Food & Drink Guest Post Travel

The Food Chain: Enjoying Portuguese Cuisine

*this is a partnered post

Portugal is famous for its warm weather, beaches, and the longest coastal national park in Europe. It’s easy to see why millions of tourists head off on their holidays to Portugal each year, eager to catch the sun and sandy beaches.

Great as they all may be, Portugal has much more to offer. One of the best things there is the cuisine. Ok, yeah, we have Nando’s, but isn’t it much better to head out to the country and try the real deal?

Here’s a quick guide to some of Portugal’s finest and most cuisines, starting with that ole classic:

Piri-piri chicken

Known all over the world is what you might call Portugal’s signature dish: piri-piri chicken. Meaning “chili” in African, this spicy condiment adds flavor to grilled chicken in households all over Portugal. Piri-piri chicken has been increasing in popularity and is a particular hit with teenagers, thanks to the Nando’s chain of restaurants.

Pastel de nata (custard tart)

When it comes to Portuguese cuisine, pastel de nata is one of those dishes that stay with you forever. Dating back to the 18th century, and also known as “Pasteis de Belém,”  traditional Portuguese custard tart was once offered for sale by someone from the Monastery of the Hieronymites in a bid for survival. Enter any coffeehouse in Portugal today and you’re most likely to find custard tart available.

Bacalhau

Bacalhau means “dried and salted cod” and is a significant part of the Portuguese diet, with inhabitants eating it usually two or three times a week. There are many different ways to cook bacalhau but one of the most popular is with cream and potato (bacalhau com natas), and why not wash down the dish with a fine Portuguese wine? There’s no better place to enjoy bacalhau than in one of the simple wooden restaurants on the beach in Algarve. They’ll serve you the freshest cod, lightly grilled and drizzled with olive oil.

Canned fish

Portuguese love canned fish and consider it one of the healthiest fast foods in the world. In fact, canned fish enjoys the same level of popularity in Portugal as burgers do in America! The cans are so beautifully colored, too, that a lot of cafés and bars in Portugal use them as decorations — and many tourists buy them as souvenirs.

Caldo verde (Portugese cabbage soup)

Caldo verde is the Portuguese national soup and no good restaurant in the country will ever leave it off the menu. This simple dish contains ingredients such as potato, onion, olive oil, kale and chouriço (a type of sausage) and is bursting with nutrients. Kale itself is notable as an exceptionally healthy food and contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. If you want an authentic but nonvegetarian version of the soup, you can add some linguiça, smoked Portuguese sausage made from pork shoulder.

So yes, Portugal has beaches and sunshine, and in that respect it will never disappoint you. Not only that, though, it has some mighty fine cuisine… cuisine so good that today’s teenagers love getting together over a piri-piri chicken. Of course, it’s not just the teenagers, and there are sure to be adults out there partial to custard tart. Come on, don’t deny it!

*thank you for this post!

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