Life in Portugal revolves around food, which is why Portuguese cuisine might be one of the tastiest things that you have ever tasted. Filled with robust flavours that characterise the regions in this beautiful country, you are in for a taste sensation when you visit a Portuguese restaurant. Get ready to expand your horizons as we teach you all about this vibrant cuisine and the delectable treats you need to try for yourself.
A daily celebration and appreciation of food
When taking a look at Portuguese cuisine it is crucial to start at the breakfast table. Most Portuguese homes start their day with a selection of bread, butter, preserved meats and fruit jams. This is washed down with sweet milky coffee. The rest of the meals eaten throughout the day are typically split into two courses, a soup course and finally the main dish. So for lunch, you can expect a hearty bowl of lentil soup followed by grilled meat and rice. You can’t discuss Portuguese cuisine without taking a look at the meals that are typically eaten for dinner. These meals are often rich and flavoursome and start with a light soup, this is then followed by a hearty dish made with some sort of starch, like potatoes, served with meat and vegetables. Typically, the main meal of the day is accompanied by a refreshing glass of sangria.
Fun facts about the cuisine in Portugal
- Tea is an important part of this type of cuisine, in fact, the English habit of having a cup of tea in the afternoon was started by a Portuguese princess who married the king of England in the 1600s.
- The craft beer industry in Portugal is one of the most popular trends in the country at the moment.
- When you visit a Portuguese restaurant it is common to have a bread basket or bowl of olives placed in front of you, however, you are expected to pay for these treats at the end of your meal.
- Bacalao: Salted codfish is one of the defining dishes in this country and is commonly eaten by locals all over Portugal.
- Cataplana de marisco: Cataplana refers to a type of copper pan that is used to cook a variety of seafood like sardines, mussels and clams in an onion, garlic and tomato sauce.
- Sardinhas assadas: Nothing screams Portugal quite like this sardine dish that is made by grilling the salty little fish over an open fire. They are then dressed with a generous sprinkling of sea salt before being sold alongside delicious bread rolls.
- Cozido à Portuguesa: This stew is also known as Portuguese boiled stew and is made by boiling meat, sausages and vegetables. Typically, this home-style stew is served with boiled potatoes, rice or crusty bread.
Lesser-known Portuguese dishes
- Caldo Verde: This is one of the most traditional yet unknown dishes in Portuguese cuisine. This soup is made with kale, onions and potatoes, this is topped with a slice of cooked pork and served with a piece of cornbread that can be dipped in the soup.
- Feijoada Trasmontana: Another stew, this one is made with offal pork which includes blood sausage, ears and hocks.
- Rojoes A Moda Do Minho: Pieces of pork loin, cooked in pork lard, white wine and garlic. This is served on a bed of steamed potatoes.
Try these tasty treats
Get a true taste of Portugal by visiting restaurants that specialise in Portuguese cuisine. Go to Nando’s and trying out their signature grilled chicken. Alternatively, get yourself an unforgettable Portuguese tart at Madeleine’s Original Portuguese Egg Tart.