We all know how great Portugal is for tourism, those nice beaches, the sun, nice landscapes, Lisbon or Porto or even the green fields of the countryside. Portugal is, for most of us, a kind of southern Europe summer paradise that hosts over 15 million tourists per year. But it is also getting more and more famous for its mediterranean gastronomy. We’ve selected some amazing traditional dishes to give you a taste of the country’s flavours.
1 – Cataplana de Marisco
This is the kind of stuff you really want to eat when you’re sitting on a nice restaurant right next to the beach, pretty much like those cheesy postcards. But who can resist a recipe where you just take all those clams, cockles, mussels and shrimps right from the sea and put them on a huge pot with tomatoes, peppers and olive oil?
2 – Sardinhas Assadas
Sardines! They are the queens of every barbecue between June and September, the months they get bigger and fat! The portuguese like them so much that the statistics say per each second they eat 13 sardines! And you can eat them just like that, with broa that is a kind of cornbread or get some grilled green peppers. Believe me, they taste great!
3 – Bacalhau com Natas
Codfish is another portuguese wonder, however they don’t even fish it. It comes from Norway or Iceland! But it is different from the cod you might be used to, this is salted after being fished, meaning you have to put it in water for 2 days before preparing it. There are literally “1001 ways of cooking it”, you can simply boil it with some potatoes and veggies or create your own recipe, like this one, codfish, cream and cheese in the oven!
4 – Arroz de cabidela
Ok, this is a weird one. But also great if you forget it is cooked in….blood! Really, you gotta trust me on this one. So you get the chicken and keep its blood. You cook it all together with rice and a lot of vinegar and there you go! You won’t find this in restaurants, but get couchsurfing with a portuguese family and you’ll love it!
6 – Chanfana
See that black clay pot? You get your goat, put it inside and fill the pot with a mature red wine, that’s how you gonna cook it! This one you can only get in the center of Portugal and if you have problems spelling the name, just ask for the drank goat cooked in wooden oven!
7- Tripas à moda do Porto
Going up north, in the city of Porto, you’ll find this also weird dish. Beans, peppers, chouriço, blood sausage and…pork guts. In 1415, the Portuguese sailors left Porto in the direction of Morocco, so their families that stayed in the country decided to give them all the meet in the city being left only with the guts, it is a dish created out of necessity but also from the support for their loved ones!
8 – Francesinha
This is a total must eat! Also typical from Porto, it was created by a returned emigrant from France that was a lover of croque-monsieur, the famous sandwich. But to have it just as portuguese would like to taste it, he adapted the recipe by filling the bread with several types of meat, sausages, layers of cheese and a spicy sauce made out of beer or whisky! This is a heavy dish, but totally worth it, mainly with a beer on the side!
9 – Pastel de Nata
And for dessert, just get a pastel de nata! Back in time, convents were full of chickens and nuns didn’t know what to do with all those eggs, they just mixed them with sugar and got different types of sweets. Of all, this is the most well known and i’d say also the most tasteful!
10 – Green wine
All wines from Portugal are great, whether from the south, Alentejo or any other. But in the northern region of the country you can find the best Green Wine! Yup, it can be red or white, the difference is that it is made out of young grapes, then you ferment it with tons of sugar and it gets a nice fresh sparkling taste! And, of course, it goes with all the dishes we told you about, however you don’t need food to have a glass of it. Or two.
Now that you know what to eat, just go book your flight tickets to Portugal while you’re craving for this as much as I am!
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