The whole world calls them "churros", these deep-fried strips of dough that are eaten for breakfast or a snack, preferably dunked in hot chocolate. However, in Spain, these fat greasy long fingers are called "porras". And the place to be in Madrid to try these is Chocolateria San Gines, tucked behind an alley just off Calle Arenal.
|follow the sign to Chocolateria San Gines|
Open since 1894, Chocolateria de San Gines is open round the clock, just in case you feel like a midnight snack. Immensely popular among locals and tourists, there is plenty of outdoor seating but like those in a hurry, I stood at the long, marble counter inside and ordered a "chocolate con porras" (3.50 euros, two strips) for a late breakfast.
The cup of hot chocolate was just to my liking, not cloyingly sweet at all. (A local I met at a tapas bar mentioned a preference for a competing chocolateria, due to its sweeter chocolate, but the name of the establishment esapes me).
While busy dunking my porras and biting into it, I could peek inside the kitchen where their skinnier counterparts, called churros (this is getting confusing), were being dunked in a huge fryer in long strips, then cut into shorter straws as they came out. These thinner strips came four to an order, and below is a visual (taken at Mercado San Miguel), to illustrate the difference.
If hot chocolate doesn't tickle your fancy, most locals simply dunk their fat or skinny greasy fix into their cafe con leche, and that seems to work splendidly as well. Perhaps I will find out for myself tomorrow. Or tonight.