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Thursday, 16 January 2014 00:00

The Top Ten Scary Canarian Foods

Garlicky Chorizo de Teror from Gran Canaria Garlicky Chorizo de Teror from Gran Canaria

There's nothing scary about a plate of papas con mojo, except perhaps the next day's garlic breath. However, there are plenty of Canarian dishes that make visitors squeamish. Here's the top ten for you to try.

Erizos

They look like spiky inedible things, but erizos or sea urchins are considered a delicacy in Japan and China. Old people in the Canary Islands still send their grandchildren off with a bucket to collect them and then spend an hour cracking them open and eating the delicious roe (eggs) inside. They taste like oysters and are delicious fresh from the sea.

Posh seafood restaurants buy them to make the sauce for pasta and fish and even stuff the shells. While eating sea urchin may sound crazy it’s a good thing to do: The more we eat the less of them there are in the sea eating all the seaweed off the rocks.

Freshly Ground Gofio

Gofio is dear to the Canarian heart. They believe it makes them strong and healthy. 

It’s flour made from roasted wheat or maize and is either a nutty, nutritious treat or a mouth-clogging nightmare, depending on your point of view. 

Gofio has been the staple food of the Canary Islands for thousands of years and kids today are still weaned on mashed banana and gofio.

Chorizo de Teror

Gran Canaria’s famous bright orange sausage is like Spanish sobreasada but with a powerful garlic kick. It’s more like a pate in a sausage skin than a banger and is normally spread on bread.

To get the most out of a chorizo de Teror put it in a dish with vodka or white rum and set fire to it. The flames shrink the skin and render out some of the fat. this quick cook also knocks back the garlic (but only slightly).

Alex says: Don’t eat chorizo de Teror the day before you fly home as there is a good chance they won’t let you on the plane.

Buy chorizo de Teror from little shops and supermarkets. It comes in a string of sausages about four inches long and one (more than enough for a taste) costs less than a euro. 

Chuchangas

Chuchangas or caracoles are snails and that’s enough to put most people off straight away. However, Canarian snail stew is a rich and delicious dish that is worth tracking down in local restaurants. 

The snails sold in Gran Canaria are harvested in the wild after rain and fed on bran and herbs for a few days to make them taste better. Once cooked with tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic and some chorizo they lose their sliminess and taste great.

Don't eat the shells or the locals will laugh at you!

Lapas

Tasty lapas or limpets are a favourite Canarian seafood snack. They come in their own convenient little cooking pot and only need a couple of minutes under the grill. Served with green mojo and lemon juice limpets are a delicious if chewy snack. 

Carne de Cabra

Goats are pretty cute, but that doesn’t stop Canarians for cooking them up. Goat stew is a favourite dish up in the hills and is fantastic on a cold day. It has a strong taste a bit like lamb and should be melt-in-your-mouth tender. 

Morena Frita

Morena frita is deep fried moray eel complete with skin and bones. It’s fatty and fiddly to eat and not that rewarding.

Alex says: Moray eels don’t taste great and are worth far more alive as Scuba diving attractions than they are on a plate. However, moray eels are common and a traditional food in the Canary Islands, so feel free to try them.

Carajacas

If you love liver, then you’ll like carajacas. If offal isn’t your thing then keep reading the menu.

Carajacas are thin strips of cow or pig liver marinated in garlic, chili and parsley and then stewed. They can be tender and delicious or tough and horrible depending on the bar. 

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