Food in Portugal

I know the title is vague, but today we are going to talk about regional dishes we have in Portugal. Please stay tuned because this post will be very tasty (and long). Not only are we covering all the dishes, but also the eating culture we have when we walk into a restaurant.

Starters

In Portuguese it’s called “Entradas”. Please read this part to make sure you know what they commonly are, and if you might need to pay for them or not.

Ameijoas à Bulhão Pato – Clams

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This sometimes is served as a starter, but can also be ordered in the afternoon with some beer to drink. We cook the clams with olive oil, garlic, white wine and coriander. Better than eating the clams is to dip the bread in the sauce because it tastes like heaven on earth. You have to order this, this doesn’t come to the table when you walk in (unfortunately).

Bread with Olives

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See the right part of the picture. See the olives and bread basket? They normally arrive at the table for you to eat while you choose the main dishes. Sometimes restaurants charge 1€ or 1,50€ for “Starters” you didn’t order, but they put them on the table. The policy changes from restaurant to restaurant so please ask if you pay for “Starters”.

Broa

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Broa is a very tasty variation of normal bread. It’s made with corn instead of wheat. If you don’t pay for starters, take the opportunity to taste this. I think you might like it.

Main Dishes

In Portuguese restaurants we have the so-called “Pratos do Dia”. They are Dishes made on that day to be served quickly. They are fresh and very tasty, normally. It’s your best chance to find a well cooked Portuguese dish, with fresh ingredients.

Meat

Francesinha

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Want to eat a high-calorie dish? Welcome to “Francesinha!”. Translated literally is French Girl but it doesn’t have any connection with the French, at least where the dish is now. It’s a variation of the “Croque Monsieur“, but the taste is very different. Normally served in Oporto, this dish might hate a lot of hot sauce, so please ask for a not hot sauce version first. It’s basically a sandwich with meat, “enchidos”, cheese, ham and an egg on top. The sauce is very complicated to do, and the bottled versions are not even close! Please note that this dish might come with Pork meat, so ask before you regret it.

Cozido à Portuguesa

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This dish is a mix of pork and cow meat. In the same pan, we put the beans, the meat, “enchidos” and some vegetables. In other pots, we cook the rice and serve them together! It’s a very tasty dish, trust me!

Carne de Porco à Alentejana (or Portuguesa)

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We cut pork meat and potatoes into cubes, add clams and that’s it. We cook everything in a huge pot and serve it all mixed. In my opinion, it’s way better than Paella, because it’s simple in taste and it’s also the bond between meat and fish.

Feijoada – Beans with random meat

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What about different meats in a dish? We have it here! From pork ears to “enchidos” we have it all! Please see that this dish has pork meat. We also have a fish version of this dish, with octopus or cuttlefish.

Grelhados Mistos – Mixed Grill

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Like the tittle says, it’s mixed grill. You have pork and cow meat, sausages and chicken in the same dish. It’s served with french potatoes and rice, and it’s very tasty!

Bitoque (aka Febras Grelhadas or Prego no Prato)

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My favorite dish! It’s a slice of pork or cow meat, egg, french fries and salad. It’s very tasty and simple. We have tons of these in every restaurant. You can choose to have the meat medium rare, medium or well done. The best one, in my opinion, is medium.

Frango Assado – Roasted Chicken

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Don’t mess with our roasted chicken! It’s very common to see a whole family go to a restaurant and order roasted chicken. It’s commonly served with a salad, rice and french fries. Is very cheap in Pingo Doce or Continente (less than 5€/Kg) if you choose to take-away (to eat at home).

Arroz de Pato – Duck Rice

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Basically, it’s rice with duck. We cook the duck and rip it into little pieces and put it inside the rice. Sometimes is served with some “Enchidos” and bacon on top.

Prego no Pão (aka Bifana) – Meat sandwich

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If you get out of a club at 3am and want to eat something, go to Feio and order a “Bifana” or “Prego no pão”. Prego no Pão has a literal translation that means Nail in bread. It doesn’t mean anything and we don’t put nails in bread, only pork meat. If you go to a restaurant they might serve you french fries, but it’s not guaranteed they’ll to that.

Fish

Bacalhau à Brás – Codfish

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Want to make a very simple dish? Buy potato sticks, onions, codfish, two eggs and herbs. That’s it! We make it in a frying pan using cod fish leftovers from the last meal.

Bacalhau com natas – Codfish with cream

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We rip the codfish into little pieces, put some potato cubes on them with cream and then we mix all of this. After that, we put it into the oven and serve. It’s very tasty in restaurants and at home.

Caldeirada de Peixe – Random types of fish inside a pot

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The rule is to get a lot of random fish and put it inside a huge pot. It’s cooked with beans, tomatoes, seafood, and fish (of course). It’s served with rice on the side. It’s normally common to find this dish in Algarve and in the coastline, where the fish is fresh.

Sardinhas Assadas – Roasted Sardines

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In a charcoal grill, we put sardines with a bit of salt and pepper on top. It’s served with baked potatoes. We love sardines (we even have a Sardine festival in Algarve!) and it’s very common to find this dish in the summer, season when they are caught.

Polvo à Lagareiro – Octopus

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In this dish, we cook the octopus in the oven with some jacket potatoes, olive oil, and garlic. It’s simple but very tasty, as all the Portuguese food I am presenting you in this post.

Bacalhau Assado no Forno – Roasted Codfish

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We cut the codfish in portion sized chunks and stick it in the oven with jacked potatoes, garlic and onion. Let it cook and that’s it. The best codfish comes out in slices with a fork, as a cod enthusiast might explain later during your Erasmus.

Soups

Caldo Verde

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We put “enchidos” in a pot with potatoes and boiling water. In other pot, we have shredded collard greens cooking in boiling water. When the vegetables are cooked we crush the potatoes, cut the “enchidos” in little pieces and bond them with the shredded collard greens. The ending result it’s this, a very nutritious soup.

Legumes – Random vegetable soup

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This vegetable soup might have any vegetable you can think of. cabbage, carrots, broccoli, potatoes, etc, etc. When they say it’s vegetable soup, it’s not guaranteed it will have the same ingredients, so it’s a surprise every time you order it.

Canja de Galinha – Soup with Chicken

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This soup is so easy to make we have a joke around it. When something is so easy to do we can say it’s “canja”, referring to this soup. It has chicken meat, onions, carrot, garlic and a small portion of pasta. We even have a kids version of this soup, with letters, so the kids can play with while they eat the goddamn soup.

Deserts

Ask the restaurant employee if the desserts are made on that day. Restaurants often leave deserts for 2 or 3 days in the fridge. They are okay on the 3rd day, but it’s better to taste them in the day they were made.

Arroz Doce – Sweet Rice

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Basically, we cook the rice and put it in Milk Custard sauce. Then we add on top some cinnamon powder to give it a better taste. It’s very sweet the first time you taste it.

Mousse de Chocolate – Chocolate mousse

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Older people might drink some Portuguese alcohol with this. They say it tastes better, but I never taste it that way.

Doce da Casa – House desert

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Every “Doce da Casa” is made the same way. It has layers, and that’s what makes him the house dessert. It’s made with condensed milk and egg yolk, in the middle we have a cookie and on top, it’s whipped cream.

Leite Creme – Milk and Eggs

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Leite creme is made boiling milk with egg yolk. It’s very tasty and you normally can choose to burn the top of it with sugar.

Maçã Assada

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When the apples are about to expire, normally restaurants put them in the oven with sugar, cinnamon and that’s it, it comes out as a dessert.

Pudim Caseiro

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Pudim caseiro is a Flan made of eggs, milk and sugar. It’s served with caramel falling on the sides.

Baba de Camelo – The drooling camel

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No, it’s not made of camel drool. We put cooked condensed milk with egg yolk and shake it very hard. Then we add the rest of the eggs we didn’t use and that’s it. It’s very tasty and sweet!

Final Notes

While I was writing this I realized I will need to divide this post into different parts. I need to talk about common delicacies, “enchidos” and fried food that we have in Portugal. I hope you can taste all of this in our country.

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