Head to the fish and seafood section of any decent Tenerife supermarket and you’ll be faced with one of the most colourful cast of characters you’re likely to encounter outside of Finding Nemo.
One of the most vibrant on display is vieja, a very popular fish in the Canary Islands; some claim that it is in fact the Canarios’ favourite fish.
It’s no real surprise that vieja, or parrot fish as it’s known because of its beak-like mouth, is such a highly regarded local speciality. As well as having eye-catching looks it’s seriously tasty. I’d put it right up alongside mackerel as one of my favourite of fishes. It doesn’t have an overpowering flavour, but it is distinct.
Vieja comes in a number of guises in fish restaurants across Tenerife. However, less is more when it comes to cooking fish and perfectly grilled vieja is a revelation. It doesn’t look particularly sophisticated, if you don’t like fish to came with the head and tail still attached it might not be for you, but one taste is all that it takes to reveal why it’s the number one choice for many Canarios.
The best specimen I’ve had to date was in Tasquita de Min beside the harbour in Puerto de la Cruz where it’s almost impossible to get a seat on a sunday as it’s packed with well-to-do locals. It was simple but sublime.
Jack is co-owner, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites plus lots of other things. Follow Jack on Google+