a VirtualTourist member from Gdynia
I have a problem with food while in Spain (and France, too). Tapas are excellent for diabetic, who have to eat small amounts of food but many times a day, but not for me. From my point of view, sorry if I offend someone, but the people tend to drink just coffee in a hurry in the morning, eat little if any during the day and they dine late at night. Sometimes, I can observe that eating out - not sitting in a café and sipping a drink or coffee - during the day can be treated as an odd thing. But I’m quite opposite. I eat quite big breakfast, eat the main meal during the day 3 – 5 p.m. and enjoy something light in the evening. I hope that Bilbao could be culturally different (or I may be wrong) and it’ s much colder so people have different habits of eating out. However, the climate can be misleading in this matter, because I could observe that continental breakfast, light lunch (sometimes sandwiches or salad) eating out at 12 or 1 p.m. characterize Scandinavian nations as well, which puzzled me much. I could die of hunger living there and working hard without hot, big dinner eaten during the day. Of course I am forced to go by without it here in my country till 5 p.m. (at 6 I am able to kill someone because of anger and hunger).
Another things are the names of dishes. Can you recommend something nourishing for lunch. Going to restaurant in Spain and not knowing Spanish can be very risky.
In Bilbao the bars serve "Pintxos" which are served morning, lunch, afternoon and night. These are a bit like tapas but there's nothing to stop you filling a plate with them at whatever time you want.
Here's a Telegraph article - telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink...
Generally speaking, the biggest meal of the day in Spain (including Bilbao) is eaten around 2 PM, and you will be able to get a three course meal at most any restaurant around that time. I don't know where you get the idea that Spaniards eat "little if anything during the day". Traditionally they ear a big dinner midday, take a siesta, you back to work at 4 or so, work till *, stop at a bar after work for some tapas or pinxtos and then have a relatively light meal around ten or 11 pm.
I never had a problem filling myself for breakfast when in the Basque region. Most of the hotels have a cafe/bar attached or there will be a place close by. Usually there will be five or six different "tortilla" sitting on the counter, the most common being made with potatoes, eggs and onions. Variations will include adding chorizo, ham, cheese, artichokes, green peppers, even tuna (although a tuna tortilla at 7 AM takes a special committment)....In my humble opinion, the Basque area has the finest eating in the world. I believe there is an extra Commandment in Basque liturgy.... "Though Shall Not Starve."
I think you have bad info about our habits. We don,t have taps everyday as our main midday meal. It is a special thing for weekends or to spend sometime with friends before the proper meal. I am sure that you can ask for fried eggs and bacon and ham and whatever you want for breakfast in most bars in bilbao, not many people will be having the same as you....but they will cook it for you. If you are in a hotel, most of them include„real food„ intheir breakfast.
Bilbao area is well known for its cuissine, and people there are proud of their good products, and big dishes....don,t be afraid.
Thank you each one who responded to my question. I've received excellent tips which dissipated my fears. Also, I should change my false notion on Spaniards' eating habits.