21 Dec Five foods to try in Portugal
Like Spain, Portugal has a vibrant food culture. From the bounty brought in from the Atlantic each day to the fine wines of the Douro River Valley, most meals in this country will be joyous affairs.
When you sign up for a Lisbon food tour, ensure that you go out of your way to sample the following dishes.
(1) Caldo Verde
Begin your journey through the wonderful world of Portuguese cuisine with some Caldo Verde. An awesome starter, this light soup is a vegetarian-friendly treat when ham hock is left out of its preparation.
A standard pot is made with potatoes, kale or collard greens, and some olive oil & salt for flavour and seasoning. While it can be found on menus across the country, it is commonly consumed by locals as a side course during holidays and celebrations.
While there are plenty of modern restaurants in Lisbon and other major centres that offer excellent vegetarian and vegan compatible dishes, traditional Portuguese fare tends to be meat heavy. Alheira is no exception to this rule, as this sausage has been a beloved part of this country’s food scene since the end of the 15th century.
Introduced by Jews after being forced to convert to Christianity, this sausage allowed them to avoid eating pork while blending in with the rest of the population. Made from a variety of kosher meats like chicken, veal, or duck, it actually got part of its name from garlic, which is commonly used as a seasoning.
If you enjoy eating sandwiches at lunch, be sure to pick up a Bifana at some point. Commonly found in the northern city of Porto, this marriage of bread and meat is well-loved for its simplicity, as well as for its quality ingredients.
The slabs of pork steak that go in the middle spend hours simmering in a pot of spicy sauce – when a customer orders a sandwich, it is slapped between a white bread roll, freshly baked that morning.
This hearty meal often turns into a love at first taste situation, making leaving Porto tough for avid foodies.
Have no shame when it comes to comfort food? If this describes you perfectly, don’t leave Portugal without having some Francesinha. Another creation of Porto, this beautiful mess of a sandwich contains slices of steak, ham, sausage, and Edam cheese wedged between two slabs of bread.
That’s not all – this already decadent creation is then coated in a spicy tomato sauce and topped with a fried egg. Served with fries on the side, this is a perfect dish to have on your cheat day (who are we kidding, though – nobody diets on holiday).
(5) Portuguese Egg Tarts
Finish your day off with Portugal’s signature sweet treat – Portuguese Egg Tarts. Originating in Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon, this dessert was invented when its cook decided to turn leftover yolks (egg whites were used for starching clothes) into a new dessert.
Comprised of custardy egg yolks, sugar, and cinnamon, you will struggle to not over consume these bite-sized treats.