“Portugal’s cuisine is as rich and varied as its landscape.”
Usually bread and olives. There may also be “broa”, which is cornbread.
Some restaurants will serve you cold salads (mainly octopus and cod fish), ham and cheese as an appetiser.
A Portuguese meal starts with soup and you will find many excellent varieties on offer.
The most commonly served soups are:
– Caldo Verde – A potato, onion and sliced cabbage soup served with chouriço and broa.
– Sopa de Nabiças – A creamed vegetable soup made of turnip tops.
– Sopa de Peixe – Fish soup, some soups can be as rich as a main course. They commonly include seafood amongst their ingredients.
Bacalhau (cod) – the most traditional fish in Portugal, where 1/3 of the world’s cod catch is consumed. We use salted codfish and prepare it in many different ways. You will find it in soup, cold salads, hot salads and with eggs, ham, cornbread, potatoes, rice… and always with plenty of garlic and olive oil.
We eat almost as much rice as Asians do. We serve plain rice as a side dish with most main courses. While, in the south, rice or potatoes are served as a side dish, in the north you will always get the two together.
Something else that we eat a lot of, whether grilled, fried, roast, boiled…
We suggest grilled fish – Dourada (bream) or Robalo (bass). It is better to choose a fish big enough for 2 as the small fish are often from farms.
You should also try the Cataplana de Marisco. The Cataplana is an item of cookware used to prepare Portuguese seafood dishes, popular on Algarve region.
We eat a lot of pork, veal, kid, chicken, duck and turkey.
Here are some of the dishes you might find on menus:
– Bifanas de Porco – These are very traditional and are a kind of fast food. Thin pork steaks, cooked in a sauce and then served in a sandwich.
– Cabrito Assado – This is kid roasted in the oven. Delicious and very typical in the north – Amarante;
– Posta Mirandesa – A very large veal steak from a Portuguese breed of cow. It is a little fatty but is very tasty. It is usually served grilled.
Cheese (queijo in Portuguese):
We have very good cheese. We suggest you try:
– Queijo de Azeitão – Azeitão is a cured cheese, of a buttery, pudding-like, semi-soft consistency, white or light yellow in colour, with few or no holes. Its taste has a mix of sour and salty with a continual herbaceousness. Good as an appetizer with red wine. This is a DOP cheese.
– Queijo da Serra – The cheese is entirely hand-made, in the literal sense of the term, as the curds are broken up by hand and not cut up with an implement as is usually the case. Very good as an after dinner cheese, with Port or red wine, grapes, marmalade. This is a DOP cheese.
– Queijo da Ilha or Queijo São Jorge – São Jorge is a Portuguese cheese from an island of the same name, located 900 miles from the west coast of Portugal and part of Azores archipelago. This is a DOP cheese.
– Requeijão – It can be eaten any time of the day. Very good with a slice of bread or as a dessert, toped with pumpkin marmalade of honey. They come from different parts of the country. Try the one from “Seia”.
Desserts and sweets:
Many Portuguese desserts are made with egg yolk and sugar and are known as ‘conventual‘ because they were traditionally made in convents. The nuns made the sweets using the yolks left over after they had used the egg whites to starch their habits.
There are many different types of conventual sweets and they are a great way to finish off a meal, particularly when accompanied by a glass of a full bodied red or port.
Some sweets you really should try:
– Pastel de Belém – Very famous and can only be bought from one shop in the Belém area. They are very good when eaten in the shop or right after you buy them.
– Pastel de Nata – Very similar to Pastel de Belém and found in almost every pastry shop.
– Pastel de Tentúgal – Very thin pastry with sweet egg cream inside.
– Ovos moles de Aveiro – Host-like wafer shaped into figures and filled with sweet egg cream. They will last for several days outside the fridge and go very well with port wine, after dinner.
– The delicious almond cookies, which dress up with bright colors and have various formats, are very similar to a type of candy that can be found in Tunisia and North Africa.
Portugal has good inexpensive wines.
Since there is such a wide variety, we suggest you consult The Wines of Portugal website, where you can get all the information you need and plenty of suggestions.
Feedback from our client about the Portuguese Gastronomy, after his Journey to Portugal tailor made by us:
“Overall Portugal has exceptionally good food. We even liked the very inexpensive walk in luncheon places where the office workers go. Cheap and good.“