.
Food: $56 USD $73 CAD ($47 for eating out, $26 for groceries) We ate out in Madrid more than any other city in Europe and it shows. I regret almost nothing except the seafood tower which set us back 45 Euros and destroyed us afterwards. Be extra careful with raw seafood–especially in Spain.
Transportation: $15 USD/day $20 CAD/day Transportation to Madrid from Malta was 68 Euros each via Ryanair. Getting around Madrid via subway was easy and relatively inexpensive. We were also in the middle of the action so we could walk to most attractions.
Entertainment: $1.70 USD/day $2.30 CAD/day One of the things I love about Madrid is the museums which are actually free to visit on certain days. The downside is the long lines, but when you're retire, who cares about lines ;). We ended saving a ton of money because we scheduled our time around free museum days.
Total: $128 USD/couple/day $166 CAD/couple/day Madrid was one of the more expensive places we visit in Europe but still one of our favourites. Even with the food poisoning, I'd still recommend it.

What do you think? Are you brave enough to go to the food/food poisoning capital of the world?

Note: Shout out to Chautauquans A&D for the tip on using the Rick Steves app for street tours. For those of you who like to travel in Europe, make sure you download the Ricks Steves travel app. It’s completely free and super useful.


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66 thoughts on “Let’s Go Exploring! Madrid, the Food or Food Poisoning Capital of the World?”

  1. Hey Firecracker! I can’t believe I’ve actually been to a place you’ve travelled to. I usually only travel vicariously through you and Wanderer, but this time I can say I’ve been to Madrid – more than once! My hubby and I loved Spain so much and Spain is such a large county with so much to see, we vacationed there two years in a row. Our second visit included Portugal also.

    When planning our first trip to Spain, I was a bit concerned to learn that Spain was the most seafood eating country in the world. We do not like seafood. Well, except for classic England style fish and chips, which foodies probably don’t consider seafood. I was worried we would have a hard time finding edibles for our bland palates and sensitive tummies. But we managed not to starve during our time in country.

    When planning our second trip to Spain, with Portugal included, I was again a bit concerned to learn that Portugal was the SECOND most seafood eating country in the world, which says a lot, since Portugal is a relatively small country. Again, we managed not to starve during our travels.

    I had no idea Spain was the food poisoning capital of the world. Guess it was a good thing we are not seafood eaters.

    We did love Madrid, and all the other places we visited in both Spain and Portugal.

    By the way, you do realize Madrid is in the center of the country, far away from any ocean shoreline??? If ever you return to Spain, you might want to stick near the La Barceloneta area of Barcelona for your seafood meals. Apparently, fish caught that morning are what is served at lunch.

    1. Yeah, you have a good point about sticking to places near the sea. Will keep that in mind next time.

      Despite the food poisoning, we still loved Madrid and would go back without hesitation (just not to that particular restaurant). So we feel the same way about Spain and Portugal as you do 😉

      1. I was SO excited about being the first commenter that I forgot my manners. I meant to start my comment with:

        So sorry about your food poisoning! That is NO fun whatsoever. 🙁

    1. LOL. Yeah I say that museum while walking around. The Spaniards REALLY love their jamon. Did you visit it?

      1. Despite the name, it is actually a small chain of restaurants, and they are THE BEST! There are at least 3 in Madrid – our favourite one was in Plaza Mayor. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that sometimes during our 4 days in Madrid, we went there 3 times per day (breakfast, tapas+beer, more tapas+beer).

        The trick is to go in to the bar area – prices are cheaper and very reasonable there. Jamon, queso, calamares, canas of beer … all great!

        BTW, thanks for all you do – love your work!

          1. Yeah I’m glad too that you stay consistent with your blogging efforts. We need more “side hustle millionaire” female bloggers online just as successful as you 🙂

  2. Awww man! Sorry about that. Food poisoning is THE worst!! We got so sick in Thailand a few years ago from a really nice hotel where we had met friends for dinner. We’re off to Portugal next weekend to eat ourselves silly! Someday we’ll get to Madrid but when we do we’ll be sure to steer clear of the inafamous seafood intestinal cleanser meal! 😬😬

    1. Yeah, forcible intestinal cleaning is rarely good 😛 I wonder why it is always the nice hotels and restaurants? So weird. Never got sick from a street stall but like you, my friend also go sick from an expensive restaurant in SE Asia. Another got sick at a 5 star hotel in Panama.

      Hope you enjoy Portgual next weekend! I’m still dreaming about the Pastel de natas (we ate it everyday for breakfast for a whole month and still didn’t get sick of it!)

  3. So sorry for the food poisoning, it’s the worst! Bad muffins at Niagara on the lake (the blueberries) and I brushed my teeth in tap water in Nicaragua (not wise). I still remember resting my cheek on the cold bathroom stall………glad it was a great experience otherwise
    ; )

    1. Yikes! I didn’t know bad muffins could get ya. Only time I ever got sick from fruit was because of the contaminated ice it was stored in.

      Yeah, gotta becareful with tap water in central america–though we’ve never had problems with teeth brushing, as long as we don’t swallow.

  4. So sorry to hear about your food poisoning. I got to experience that while in Santiago, Chile. I think the culprit was some poorly washed green beans (cooked) on a beef sandwich. A friend traveling with us also got sick from the same sandwich. The worse part of the experience was that we had to get up early the next morning and get on a 6 hour flight to Easter Island. I was a zombie the first day at Easter Island but still managed to enjoy most of the sightseeing there.

    We went to Madrid over a decade ago in late November, so it was cold and rainy. The weather soured our experience a bit, so would like to go back at a different time of year.

    1. “we had to get up early the next morning and get on a 6 hour flight ”

      Yeesh! I probably would’ve missed the flight. I have no idea how you made it on to the plane.

      Madrid does get chilly, but it’s nothing compared to Toronto, so weather didn’t really bother us. I would say, if it rains, stick to the museums and indoor food halls.

  5. Raw seafood is for suckers! (too soon? 😉 ). Hate the stuff. I occasionally try it from time to time to make sure my tastes haven’t grown more refined with age. Nope – give me the california roll. The kind with the krab in it. Krab with a K. And if there is other seafood being served, it better be cooked!

    On our recent trip, we tried the churros con chocolate in the fancy renowned “El Moro” cafe in historic center of Mexico City. Big bummer. Small sizes, chocolate wasn’t that great, prices were moderately high (by Mexican standards), and service was super slow. It wasn’t bad but it reaffirmed by general disdain for the most celebrated restaurants. Fortunately it WAS Mexico and only set us back $1.25 for a trio of churros and a dipper of chocolate.

    Later on we had even better churros from a street vendor cooking them fresh. Then we had THE BEST churros from a different street vendor that brought them from somewhere else and had them for sale at a dinky little table next to a busy subway entrance. And they were 3 for USD$0.50 and huge! Price and apparent of quality had a strong inverse correlation with actual quality, taste, and texture in this case. 🙂

    I’m also glad to enjoy the journey of trying to find the best churros in Mexico and eliminate all the lackluster places along the way!

    1. On the plus side, you were only out $1.25 🙂 Love it when the quality and taste is inversely correlated with price (that happens in SE Asia also). Glad you enjoyed the churros!

      And yeah, I guess we screwed ourselves over with our love and raw seafood. Definitely not going to do that again for a while…at least until we visit Japan again.

  6. Wow! I actually lived in Madrid for a few months and never heard it was the food poisoning capital. Probably a good thing, too, because one of my favorite restaurants was a sushi place… if you ever end up back in Madrid try Sumo out! Maybe it will help you forgive the Madrid seafood after this bad experience.

    Question: For future frugal travel around Europe/the rest of the world do you two have a place on the site for recommendations? Not recs like “visit Florence!” but more like “the Michelangelo piazza in Florence gives you a gorgeous panoramic view of the city, PLUS a replica of the David statue you don’t need to pay to see”? My study abroad travel knowledge sure could come in handy.

    1. It’s not Madrid per se that’s the food poisoning capital–just that there’s been several cases of food poisoning in Spanish cities. Maybe it’s because tourists have a preference for raw season there, who knows.

      And no, we don’t currently have a place to track specific recommendations, but feel to send some to us and we’ll look into adding it for the future.

  7. I loved Madrid too! When I saw that depiction of the God Saturn eating his offspring at the Museo Nacional del Prado, I was so incredibly disturbed… There was no way I could leave the museum without buying the magnet for my fridge. Even now, it still gives me the shivers but I don’t for one second regret buying myself the souvenir!

    1. That painting gives me the creeps. I kind of view it the same way I view horror movies–don’t want to look at it, but can’t look away. *shudders*

  8. ack, food poisoning sucks!

    the bummer about raw seafood is that even if it was caught and handled *perfectly*, the bacteria, heavy metals, and parasites *normally* in seafood are not nice for humans… changing sea temps and pollution are making it even worse… if you’ve a strong immune system, hopefully a nasty bout of worshiping the porcelain goddess is all you get…
    for anyone with immuno issues, avoid at all costs

    and despite all the dangers…

    I still eat sushi sometimes

  9. Interestingly, Granada has “free” tapas (which are awesome). Then you notice that the drinks that the “free” tapas come with cost 1-2EUR more than they would normally…

    1. That’s pretty sneaky!

      We went to a place called El Tigre that had free tapas (massive portions) with drinks (4-5 Euros). Super good value but the taste was just so-so.

    1. Thanks, IM! Despite the poisoning, I still love Madrid and would go back in a heartbeat. (Lucky that you get to live there!) The food is just too good!

  10. Hey!
    This is my first comment on your blog but I’m a long time reader of it. I have to say that I’ve been living in Madrid for 10 years now, and I’ve never been through food poisoning here… actually that it’s not a common thing in Spain…
    Besides that, appart from El corte inglés in Callao, the other places you went are mostly made for tourists. You can find a lot of places in Madrid with better food (and churros) for way less money. If you both return to Madrid in the future, just give me a call and I’ll be glad to show you a few of them, and tell you how is like to purse FIRE in Spain.

    p.s. sorry for my english, I’m spanish…

    1. This is the first post I’ve commented on as well on here although I’ve been a long time reader. I hope 3 comments isn’t too much FIREcracker???
      My husband (from Spain) and I (from Germany) are trying to figure out the ways to FIRE in Europe. Would you be interested in getting in touch?

      Firecracker and Wanderer you bring people together through your site and your ideas. Thank you so much for sharing your experience!

  11. Yikes, sorry to hear about your food poisoning! It is a truly awful experience. I’m glad you’re all better now. And I had no idea Spain was the food poison capital of the world!!!

    Despite that fact, your take on Madrid has me keen on visiting that city again. I went to Madrid 15 years ago at the end of a backpacking trip, so I mainly rested and didn’t explore the city. And being a homesick 20-something North American, I ate a lot of McDonalds while in Madrid, which maybe in hindsight prevented food poisoning from ever happening to me. Next time in Madrid – all cooked tapas 🙂

    1. Yeah, me either. Though, maybe if I’d avoided raw seafood, I would’ve been okay.

      I would definitely recommend visiting Madrid. You should be fine as long as you stick with cooked tapas. The still think the city is amazing and you’ll have a great time!

  12. Go Veggie ( at least more often ).. our planet / climate change needs us to stop eating too much meat and its better for our heart etc ..

    I spend winters in India and the veggie food is great and in thailand ( your fave ) … meat is so 20th C

    1. You’d think veggies and fruits are okay, but we did get sick before from fruit before (it was stored in contaminated ice). So, I guess the trick is to eat stuff that’s cooked thoroughly to avoid getting sick again. Thanks for the tip!

  13. Hi FC,

    I wish you a speedy recovery. I believe that this is one of the circumstance in which one will encounter in the travel. Novethless, appreciate your effort in updating us through this post.

    WTK

  14. Tapas (or pintxos) in Madrid are ok, but there’s nothing like eating tapas in the Basque country, especially in San Sebastian. So good!

    I got sick in Madrid as well, the first time I went there many years ago. I thought it was due to the large amount of meats I was eating and the oil, but it could have been the seafood (the pulpo a la gallega may have been the culprit). Didn’t know about this fun fact you mentioned about Madrid, but now everything makes sense, haha!

    Glad you made it out ok though!

    1. Thanks, Carla. The good news is now I’m extra careful with raw seafood. At least I didn’t have to get on a plane the next day!

  15. Wow, I did not know that Spain was dubbed “the food poison capital of the world”. This Michelin article that you linked from the article is pretty scary! We will definitely watch for that as we start our slow travel journey to Europe in just a few months!

    (Similar to Justin (RoG), we’ve been to Mexico City & tried CCC at El Moro but we got better luck has we did not had to stay in line and they were pretty tasty for us.)

    1. Please don’t swear off the seafood in Spain. For me spanish food is just the best. I’m thinking of moving there (from Germany) just so I can eat tapas all day long 🙂
      Also, the food is so cheap if you know where to go (7€ for a menu including entree, main course, desert and coffee).
      Also don’t opt for Sangria but rather Tinto de Verano, it’s basically the same but prices differ a lot since Sangia is for the tourists.
      I love Spain and their food scene if you can’t tell, I would be so happy to tell you a couple of great places (also in Germany) that are not touristy and a very good deal.
      In general I hope you have a great experience over here in Europe!

    2. Awesome! Enjoy your travels throughout Europe!

      Did you get a chance to meet up with Justin while you guys were in Mexico?

  16. For us It was Sevilla. Hubby spent whole night near death after a dinner. I joked that Spanish Inquisition found out that he was a Protestant and they wanted to turn him (inside out).

    He wasn’t laughing.

  17. I’m so sorry to hear about your experience. I think the food in Spain is probably my favorite in all of Europe. I may be biased though since my husband is from Spain. Whenever we’re there we do nothing else but stuff our faces with fish and seafood… Luckily I’ve never had a similar experience.
    If you decide you’re ready to try seafood again Andalucia or Murcia are great places as well (I’m happy to recommend specific restaurants for fresh fish, octopus or mussels…).
    Also there is one very special (although pretty expensive) restaurant in Barcelona: Botafumeiro. Their mixed seafood platter is to die for, and I don’t mean that in a literal way 🙂

  18. I lived for a month in Madrid and never had food poisoning. I did not eat much seafood however. The worst food poisoning I had (like the one you describe) was in Orlando, Florida – it was either the seafood from a fusion Asian restaurant near our Airbnb or mysterious Asian platter from one of the restaurants in Disneyland. Who knows. I have never suffered like this in my life. Hope you are better!

    1. Thanks, Lola! Food poisoning sucks. I’m seriously scared of seafood now. Especially raw seafood and mussels in the shell.

  19. Mmmm… I love churros and thick hot chocolate. That was one of our favorite thing about Spain. Oddly, w weren’t impressed with the tapas when we visited in 2003. Maybe we were too young and just didn’t have a sophisticated taste bud yet. We’ll go back someday… I liked Sevilla best, though.

    1. I hear you, Joe. I was like that with tapas in Barcelona. I think it really depends on where you get them. Our recommendations came from locals this time, so it was much better. When we were in Barcelona, we went to either random restaurants or those recommended by the cruiseline, so it was way too touristy.

      Glad you enjoyed the churros though!

  20. Sorry to hear you got sick FireCracker, but I’m glad you lived through it to tell us your tale of woe!

    I’ve had food poisoning several times, and I agree it’s terrible! Not much you can do about it though. Some places just have better food handling standards than others.

    For example, in Japan I would never worry about eating seafood. Everything is kept super clean and well refrigerated. Extremely sanitary with high food standards.

    In other countries, maybe not so much…

    1. 100% agree on Japan. So good, so clean, never had to worry when we ate anything there. Can’t wait to go back!

  21. You probably didn’t have food poisoning from the seafood. It sounds like a dose of gastro, which is caused by a virus. It takes at minimum of 24 hours for symptoms to appear and it can come suddenly, so sudden you make the mistake of thinking it was from your last meal. Not so.

    1. It’s possible. However, given that we had both eaten raw seafood 6 hours before and got sick at exactly the same time with the exact same symptoms, it’s likely food poisoning.

  22. Today while enjoying jamón ibérico at a Spanish restaurant in west palm beach FL I read the section of this post comparing Serrano and Iberico to my wife. We laughed as the thin slices of pork melted away on our tongues….

    1. LOL. I’m a total jamón snob now. Whenever I see it, I’m like “ooh, is it iberico?” And if it’s Serrano I run away. Yes, I am the worst.

      Glad you’re enjoying it! 🙂

  23. Sorry you got so sick! That’s no fun at all. I’ve been fortunate enough to never really been poisoned, despite Mexican, Nicaraguan, Thai and Vietnamese street food, but my son got a nasty case of giardia from drinking the water in Nicaragua. He was three at the time and taking a shower. My wife told him “DON’T DRINK THE WATER!!!” and turned around and he was gargling with the shower water. He looked and her and went GULP with a big mouthful… We had to force feed him crushed pills coated in Hershey’s chocolate syrup for days when we got back to the US.

    We’re definitely heading to Spain in the future. The Iberico sounds amazing. I loved prosciutto Toscano in Italy, so I’ll need to do a head-to-head comparison sometime.

  24. By far my favourite part of food culture in Spain was the tapas culture you mentioned. Buy a drink get a tiny tapas for free. Drinking is cheap too to go with it!

    Order a 2 euro beer, get a tiny squid tapas.
    Order another beer get a tiny salad.

    I was torn about whether or not I was actually saving money by getting this free food with cheap drinks. In the end I chose to believe I was actively saving money by drinking in Spain… so I could keep drinking quilt free 🙂

    *sticks fingers in ears* lalalala I cant hear any arguments

    1. LOL. Cheers to that! We went to a place called “El Tigre” and they gave us a massive portion of tapas with a 5 Euro beer. Awesome!

  25. Madrid has the largest seafood market outside of Japan.

    I lived there from 2004-2008 and never once got sick, nor did I know anyone who did. Sorry it happened to you but hey, I got sick off of oysters at an upscale place in Santa Barbara so you never know.

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