This blog post was originally posted on April 4, 2016 and was updated on June 22, 2017.
When you first land in Andalusia, you might think you know Spanish, especially if you’ve studied it before. Little do newcomers know that the dialect down south is one of the hardest to master, and then they go and throw in expressions that seemingly make no sense to complicate things.
But these expressions are well worth learning. Here in Malaga, they happen to have a lot to do with food. Here are some great expressions from Malaga for foodies that will have you sounding (and eating) like a local in no time.
1o Typical Expressions from Malaga for Foodies
1. Echame una mijilla más de…
The word “mijilla” in Málaga, and in much of Andalusia, means “a little bit.” Someone might ask you to move over a little bit “echate para allá una mijilla,” or if you’re talking about food, you might ask someone to give you a little more (especially if what you’re eating is homemade!) This Malaga expression is quite useful when the dish is especially tasty.
2. Un pitufo
This is one of the most fun typical expressions from Malaga. Though pitufo literally means “smurf,” in this case it refers to a sandwich made with a miniature loaf of bread. These are especially popular for breakfast along with a coffee and orange juice. It’s also a common late afternoon snack, or merienda.
So how do you eat it? It’s simple—however you want. You can have your pitufo with olive oil and tomato, with ham, with butter and jam, and basically anything in between. If you order a “pitufo” instead of toast, you will definitely sound like a local.
See Also: The top picks for breakfast in Malaga
3. Un mitad (or un sombra, un nube…)
In Malaga, there’s a unique way of ordering coffee that has to do with the amount of milk vs. coffee. You can have your coffee without milk, half and half (un mitad), with more milk than coffee (un sombra) or only a splash of coffee to your milk (un nube). These Malaga expressions are essential if you want to get the right cup of joe!
Learn More: The complete guide to how to order coffee in Malaga
4. Qué pechá de comida
This Malaga expression simply means, “Wow, there’s a lot of food!” The word “pechá” is common in Malaga and dates back to the tradition of people selling produce at the market. They would carry their wares against their chest (pecho in Spanish) and hence the term “pechá” came to mean a lot of something (in this case, food).
This term comes from the Spanish word desmayado. The best English translation would be “I’m so hungry I’m about to faint!” A person from Malaga isn’t just hungry, they are about to faint from hunger, and since it is very typical in Andalusia to shorten words, “desmayado” or “fainted” was shortened to “emmallao.” If you hear your Spanish friend say this, get them some tapas pronto.
6. El camarero me ha hecho el gato
This typical Malaga expression, literally translated, means “The waiter made me the cat.” Somehow, it doesn’t have the same ring to it in English! What it means is that the waiter is trying to trick you or cheat you. If you think you are being charged extra for something because you are seen as a tourist, you can tell the waiter to “not make you the cat” (No me hagas el gato). This is a handy phrase to have when traveling on the Costa del Sol among hundreds of tourists!
One of the simpler typical expressions from Malaga, chacina is the way a person from Malaga would refer to deli meat or cold meats like ham, salami or chorizo.
A moraga is a beach barbecue. The tradition started back in the 19th century when people began to catch fish in shallow water and then cook what they’d caught on the beach. Often accompanied by guitar music, this is a great way to enjoy eating grilled fish right on the beach with friends.
This word refers to any restaurant that is located right on the beach. Though used throughout Spain, in Malaga it’s generally a place that you go to eat fried fish or grilled espetos.
Learn More: Everything you need to know about eating espetos in Malaga
10. Estar sobao
In Malaga, estar sobao means to be tired or asleep. This is a good way to end the list, because, as anyone who has lived in Malaga (and Andalusia) knows, the siesta is a way of life in the summer. After lunch, when the heat is at its worst, the best thing you can do (if you don’t have to go back to work) is take a nap.
Still hungry? Here are the typical tapas in Malaga you definitely need to try.