When visiting a new country, trying the local food is usually high on the agenda with Spanish food being no different. From tapas to paella to even a calamari sandwich there are endless choices to try and devour! The best foods you must try in Spain are all delicious and available throughout the country. We’ve…
8 Portuguese Foods and Drinks You Must Try
Find out all you need to know about the best Portuguese food and drinks before your trip.
Food in Portugal is so rich in seafood that most of its iconic dishes contain freshly caught fish or crustaceans in one way or another. It also features the best of Mediterranean cuisine with a significant amount of olive oil and greens. Learn about the exquisite dishes and desserts in Portugal with our Portuguese food guide before you start exploring the winding streets filled with must-visit restaurants and eateries. Before you arrive, also keep in mind these Portuguese food tips:
Must-Try Portuguese Foods
Here are the top dishes of the Portuguese food scene that will help you eat like a local:
Portuguese food is famous for its maritime history and wealth of seafood, combining fresh products with the main ingredients of the Mediterranean. Grilled sardines is one of the dishes that hails the cuisine. You will see fresh sardines cooked on open-fire grills on the street almost everywhere. If you wish to eat sardines like the Portuguese, hold the whole fish on both sides and nibble from the side. Lisbon even has a festival celebrating sardines, where you will find the best dishes.
Cataplana de Marisco
The star dish of the Algarve region of Portugal, cataplana de marisco is the sea stewed and served on a plate. Locals cook it in a cataplana, which means copper pan in Portuguese. Prawns, clams, fish, and shrimp blend in a tantalizing mix of their own juices and white wine. Locally grown veggies like onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers accompany the seafood in the clam-shaped pan.
The most famous dish in Portugal will greet you in every restaurant, eatery, and street food stall. Bacalhau is dried and salted cod, another seafood highlight that is almost symbolic to Portugal. The ways of cooking and serving it are endless—you can taste it with scrambled eggs, onions, and potatoes, or boiled with vegetables. You will even find recipes with cream and cheese. Give different varieties a try in Portugal’s best restaurants.
This time, seafood leaves its place to the curated meats of Portugal and offers a feast for your tastebuds in Francesinha, or the “Little Frenchie”. It is a street food staple and the pride of Porto, where it first entered the Portuguese food scene. The name comes from its French origins. Ham, sausage, steak, or roast beef goes between in thick slices of bread, which are dipped in tomato sauce and melted cheese. You will find french fries complementing its golden color in many restaurants. Some recipes include a fried egg on the top.
Peixinhos da horta
If you are a vegetarian, this one is for you. Peixinhos de horta literally means little fish in the garden, and surprisingly it doesn’t contain fish or any other seafood. Still, it is a favorite quick bite and one of the most traditional Portuguese food classics. It contains vegetables covered in bread crumbs and deep-fried until golden. It has been cooked in Portugal for centuries and Portuguese sailors even introduced it to Japan at one point in history. These fried vegetables are perfect snacks as you enjoy your ice-cold beer watching the Atlantic sunset.
Pasteis de nata
Last but not least, pasteis de nata is the crown jewel of food in Portugal. They are pint-size tarts with a custard of egg yolks, cream, and lemon zest, baked until they gain a slightly burnt golden-yellow crust. Even the looks of them is art, and one bite will be enough to delight you. Pay a visit to the historic pastries of Lisbon and try them with powdered sugar or cinnamon on the top.
Must-Try Portuguese Drinks
The iconic port wine of Porto is romantic, outspoken, and nostalgic all at once. It is the age-old fortified wine made with the grapes of the legendary Douro Valley. It has a sweet flavor that distinguishes it from the other fortified wines of Portugal. Enjoy a glass with a cheese board or some freshly baked pasteis de natas.
The slightly sour ginja is a cherry liqueur of Portugal that you won’t be able to leave behind. It comes in small shot glasses in cafes and bakeries. A piece of the ginja berry is placed at the bottom of the glass. In some places, you will find versions of it in glasses made of chocolate.
Read More on Portuguese Food
You can’t say you’ve visited Portugal if you haven’t eaten a pastel de nata! So, it’s a crucial question for any foodie when in Lisbon to be asking which pastelaria (pastry shop) sells the best nata. Reigning as Portugal’s coveted national dessert, you’ll discover a pastelaria on every street corner. With plenty of competition and…
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