I didn’t have high hopes for Portuguese food. As the second last stop on my trip, I had heard amazing things about Portugal. The architecture, the people…but the food? I didn’t really know much!
That was all about to change.
People I met in hostels were either on their way to or coming from Portugal. The route was very standard. Those who had come from Portugal provided endless recommendations and I am forever grateful. Trust the people that you meet travelling, as they have THE BEST advice. So without further ado, a (somewhat) definitive list of the foods to try in Portugal:
This is basically what I would describe as the best drunk food ever, but is actually a delicacy of Porto. Francesinha is basically a toasted sandwich with three or four different types of meal inside. It is then topped with melted cheese and a fried egg, followed by a sauce (gravy) made of meat and beer. Usually served with fries. Is your mouth watering yet? I tried it from two separate places and both were delicious but completely original. Yum!
Bifana is a type of pork roll which you add a type of mustard sauce to. The pork is cooked in a pan that looks like a paella pan and it’s soft and delicious. The best thing about this meal? It won’t break the budget, as Bifana generally only costs between two and four Euros! McDonalds has even cottoned on to the delicacy that is Bifana. What’s is called? McBifana…of course!
3. Pasteis de Nata
The original Portuguese Custard Tarts is said to have originated in the town of Belém, just outside Lisbon. The original recipe is said to remain a secret however you can find these tarts at most places around Portugal. If you get a chance to try the originals though, do it and you won’t regret it. Apparently, in the middle of summer they sell up to 30,000 a day and the queue is long. However we queued for two minutes and the tarts were freshly baked!
4. Green Eggs
I don’t have a picture of this and unfortunately I didn’t get to try them, but to my understanding they are deep fried eggs stuffed with ham and herbs. Yum!
There are so many different pastries in Portugal, and each region has their own. Half of the fun is trying them and they’re all very cheap (and sugary!)
Self Explanatory. The only place that is legally allowed to sell Port under the name “Port” is Porto – go figure. It’s delicious and there are lots of tours running to visit local Port makers. They also take walk-ins if you don’t want to book a tour! The tour I did was with Porto Walkers and cost 20 Euros and included seven glasses of Port!
7. Kale, Potato and Chorizo Soup
Europeans love their meat, and Portugal makes epic dishes with lots of slow cooked meat that falls apart in your hands…
Like most places in southern Europe, Portugal has a lot of fresh seafood and it’s usually cooked to perfection. Check out this delicious grilled Octopus dish:
How could I write an article about Portugal without mentioning Bacalhau. Bacalhau is Cod. Cod. Literally just a regular, everyday sort of fish that the Portuguese happen to be obsessed with. They have over 1000 different dishes made with Cod, but here’s the funny thing: They don’t actually fish Cod off Portugal. Portugal is the largest importer of Cod in the entire world!
I was talking to an awesome girl who worked at my hostel and asked for a recommendation for the best Bacalhau de Natas (Cod with Cream…kind of in a Bechamel sauce). “My mum’s house, but this place does it okay,” She replied, pointing to a restaurant on my map.
I was back at the reception later that day with another question and she invited me to lunch on her day off. Whilst I didn’t get photos of her mum’s cooking, I can confirm that it was absolutely delicious and it was so lovely to be invited over by someone I barely knew to share an incredible meal!
Portugal is such a wonderful country. The people are friendly. The sights are amazing. And the food? Well the food, I can confirm, is delicious!
Also published on www.foodpigs.com!