Sunbathing, swimming in the sea and drinking cocktails are wonderful ways to spend the holidays, of course. But when you want to experience something completely unique in Tenerife, the time has come to discover the magic of guachinche.
What is a guachinche?
To define it in a few words, the guachinche refers to a place of traditional Canarian food. Often installed in garages and living rooms of private houses. These particular spaces are not usually decorated, nor do they have luxurious furniture. However, one thing must be clear: guachinches are very fun places where you can eat delicious and honest local food at incredibly cheap prices.
If you ever get to go, you will realize that they are always full of people, although most likely you will be the only foreigner. Of the experiences you will have in Tenerife, we assure you that this will undoubtedly be the most authentic.
Where does the name guachinche come from?
It is believed that the name guachinche comes from the English expression: “I’m watching you”. Around the 17th century, when wine production, especially in the northern part of the island, became strong, the owners of the vineyards would stand by the side of the roads offering samples of their harvest to the English merchants, hoping to obtain that his wine be exported to England.
Apparently, they said “I’m watching you” to the winegrowers, to make sure that the sample they were tasting really belonged to their vineyard. Obviously without understanding English very well, the locals coined the term guachinche over the years.
A place to taste the true local gastronomy
To accompany the wine, the winegrowers’ wives used to offer small portions of freshly cooked food, all of which evolved into what we know today as guachinches.
Typical dishes that can be found include carne fiesta (pieces of marinated pork), goat meat, ribs with potatoes, rabbit salmorejo (in a sauce of white wine and spices), potatoes with mojo (the traditional Canarian red and green sauces) and puchero (a selection of boiled vegetables and chickpeas with pork, chicken, chorizo, etc.).
Where to find them?
The main purpose of a guachinche is to sell wine, so they tend to be found around the most important wine-producing areas of the Island. These are mostly concentrated in the north of Tenerife and include Tacoronte, La Orotava, El Sauzal and Los Realejos. . You will also find a few in Güímar, on the way to the south of the Island.
Legally, guachinches are allowed to open for only a few months of the year. As we said above, their main purpose is to sell wine, so when the harvest is finished and there is no more wine available, they should –in theory- close their doors until next year.
4 keys to a genuine guachinche
There is usually a handwritten sign on a wall or a tree at the entrance that says “guachinche”.
There is no written menu or letter. In some cases there may be a blackboard with some dishes described on it.
You only have four or five options to choose from.
Everyone seems to be drinking wine.
We leave you some suggestions so that you can know and enjoy:
La Cofradía de la Punta – Punta de Hidalgo:
El Cubano – La Orotava
Las Cuevas de Chinamada – Anaga
La Finca – La Vitoria