14 Dec, 2023 @ 11:25
1 min read

The fascinating history of the humble ‘espeto’ – as skewered sardines typical of Spain’s Costa del Sol become ‘second most googled recipe in the world’ 

August 27, 2022: August 27, 2022 (Torremolinos, Malaga) The town of Torremolinos in Malaga is once again hosting the Contest of Espetos of the Costa del Sol that already goes for eight editions with this Saturday. It has been held on the beach of La Carihuela. This contest aims to highlight the gastronomic heritage of the art of espetar. The espeto is a unique Malaga icon in the world Remember that the espeto is a symbol of Malaga cuisine and typical dish of this coast, which consists of stringing fish (usually sardines) in a thin and long reeds that are then roasted on the same beach on a wood fire. (Credit Image: © Lorenzo Carnero/ZUMA Press Wire)

THE most-googled recipes in the world have been revealed and this popular Spanish fish dish comes in second. 

It was most searched by people in Brazil, Spain, Portugal, Argentina and Paraguay. 

The dish, commonly served in chiringuitos, is popular in countries with plenty of summer sun and coastline. 

According to Google’s ‘Year in Search 2023’ review, Espeto, a Spanish fish dish, is the second most googled recipe in the world. 

Typical of Malaga, the dish sees six fresh sardines, lightly seasoned with olive and oil, skewered and cooked over a pit of hot coals. 

Fresh espeto being prepared over hot coals Photo: Cordon Press

Dating back to the Phonecian times, the dish was a common snack prepared by fisherman before returning to sea. 

The fishermen would build small fires on their boats and carefully grill the fish over the hot embers. 

That’s why today you’ll see espetos being prepared over old fishing boats along the sand. 

The modern version of espeto is believed to come from King Alfonso XII, who, when introduced to the dish in 1884, bucked royal protocols and ate the fish with his hands, thoroughly enjoying his meal. 

Most people searched for espeto between June 11-17 this year, probably to enjoy the recipe while relaxing on the beach. 

It is believed the dish rose to popularity because cooking with skewers on barbeques is a common way to cook in Latin America. 

Espeto came in just behind bibimbap, a Korean rice dish, and was followed by papeda, an Indonesian fish soup. 

Close behind were New York’s ‘scooped bagels’, where bagels are hollowed out and filled with tasty toppings. 


Yzabelle Bostyn

After spending much of her childhood in Andalucia and adulthood between Barcelona and Latin America, Yzabelle has settled in the Costa del Sol to put her NCTJ & Journalism Masters to good use. She is particularly interested in travel, vegan food and has been leading the Olive Press Nolotil campaign. Have a story? email yzabelle@theolivepress.es

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