The beautiful country of Portugal is located in the South-West of Europe, on the Iberian Peninsula. It used to be one of the greatest powers on the continent and its culture and geography are similar to that of many countries located in the North of Europe as well as the Mediterranean. Portugal is the land of contrasts, with the warm, fertile, and most inviting Algarve in the south, the cold, rocky coast up north, and the mountain region located at the heart of the country.
Portugal is also home to over 10 million people, according to 2020 estimates, and its capital city is Lisbon. The Portuguese people do not only speak one of the most attractive languages on the planet, but they also happen to be some of the best chefs and cooks you will ever find. The Portuguese cuisine consists of a variety of unique dishes you will not find anywhere else, so if you are planning a visit here, get ready for the culinary time of your life.
Food in Portugal
Traditional Portuguese dishes and food express the absolute love for life of the people here and their wish to enjoy the simple things, including tasty food. While the gastronomy here might have been eclipsed by the Spanish or Italian gastronomy at times, there are still plenty of regions here rich in delicious dishes based on meat, fish, healthy olive oil, tomatoes, bread, aromatic herbs, and a variety of spices that will make your mouth water.
In other words, you can expect a great deal of simplicity related to the food you will find in Portugal with fresh and tasty ingredients prepared in a flawless manner. Expect the freshest and most wholesome flavors you have ever tasted in the region and be prepared to top off the food using a variety of local wines and tasty beverages that will successfully complete any meal.
There are quite a few traditional dishes that you will have the pleasure to come across in the country, and below we are going to quickly mention a few of the most iconic of them.
Cool Caldo Verde, an Iconic Soup You Must Try
The soup originates in the northern parts of Portugal and it is by far one of the most sought after and popular soups you will come across during your trip. Caldo Verde is especially recommended during the cold season; however, it can definitely be enjoyed throughout the year. Its beautiful green color is given by a special type of cabbage with dark green leaves used when preparing the dish. If you are thinking about having your own take on the Caldo Verde when returning home, you should know that you may have a hard time finding this particular cabbage as it is not usually sold outside the borders of Portugal. However, you could try using kale or collard greens as good substitutes.
Wondering what gives the unique flavours of the tasty soup? It’s a mix of chorizo sausages, freshly made potato puree, and olive oil made by the hands of locals.
Chicken Piri-Piri Uses The African Devil Chili
During the 15th and 16th centuries, explorers in the country reached the coastal region of Africa and came across new varieties of fresh spices they were not familiar with at home in Portugal. One of them was the Piri-Piri or the African Devil Chili, a tiny and extremely spicy chili pepper that is also the star of the Portuguese chicken dish called Chicken Piri-Piri. The meat is basically covered in it and served together with french fries and a salad made of onion, tomato, and small lettuce.
A restaurant or eatery that sells Chicken Piri-Piri is called a churrascaria. In fact, there are plenty of churrascarias in Portugal, many of them carrying the name of the dish itself. One good example is Piri-Piri, a restaurant located in R. do Arco do Marquês de Alegrete 9 in Lisbon where you will find a tasty dish to get started. Make sure to book a hotel nearby like the Pensao Nova Goa Hotel located on the same street and use a luggage transfer service to send your bags to Portugal direct to your hotel allowing you to head straight for dinner at the Piri-Piri restaurant. We guarantee the dish is that good!
Bacalhau, Salted Fish Beloved by Portuguese
It’s almost impossible to finish off any vacation to Portugal without trying out Bacalhau. It is a salted cod dish that has become an obsession of the nation, and there are said to be over one thousand recipes for it in existence. That means you could prepare a different dish every day of the year for a few years without tasting the same recipe!
Opt for the baked, grilled, fried, or even canned version or try the most delicious Bacalhau à brás, a recipe made of egg scramble and codfish prepared using thinly sliced stripes of codfish and mixed eggs, potatoes, garlic, onions, olives, and parsley.
Portugal is a top European attraction with a lot to offer to the passionate tourists eager to discover a new culture, way of life, and delicious cuisine – so delicious you will not want to miss a single bite.