If you are studying in Madrid you certainly cannot miss a visit to its most famous and the tastiest of all museums in Madrid; el Museo del Jamon or the Ham Museum, which is actually a typical Spanish tapa bar full with Spanish hams and therefore called the museo el jamón. This chain of bars in Madrid became famous for having appeared in Pedro Almodóvar’s 1997 film Carne Trémula (Live Flesh), and is equally beloved by first-time visitors to Spain for the sight of its hundreds of hams hanging from the ceiling, Museo del Jamón is definitely a local landmark not too miss.
It’s a great place to sample jamón serrano and the higher quality jamón iberico but you can also try other snacks they have on the menu like croquetas de cabrales which are fried croquettes filled with a typical Asturian cheese or their excellent croissant mixta, a weird but great tasting combination of a sweet croissant combined with excellent ham and cheese. The Museo del Jamon is always bustling with people stopping in for a coffee and a bocadillo or spanish sandwich, tasting some of the free tapas accompanied with a caña (Spanish small beer) or to pick up a whole ham or order some packaged ham.
The best thing to do while visiting the Museo is to stand at the bar and order your food and drinks directly from the waiters. The bar can get packed at times so you might have to squeeze in to place your order and make sure you will get noticed as normally the general rule is who first shouts the loudest gets drinks first too. It is still a great bargain though because most of the dishes are fairly cheaply priced and with each drink that you order you will always get a free tapa as well, normally some chorizo or some slices of salchicha (cured sausage). For two bocadillos de jamon and two cañas you will spend less than 6 euros but you can also try other very reasonable priced dishes they have on the menu like migas con huevo (fried chorizo with bread and egg) or ensalada rusa, a rich potato salad with mayonnaise, tuna and vegetables.
The museum is great place to get the overall feel of the city and the lifestyle of the Madrileños and captures very well the essence of living in Spain while you try to order your caña at the bar shouting louder than your neighbour. It is also a great place to develop your Spanish ham knowledge further by trying out the different kinds of jamon and lomo (an inferior type of ham) they have on the menu. They also have a shopping counter where you can buy packaged jamon to take home and they also offer vacuum sealed packages of ham in case you want to take some jamon to your own country. There are 5 different Museos del Jamon in Madrid, the three most centrically situated are on the Gran via no. 72, Carrera de San Jerónimo 6 and Plaza Mayor no.18.