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A word of obscure origin describing a set of small dishes; a way of eating; and a way of life, all arising from the Spanish habit of eating the evening meal very late, and a predisposition towards eating while drinking. Whole streets in Spanish cities are dedicated to tapeando, or 'tapasing', which is to stroll with friends and family from bar to bar, nibbling at little plates of delicacies while drinking chilled dry sherry, or tiny glasses of beer. The object of tapas is to whet the appetite, not satiate it: the main meal is yet to come. So popular has the idea of tapas become, it has spilled over from the pre–dinner snacks to become, especially in large cities, lunch. Regional specialities abound.