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Catalans prefer paella over 'tapas,' sushi, or pizza

Most representative Catalan dish is 'escudella,' overtaking 'pa amb tomàquet,' says poll

A cook preparing a paella in Amposta on October 1, 2015
A cook preparing a paella in Amposta on October 1, 2015 / Anna Ferràs
Gerard Escaich Folch

Gerard Escaich Folch | @gescaichfolch | Barcelona

April 5, 2023 04:26 PM

Paella is not considered Catalan cuisine, but 21% of residents consider it their favorite dish according to the latest poll by the CEO, the Catalan government-owned survey agency, whose findings were made public on Wednesday.

The survey shows that Catalans will choose rice or paella ahead of pasta or even 'tapas,' which would be chosen as a first option by 15% and 12% of the responders respectively. 

The poll surveyed 2,000 people between February 27 and March 24.

On the other hand, pastries and sushi are the least favorite dish for Catalans, as both are the preferred option of only 1% of the population. 

One of the other surprises is that 9% of Catalans consider vegetables as their favorite plate, much higher than the 4% who would choose pizza or the 6% of fish and seafood.

The poll also asked about meat and chicken (12%), soups (9%), and lasagna (4%).

But while pasta and fideuà are the most popular among people aged under 50 years old, paella takes the lead for those over 50.

Pizza, on the other hand, does not seem to be tasty at all for those aged 64 and over, as no one voted it as their favorite.

Escudella over pa amb tomàquet

While many internationals are aware of pa amb tomàquet tomato bread, only 14% of Catalans believe it is the most representative plate in Catalan gastronomy.

In fact, escudella takes the lead, with 20% the respondents considering it the most well-known. 

Escudella is typically a Christmas Day meal consisting of a soup cooked after boiling meat, legumes, and vegetables, such as potato, onion, carrots, and other vegetables.

After escudella, locals then consider sausages and beans (17%), pa amb tomàquet, and then calçots (13%), as the dishes most representative of Catalan cuisine.

Calçots, long-green onions, even have their own celebration named 'calçotades,' and Catalan News went to one in Valls on February 2022.

But Catalan gastronomy is not only savory, as there are also delicious sweet options such as 'crema Catalana,' which, as its name suggests, can be considered quite a traditional dish. Yet, only 5% of CEO poll respondents consider it representative enough.

Other traditional dishes include cannelloni (5%), mainly eaten on Saint Stephen's Day on December 26, fricandó (2%), escalivada (2%), and cargols a la llauna (snails), which 2% of the Catalan population considers to be the most representative dish of all of Catalan gastronomy.

To learn more about these plates, listen to our Filling the Sink podcast episode published on October 29, 2022 to discover a guide to genuine Catalan grub!