When you think about authentic Portuguese food what springs to mind? What do you think are the top 6 Portuguese dishes that you need to try when visiting Portugal?
Portuguese food is simplistic yet boasts plenty of flavour. The Portuguese love good food and it shows in their authentic dishes. They emphasise local produce such as fish, meat (mainly pork), bread, herbs and spices. They also have an extensive variety of local wines and beverages.
Excited to see what some of these amazing dishes are? Here is list of the top 6 Portuguese dishes that you need to try.
Bacalhau (salted, dried codfish)
This is a very popular Portuguese seafood dish consisting of a very pungent smelling dried salted codfish. The reason for dousing the codfish in salt is to preserve it for a long time, especially in the sweltering Mediterranean temperatures. This is so that no bacteria or mould can grow on it. The most popular form of this dish found in most restaurants is Bacalhau à Brás (shredded cod and potato strips fried with onion and scrambled eggs). Other common dishes include Bacalhau à Lagareiro (roasted/grilled codfish with potatoes and red bell peppers) and Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá (this is a mixture of shredded cod, potatoes, caramelized onions, boiled eggs and olives).
Caldo Verde – Iconic Portuguese Soup (green broth)
This famous Portuguese dish is a soup which originated from the Minho region in the north or Portugal. The base of this soup is a dark green cabbage, which is highly unlikely to find beyond the Portuguese borders. Kale or collard greens are great substitutes for the green cabbage. It has a beautiful mix of textures and flavours including potato puree, salt, olive oil and slices of chorizo sausages.
Sardinhas Grelhadas (grilled sardines)
This fresh charcoal grilled seafood dish is one to get the taste buds going! Simply seasoned in salt and olive oil accompanied by baked/steamed potatoes and salad. This Mediterranean combination of flavours is a hit throughout Portugal. Lisbon hosts the most popular festival dedicated to sardines called the Santo António Festival (The Day of St Anthony) on the 12th & 13th of June every year.
Bifanas – The National Portuguese Sandwich
When you’re after a tasty sandwich in Portugal, this is the one to have! This sandwich has a filling of succulent marinated pork normally served in a fresh, crunchy white baguette. The marinade recipe is constantly changing, but the usual spices include white wine, paprika and garlic keeping the pork moist and tasty. In many restaurants you will be able to have the sandwich with chips. You can add different fillings into the sandwich such as egg, lettuce or tomatoes, but if you like it authentic then just stick to the pork.
This is an outstanding national Portuguese dish that has to be eaten when visiting Portugal. During the exploration days in the 15th & 16th centuries, the famous piri-piri dish came to light. The explorers travelled through coastal Africa and discovered many new spices, one of which was a small, spicy chilli pepper known as piri-piri or “African devil.” The chicken typically comes with chips and green salad. The flavour and heat from the piri-piri will leave you wanting more!
Pastel de Nata – Famous Portuguese Dessert
This list wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t have this sweet treat in it. Although not a savoury dish, this tiny, indulgent sweet treat in Portugal’s iconic dessert. It’s made of flour, butter (layered in the dough giving the shell its crispy and crackling texture), eggs and sugar. After baking, the tart is sprinkled with a list dusting of cinnamon. The Pastéis de natas originated in a Belém pastry shop in 1837. They were made by Monks who were expelled during a revolution in 1820 and began baking pastries to make money. Today, the only store that can sell these Portuguese pastries under the name Pastel de Belém is Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém. They only use the traditional recipe here. Over 10,000 tarts are made for visitors who visit from all over the world.
These top 6 Portuguese dishes are simply a drop in the Portuguese gastronomy ocean. There are so many more tantalising dishes, sweet treats and beverages that will definitely tickle your taste buds. You can find these dishes in all Portuguese restaurants throughout the country, so be sure to try them out when you next visit Portugal!
Seagull Circuit can take you to various restaurants that serve these delicious dishes, just make a booking with us and get in touch for more information.