Portuguese Food Guide

Bacalhau

portuguese food guide lisbon portugal bacalhau
Bacalhau, one of the most popular type of dishes in Portugal, is Portuguese style salted cod which has been dried and then salted.

Because of its popularity, there are literally hundreds of traditional recipes that use it as an ingredient.  Some of the most popular include Bacalhau com Todos (cod fish with everything) which combines the salted cod alongside boiled vegetables, hard boiled eggs, and garlic infused oil and Bacalhau à Brás which combines shredded bacalhau, scrambled eggs, sliced onions and fried potatoes.

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Bifana

portuguese food guide lisbon portugal bifana
Bifana is a traditional Portuguese sandwich that is usually enjoyed as lunch or as a snack.  Traditionally, Bifanas are made with a pork steak that is seasoned with garlic and spices and cooked in a pot alongside an abundance of spicy sauce.

The Birana is then sandwiched in a sliced bread roll but you'll want to eat it quick because of how much sauce there is.

Francesinha

portuguese food guide lisbon portugal francesinha
Francesinha is a sandwich that originates from the region of Porto.  The sandwich is made with a variety of different meats combined with melted cheese and a tomato beer sauce.

Naturally, it's this unique sauce that makes the Francesinha.  Other ingredients may vary depending on the region as the meat used in the sandwich may range from shrimp and prawns, beef steak, cured ham, tuna and even salted cod.

Travel Tip
Also known as the Time Out Market, the Mercado da Ribeira is a very popular food hall located at Cais do Sodre in Lisbon.  It has 35 kiosks selling regional specialties like Azeitão sheep's cheese, Alentejo ham, custard tarts from cafe Aloma, sardines, wines and chocolates.

Sardinhas

portuguese food guide lisbon portugal sardinhas
This simple, traditional dish of sardines seasoned with coarse salt and grilled on an open flame is usually consumed during festivals.

After grilling, the sardines are placed on a piece of bread so that the bread can soak up the oil from the cooked fish.  As simple as Sardinhas is, they have plenty of flavor and, if you head to Portugal during a festival when literally hundreds of sardines are cooking at a time, plenty of culture.

Polvo à Lagareiro

portuguese food guide lisbon portugal polvo a lagareiro
Polvo à Lagareiro is one of the essential seafood dishes in all of Portuguese cuisine and is a must try if you want to sample one of the region's staples.

An octopus is boiled in water before it is baked in a pan with potatoes, smashed garlic and fresh oil.  Yes, Polvo à Lagareiro is a fairly simple recipe but you'll also find some amazing flavors as you bite into this classic dish.
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Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato

portuguese food guide lisbon portugal ameijoas a bulhao pato
Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato, or clams in white wine, is usually eaten in Portugal as a first course as the rich wine flavor combined with the plumpness of clams makes for a great starter.

The dish is made by sauteing garlic, spices, peppers, and bread crumbs until they are golden brown and then adding clams and white wine to the mix.  Some regions also season the clams with cilantro after the dish has been cooked.

Travel Tip
Many restaurants in Portugal offer an inexpensive "Prato do Dia" menu during lunch hours.  These menus offer a selection of soups as well as several meat and fish dishes.

Caldo Verde

portuguese food guide lisbon portugal caldo verde
Best recognized for its popularity during weddings and other celebrations, Caldo Verde is one of the most well known soups in Portugal.

Caldo Verde, whose name literally means "green broth" is made with stewed collard greens, potatoes, and olive oil.  Some traditional recipes also include onion and garlic as well as a variety of meats including sausage.

During celebrations the soup is usually served with corn and rye bread.

Caldeirada

portuguese food guide lisbon portugal caldeirada
Caldeirada is a rich fish stew that combines many different types of fish alongside potatoes and various seasonings.

The origins of Caldeirada go back to when fishermen would combine whatever they happened to catch into a single stew.  This is easily reflected in the endless variety of fish that can be used to make Caldeirada including clams, octopus, flounder, tuna, sea bass, shrimp, and eel.

Cozido à Portuguesa

portuguese food guide lisbon portugal cozido a portuguesa
Cozido à Portuguesa is one of the national dishes of Portugal and, as such, is one of the staple dishes in Portuguese cuisine.

This slow cooked traditional stew is eaten as a main course and combines a variety of foods commonly found in the various regions of Portugal.  The exact ingredients in a traditional recipe will vary from region to region but most include a combination of beans, potatoes, carrots, rice, pork, chicken, beef, and sausages.

Travel Tip
As with most countries in Europe, tipping at restaurants in Portugal is not expected.  Leave a 1 or 2 euro coin if you were happy with the experience.

Arroz de Marisco

portuguese food guide lisbon portugal arroz de marisco
Arroz de Marisco is a unique rice dish that hails from the coasts of Portugal.  The dish is notable for having a heavy sauce and it combines multiple types of seafood common to the coastal regions.

Most dishes of Arroz de Marisco will include clams, shrimp, or lobster.  Rice is then cooked in the broth before being mixed into a sauce of garlic, coriander, red pepper flakes, and olive oil.

Piri Piri Chicken

portuguese food guide lisbon portugal piri piri chicken
If you like it hot and spicy, Piri Piri chicken is ideal for you as this traditional chicken dish utilizes the Piri Piri pepper which grows native in Portugal.

This spicy pepper adds quite alot of kick to the dish as the chicken is marinated in a Piri Piri marinade for at least 4 hours before it is grilled.
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