fast food outlets

   Street vendors traditionally provided "food to go" in busy urban thoroughfares and at festive events, and they still do, especially selling churros (deep fried dough shaped into ribbed sticks, coated with sugar), roast chestnuts, garrapiñadas (syrup-coated dry roasted almonds) or perritos (hot dogs), mostly regarded as snacks rather than proper food. Demographic changes during the 1950s and 1960s saw the emergence of a primarily urban population whose hectic lifestyle demanded catering outlets specializing in promptly served, in-expensive fare. Snack bars and cafeterías started to fill the niche in the market, offering fixed menus of platos combinados all day. Whereas tapas, small portions of food consumed at the bar with drinks, tend to be ordered when socializing with a group of people and are normally shared, the plato combinado is an individual one-dish meal consisting of meat, fish or eggs, vegetables and potatoes or rice.
   American-style burger bars (hamburgueserías) and pizzerías started to appear in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but the presence of large catering multinationals was not evident until the mid-1980s. While they command a good share of the fast food market, especially among teenage consumers, the Spanish taste for bocadillos (filled baguettes), tapas and other traditional dishes has offered opportunities for small local businesses to evolve (bocaterías), especially those that provide a delivery service. Spaniards may like their food served fast, but they do not normally like to consume it on the hoof; even if there has been a growth in the take-away sector, which only started in the late 1980s, most people will consume the food at home. Some restaurants offer the possibility of ordering full traditional meals (e.g. paella, roast lamb or seafood), including wine, and having them delivered.
   RAMÓN PARRONDO

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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