Summer Table with variety of Spanish Tapas Food Plates
The Expensive Spanish Delicacy That Will Make You Look Twice
By Heidi Chaya
Noodles are found throughout world cuisines, and for a good reason — they're comforting, affordable, mild, and versatile enough to suit an endless variety of dishes from soups to stir-fries. There are many trendy noodle alternatives like zucchini noodles, but one expensive Basque delicacy masquerading as a hearty pasta dish might just make you do a double take.
The dish, called angulas, consists of elvers or baby eels that are slender, silvery-white, and similar in appearance to udon noodles. Elvers taste about as mellow as their starchy counterparts, so they’re often tossed in with fried garlic and hot peppers; they’re alleged to have very little taste or smell, seemingly prized for their slick, somewhat crunchy texture.
Elvers are one of the most expensive foods in Spain, selling for hundreds of dollars a pound, with supply chain stressors like the COVID-19 pandemic only increasing prices. An alternative, gulas, is made from surimi (imitation crab), and it’s an incredibly popular substitute that you can cook like real eels or use them in crab salad, soups, stir-fries, and sushi.