5 Foods to Try in Portugal
A trip to Portugal is like an awakening of the senses. From the glistening waves and bustling resorts of the Algarve to the blissful countryside, to the quaint cobblestone streets of the many tiny towns and villages, it’s truly the best of all worlds in this one spectacular destination. Whether you enjoy learning about a new culture, trying your hand at some outdoor adventure activities, enjoying some leisurely shopping or dining on some of the finest cuisine on earth, you’ve come to the right place. There’s no question – when it comes things to see, do, experience and most of all, taste – there’s simply no place like Portugal. For those with an adventurous appetite, here are 5 must-try foods to add to your list.
Soup lovers rejoice in this delectable treat. Caldo Verde is a popular soup that is actually more like a stew, it’s so hearty. It’s traditionally prepared with onions, kale and plenty of potatoes. And, of course, if you’re in Portugal, you can’t forget the meat! Some chefs add it directly to the soup itself, while others prefer a side serving of mouthwatering slices of linguiça or chouriço, both popular Portuguese meats. Still others enjoy a chunk of Portuguese corn bread on the side, perfect for dipping in and soaking up some of that flavorful broth that is perfectly seasoned with garlic, salt and olive oil. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself asking for seconds of this tasty dish!
In Portuguese, the word Bacalhau means codfish, which may seem somewhat common but there’s nothing common about how this seafood is prepared here. It is typically served dried and salted, however that is where the similarity stops. In fact, it is rumored that there are 365 ways to cook Bacalhau and over 1,000 different recipes dedicated to the salty fish – most of which are based on region or tradition. Whichever way it’s ultimately prepared, Bacalhau is often served with potatoes and some type of fresh vegetable. And, of course, it is also usually paired with a bold, mature wine to help bring out all of the flavors of this popular meal.
Pastel de Nata
Pastel de Nata is a somewhat peculiar looking egg tart pastry that is enjoyed widely throughout Portugal. It is believed that the origins of this tiny treat can be traced back to Catholic monks prior to the 18th century, but there’s no way to know for sure. One thing you will know is how tasty these treats truly are, prepared as pastry cups filled with mouthwatering custard and often sprinkled with either cinnamon or powdered sugar. They are prepared in the traditional way at just about every Portuguese bakery, but if you’d like to try one, be prepared to wait in line. They’re so good, everyone wants one! Trust us, though – they’re worth the wait.
For those with more hearty appetites, Cozido is certain to fill you to the brim with delicious goodness. This rich stew is made from a large variety of meats and vegetables, from pork to beef to Portuguese smoked sausage, and any combination of tasty veggies, like cabbage, turnips, carrots, potatoes and collard greens. Some chefs also like to add rice into the mix to really thicken things up. It’s typically served with bread for dunking, and it also goes perfectly with a nice glass of red wine. Be sure to bring your appetite before you tackle this dish! It’s so thick and hearty that the Portuguese tend to prefer it as a winter meal. It’ll certainly keep you warm and put some meat on your bones!
Spices, Herbs and Oil
Not necessarily a dish in and of itself (although they’re so unbelievably tasty, they very well could be), the very ingredients used in preparing Portuguese cuisine deserve an honorable mention here. When it comes to flavoring food, the Portuguese are pros! Most dishes are prepared using a wide variety of spices, including everything from piri piri and black pepper on the main courses, and a generous supply of cinnamon and vanilla for desserts. And, of course, we can’t forget the herbs. Smell that garlic, taste that coriander, check out the vibrant green of the parsley. The food in Portugal is almost as beautiful as the surrounding landscape itself. Finally, another staple in Portuguese cooking is olive oil, which is used for both cooking and for flavoring meals.
Hungry yet? If you aren’t, you certainly will be once you get a whiff of the delectable cuisine that is served throughout Portugal. These are just five of the many delicious dishes that make this incredible country so special, and such a fantastic place to visit. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, and your appetite, and head on over for some mouthwatering authentic Portuguese cuisine!