Everybody knows that a big part of travelling is about trying local dishes especially if you are a foodie like myself. Portugal is no exception and can offer you some really unusual and tasty gastronomical experiences.
Today I bring you 10 Portuguese Foods that you should not miss if you visit Portugal:
Yes, you saw that right. Snails are a big delicacy here in Portugal and we love them with some toasted bread and a nice cold beer. But there is a catch to this dish, you should only eat them on summertime or more precisely on every month that doesn’t include the letter R in the name. So that leaves with May, June, July and August. You will still find some at the beginning of September but don’t go more far than that.
Sardinhas Grelhadas (Grilled Sardines)
This is one of the 7th wonders of Portuguese Gastronomy. Is as simple as it goes, grilled sardine seasoned with salt. The difference here, is the quality of our fish which is internationally recognized since the 16th Century. If you want to eat it the fishermen’s way, just put the sardine on top of a slice of bread and eat the whole thing, bones and all. Also if you want to visit one of the best Portuguese markets with the freshest sardines have a look at our full daytrip in Setúbal/Arrábida: https://www.inarrabida.pt/en/tour/arrabida/
Polvo à Lagareiro (Octopus)
One of my favorites. It’s octopus. First, we boil it, then it’s grilled and finally drizzled with a generous quantity of olive oil. The name comes from the Portuguese word lagar which is the place where we separate solids from liquids, like olives for olive oil (azeite) or grapes for wine. Curious fact: did you know the octopus have 3 hearts?
Orelha de Porco (Pig’s ear)
It’s a cold salad and yes, it’s made with pig ears. I am not a big fan but my girlfriend loves it. The ears are boiled and then chopped up and finally seasoned with olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper and coriander.
Bacalhau (codfish in all forms and shapes)
Well, this is a very a general one for a very specific reason. In Portugal we have more than a hundred ways of cooking codfish and all of them deserve a try. It’s not common to see fresh codfish being sold at our markets because generally they are salted. Back in the days -Portuguese used to be huge explorers and we had to preserve our food somehow for the big journeys on sail, so salt was the answer and codfish was one of the fishes that would last longer this way. Some of my favorite bacalhau dishes are: bacalhau à bras, bacalhau com natas, bacalhau spiritual and pasteis de bacalhau.
Caldeirada à Portuguesa (Portuguese stew)
This is a perfect one for the cold days. A stew with several varieties of fish, potatoes, onions, tomatoes and bell pepper. There is a special place where I like to get these ingredients and it’s on the market of Livramento in Setubal with the Carmo Family. They specialize in selling the ingredients for this dish and they have been doing it for more than 40 years. If you want to know them or know more about this, join in one of our adventures here:
Choco Frito (Fried Cuttlefish)
This is Setúbal’s main dish. You probably tried calamares but this one is made with cuttlefish which is very similar to a squid. Cover it with flour, season it with garlic, salt, pepper and lemon and deep fry it. Goes along with a simple salad and French fries.
Known as the snakes of the sea. Here it’s a matter of taste, you can fry them, boil them, make a stew of it, you decide. Don’t be fooled by it’s looks and give it a try!
Sopa da Pedra (Rock Soup)
Don´t worry you won´t be eating actual rocks. This dish comes from a Portuguese legend originated in Almeirim, of a monk who used to walk around with a rock and ask for the condiments to make a rock soup. As you imagine it was not the rock that would make the dish, in fact, after finishing the soup he would wash the rock and take it again with him for the next meal. This soup has meat, beans, potatoes, coriander and whole bunch of different ingredients. Another perfect meal for the cold days.
Pasteis de Nata (Custard tarts)
I could not finish this list without incorporating the famous Pasteis de Nata. These ones don’t need a presentation. You can find them anywhere in Portugal but there is only one place where you can taste the original recipe. Pastéis de Belem serves thousands of locals and tourists every day in Lisbon and they are said to contain some secret ingredients that are kept a secret until nowadays. Marketing strategy? Well, I can´t say…but they sure are tasty!
I hope you enjoyed this list. To try some of these delicacies, you can join us in one of our tours or request your own tailored food experience. Make sure to check out: https://www.inarrabida.pt/en/tours and stay tuned!
See you on your next adventure!