Taking a seat at a Portuguese table is the key to unlocking the bounty of the country’s coast and countryside. Masters of unpretentious, delicious meals, the Portuguese have perfected simple pleasures in their purest forms: freshly baked bread, cheese, olives, cured meats, char-grilled fish, pastries, and, of course, wine. Check out these must-try dishes before your trip!
Pastel de Nata
A bite-sized custard tart widely regarded as one of Portugal’s crowning achievements, these can be found in bakeries all over Portugal. This treat is comprised of a flaky pastry crust and is filled with a sweet egg yolk filling. You can eat them hot out of the oven or wait for them to cool and sprinkle a little cinnamon and sugar on top.
Caldeirada de Enguias
A dish best eaten in the Aveiro region, this eel stew is seasoned with saffron and is complimented with bell peppers, onion, garlic, and potatoes. This traditional dish is a staple of the region and a must-try for any visiting foodie!
Two slices of bread filled with steak, ham, sausage, and chorizo, covered in melted Edam, then smothered in a spicy tomato-based sauce and topped with a fried egg (if you can handle it), the francesinha is the signature dish of Porto. Usually served with fries, this meal is gonna require more than a few napkins.
A thick tenderloin beefsteak cooked over a strong fire, this dish is Portugal’s answer to Italy’s Fiorentina steak. A genuine posta mirandesa has meat sourced from free-range Mirandesa cows, found only in Portugal.
Pronounced shure-REET-zo, this is one of the country’s most popular sausages. Very similar to the Spanish chorizo, chourico is garlicky, reddish brown thanks to its paprika, and sold in 10-inch links. They are often brought to the table in terracotta dishes shaped like pigs, with alcohol poured over the sausage. The waiter will light the alcohol and once the alcohol has charred the chourico and the flames have died out, you can dig in!
Pasteis de Bacalhau
They say Portugal has 365 ways to cook salt cod, but that’s probably a low estimate. One delicious way is in a fish cake, or pasteis de bacalhau. No matter how you eat it, barbequed, baked, boiled, or in a stew, chances are good that you’re going to sink your teeth into some fresh-caught fish on your trip – and love every bite!
If you are a wine lover, Portugal is the right place to be! For such a small country, Portugal makes an impressive variety of wines. Whether you’re looking for a legendary Port and Madeira vintage, a full-bodied red, or a fruity white, you can find it all – and locally – in Portugal.
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