Basket of churros
The Cloudy Origins Of Churros, From China To The Spanish Mountains
From South African koeksister to Greek loukoumades, fried dough is popular the world over. When it comes to Spain’s churros, the fried treat’s origins are not so simple.
Some believe that churros originated in Spain, but others believe the iconic fried treat may have Arabic roots or is a derivative of Chinese youtiao.
According to legend, churros were created by Spanish shepherds looking for a bread alternative. They named the subsequent fried dough after the Churra sheep they herded.
According to experts, fried fritters similar to churros have existed in Europe since the 16th century, while similar fried foods existed in Moorish Spain in the 12th century.
Others believe the churro evolved as a variation on the Chinese "youtiao,” Cantonese for oil-fried devil, which was invented between the 12th and 13th centuries.
Some claim that when the Portuguese entered China in the 1500s, they introduced the rest of the world to the youtiao as the churro.
While youtiao and the churro are similar, some historians argue that churros are probably derived from fried doughs that have existed in the Mediterranean since the first century.