What To Eat in Portugal – 15 Delish Foods You Must Try
5 Portuguese dishes you must try
The best part of my road trip through Portugal – aside from visiting its beautiful towns - is that I got to try its food and sweets from different regions all over the country! There’s nothing like exploring a new place by its delicious dishes. With such a wide variety of foods, you may wonder what to eat in Portugal. Don’t worry, here is a list of 15 Portuguese dishes you must try.
The bacalhau – fresh cod not to be confused with the salted and dried cod - is a staple in Portugal’s cuisine. You will find the fish in many restaurants, whether you dine at a traditional Portuguese restaurant or fine dining. Some of the most common ways you will see bacalhau cooked are Bacalhau à Brás, Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá, Bacalhau com Broa, and many more. There are over a thousand ways to cook bacalhau, but no matter how it’s prepared, it is often served with a side of salad and or potatoes. Delicious!
2. Pastéis de bacalhau
Speaking of a thousand ways to make bacalhau, another very popular form is pastéis de bacalhau – also called bolinhos de bacalhau if you are in the north of Portugal. It is made of a mixture of potato and codfish, shaped like a ball, and fried. You will find it in many traditional restaurants as an appetizer, but also as a snack. If you are lucky and visit during the festival of St. Anthony, you will see street vendors selling an assortment of snacks, including pastéis de bacalhau.
3. Sericá, Sericaia, or Cericá
Serica is another delicious Portuguese sweet made of eggs, sugar, milk, and cinnamon. It originated in Alentejo and has a soufflé-like texture with a hint of citrus flavor. You may find it in the dessert menu of many traditional restaurants or at a pastry shop.
4. Grilled sardines
Portuguese loves their grilled sardines! On my Portugal road trip, I saw locals grilling sardines like American BBQ on the 4th of July. Oh, and during the festival of St. Anthony, you are guaranteed to smell like grilled sardines for a few days. To the local that warned me, you were right. So don’t skip this Portugal’s traditional dish while visiting.
5. Porco Preto
Porco Preto is delicious melt-in-your-mouth pork that comes from the breed of black-skin pig native of the Iberian Peninsula – also called Pata Negra in Spain. The pork is famous for its nutty flavors due to its acorn diet. You can find it in many version, ham, choriço, cured, or fresh – Porco Preto is inexpensive in Portugal, so take advantage and try as much as you can!
6. Portuguese Cheese
Cheese lover rejoice! Portugal offers a wide variety of delicious cheese. Love goat cheese? Cow cheese? Mild? Soft? Creamy? Portugal has it! And you won’t need to search hard for it, as many traditional restaurants will have local cheese on their menu. One of the most delicious cheeses I tried in Portugal was Queijo Fresco in Evora. Make sure to also try Queijo de Evora, Queijo de Nisa, and Requeijão Português.
7. Cataplana in the Algarve
Cataplana is technically not a dish, but a clam-shaped pot traditionally made of copper that originated in the Algarve region – an iconic Algarve’s tradition. So make sure you don’t miss out all the delicious dishes cooked in the Cataplana when you are in the Algarve region.
A few Cataplana dishes that you cannot miss:
· Cataplana de marisco – seafood
· Cataplana de peixe - fish
· Cataplana de carne de porco com amêijoas – pork and clam
8. Arroz de pato
Arroz de pato or duck rice was the traditional Portuguese food I looked forward the most! Put anything with duck, and I’m sold. The typical dish is made with rice, duck, and choriço. Baked in an oven and served with a side of greens. There were a lot of misses when I tried this dish at different restaurants in Lisbon, but I came to love it when I had it in Alentejo – after all, it is the region’s typical dish!
Bifana is a very popular delicious pork sandwich that you will find it all over the country. But not all Bifanas are made the same. Each region has a different take on the sandwich, and each restaurant has its own secret way to marinate the pork, so don’t stop at one. Also, don’t forget to try Prego, the beef version of Bifana.
10. Caldo Verde
Portuguese loves soup, and Caldo Verde is probably their most famous one. The delicious soup is made of kale, potato, onion, and garlic, and you can find it all over the country. It usually served with slides of choriço. If you need a little green in your system, make sure to order the Caldo Verde!
11. Ovos or Eggs
One thing I noticed while on my road trip through Portugal is that Portuguese loves eggs – after bacalhau and sardines of course. The egg or ovos are found throughout Portuguese cuisine. They have it for breakfast, with steak, with potatoes, with soup, for dessert, and anything you can think of.
Some of their most popular egg-based savory food:
· Bacalhau à Brás - salt cod, potatoes and eggs
· Açorda Aletenjana - bread soup with a poached egg
· Sopa de Tomate - tomato soup with a poached egg
· Bitoque - steak with egg
· Francesinha – Portuguese Croque Madame with egg
Popular egg-based sweets:
· Pasteis de nata
· Ovos do Paraiso
· Torrao Real
· Papos de Anjo
12. Queijada de feijão
Queijada de feijão is probably the second most popular Portuguese pastry. There are many different variations of this treat and ways to enjoy it. The sweet bean pastry originated in a town near Lisbon, but it can be found all over the country.
13. Pasteis de Nata
The delicious egg tart, sometimes lightly dusted with sugar, is by far Portugal’s biggest star. You will find the pastry in many places all over the country, but if you can get it right out of the oven, it’s heaven! They are hard to resist, so don’t even try.
14. Pão de Deus
Pão de Deus is a delicious soft brioche topped with sweetened coconut. The sweet roll is usually enjoyed for breakfast, but honestly, I could have it at any time. Have it with Galão (Portuguese caffe latte) as the locals do!
Açorda or Açorda à Alentejana is an iconic soup of the Alentejo region. It’s a very simple soup made of eggs, bread, olive oil, garlic, cilantro, water, and salt, but don’t let its simplicity fool you. There are different variations of the soup, some may include bacalhau, shrimp, and other seafood.