The Spanish take on bar food can be a wholesome treat.


Tapas come in many varieties. From deep fried calamari rings to grilled asparagus, the Spanish bar snacks are meant to please a wide range of palates.

Singapore has no lack of tapas bars too. In fact, the tapas experience is very much in sync with the local dining culture, said Mr Eduardo Ortega, manager of Binomio, a Spanish restaurant at Tanjong Pagar.

Mr Eduardo Ortega, manager of Binomio. Photo by: Jonathan Lee

Likening Spanish tapas to Chinese dim sum and Japanese sushi, which are also served in small portions and great varieties, Mr Ortega said the tapas culture is “on the same frequency with the way of life in Singapore”.

“It’s about encouraging people to come together to share the food at the table,” said Mr Ortega as he emphasized the “social” nature of the tapas dining experience.

Derived from the Spanish word “tapar”, which means ‘to cover’ or lid, tapas are served free-of-charge when bar patrons order their drinks in most bars in the Southern European country. Some believe this practice came about as early as the 1600s in an attempt to stem the number of drunkards. The light appetizers should help slow down the effect of alcohol.

If you’re not into tapas bar-hopping, the humble delight can be made in your own kitchen as well.


Here’s a delicious and nutritious recipe from Mr Ortega:

Gambas Al Ajillo [Spanish-style garlic shrimps]

Gambas Al Ajillo. Photo by: Melanie Koh



6 thinly-sliced garlic cloves

500g de-shelled shrimps

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 ½ tsp sherry vinegar

2 tbs chopped fresh parsley leaves

½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

1 pinch of salt

Sliced whole-wheat sourdough bread (optional)



  1. In a skillet over medium heat, put in the extra virgin olive oil, pepper flakes and sliced garlic. Mix continuously for 1 minute until pale brown.
  2. Add in the shrimps to the skillet and constantly stir for 2 minutes until barely cooked through.
  3. Pour in the sherry vinegar, salt and chopped parsley into the pan while tossing to combine.
  4. Switch off the heat.
  5. Lay the shrimps on a bed of whole-wheat sourdough bread and drizzle the garlic infused olive oil. For a carbohydrate-free option, skip the bread altogether and serve the shrimps directly on a plate.


About the Author: Jonathan Lee


Jonathan is the perfect cross between an avid outdoorsman and a couch potato. Despite his ‘sizeable build’, Jonathan enjoys running away – from his responsibilities. He enjoys the simple things in life – a good book or good company. Writing has always been a love of his.