10 Typical Expressions from Malaga for Foodies

This blog post was originally posted on April 4th, 2016 and was updated on June 22th, 2017

10 Expressions every foodie needs to know before visiting Malaga!

Beer and a tapa of olives in Malaga

When I first landed in Andalusia to study abroad during my junior in college, I thought I knew Spanish. I had been learning the language since I was 13 years old and I was majoring in Spanish literature. I was there to learn about the food and the culture, but the grammar, I had that under control. Little did I know that there was a whole host of typical expressions from Malaga for foodies. In Spain they call it speaking in “Andaluz.” And if you are anything like me, the first words you need to learn have to do with food! Check out the basics for ordering at a restaurant in Malaga. (Or at least knowing what the heck the waiter is asking!)

Echame una mijilla más de…

Ths word “mijilla” in Málaga and 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 are talking about food you might ask someone to give you a little more (especially if what you are eating is home made!) At my in-laws house, I almost always ask my mother-in-law to “echame una mijilla mas de…” whatever we are eating. This Malaga expression is quite useful when the dish is tasty!

Un pitufo

This is one of my favorite typical expressions from Malaga and it refers to a sandwich made with a miniature loaf of bread. You can order a “pitufo,” which literally translated means “smurf” (maybe it is called that for the small size.) This can be eaten for breakfast along with a coffee and orange juice. It is also a common late afternoon snack or “merienda.” You can have your pitufo with olive oil and tomato, with ham, with butter and jam, and basically anything in between. Served at all bars, if you order a “pitufo” instead of toast, you will sound like a local.

Un mitad (un sombra, un nube)

In Malaga we have a unique way of ordering coffee. We are referring to the amount of milk vs. coffee. You can have your coffee without milk, half and half (un mitad), or with more milk than coffee (un sombra) or only a splash of coffee to your milk (un nube). Check out our post on all the different ways to order a coffee in Malaga. These Malaga expressions are essential if you want to get the right cup of joe!

Qué pechá de comida

This Malaga expression means, “Wow there is a lot of food!” The word “pechá” is typical of Malaga and it dates back to the tradition of people who were 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 “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 him some tapas quickly.

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! 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). A handy phrase to have when traveling on the Costa del Sol what with the number 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 typical Malaga expression refers to any restaurant that is located right on the beach. A term used throughout Spain, in Malaga it is generally a place that you go to eat fried fish or “espeto.” Speaking of which, an “espeto” is a skewer, and in Malaga it is often a sardine skewer roasted over a pit of coals.

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, in the summer, the “siesta” is a way of life. After lunch, when it is so warm outside, the best thing you can do (if you don’t have to go back to work) is take a nap.

If you are a foodie visiting Malaga, don’t forget to join us on a food tour! We will show you the ropes from a local’s point of view, trying traditional foods and tasting interesting local wines. And yes, we will make sure you learn the lingo too!

4 Comment

  1. I LOVE this! Eating in Spain is such a treat!

  2. […] a great post by Devour Malaga Food Tours about typical words and expressions used in the context of food in the Malaga province of […]

  3. […] 10 Typical Expressions from Malaga for Foodies […]

  4. […] their fresh fish – and the rest! Many of the vendors speak a little bit of English, but a few words in the local language will always be […]

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