Portugal is one of Europe’s hottest destinations (find out why!), and it is growing in popularity each year at rapid rates. And it’s no wonder! It is a wonderful, sunny country full of interesting things to see and amazing things to eat on a Portugal food tour. If that wan’t enough reason to visit Portugal, you can also taste its amazing wines on our Portugal wine tours.
Need more convincing? Here are 5 of our favorite things to try on our Lisbon food tour, a Porto food tour, or our Portugal cooking vacations:
- Polvo à lagareiro
- La Francesinha
- Bolinhos de Bacalhau
- Pasteis de Nata
Polvo à lagareiro
Literally “Lagrareiro-style” octopus, this is a common seafood dish in Portugal consisting of potatoes and octopus that has been boiled then roasted, both dressed with a garlic herb oil. You can find it on Lisbon food tours, Porto food tours, and everywhere in between!
You can pair the dish with a wonderful Portuguese vinho verde.
Any Porto food tour will include this famous sandwich, which hails from this city. It almost defies description: ham, fresh and dried sausages, steak or roast meat, served on bread and covered in cheese and a hot tomato-beer sauce. Think of it as a croque monsieur sandwich on steroids. As if that weren’t enough, it’s sometimes served atop bed of french fries and with a fried egg on top!
Head to Porto and beyond on our Flavors of Portugal cooking vacation.
You might not find this soup on a Lisbon food tour or Porto food tour, as it’s origins are in the Aletenjo region, the western agricultural region know for more peasant-style cuisine. The more known Caldo Verde and Sopa da Pedra soups are also excellent, but I love the Açorda’s garlicky broth, and I’m a sucker for soups with bread in them. This one is made with a simple broth, lots of garlic, fresh coriander, a poached egg, and served over pieces of stale bread.
Honorable mention goes to another classic dish from the Alentejo: tomatada with poached eggs.
Cook in the Alentejo during our Delectable Portugal cooking vacation in Historic Evora.
Bolinhos de Bacalhau
Bacalau, or cod, is extremely popular in Portugal. It is usually found salted and reconstituted. Isn’t that odd? A country with so much access to fresh Atlantic seafood specializing in salt cod from the North Seas? It is a tradition that harkens back to the Portuguese fisherman who brought it back to Portugal in the 16th Century: long before refrigeration, salting the fish was a way to preserve it. There are innumerable ways to try bacalhau in Portugal, but my favorite is Bolinhos de Bacalhau, or codfish fritters. They are usually a mash of cod and potatoes with seasoning, then fried. (They are also popular in Spain – see the recipe here!)
Portuguese Desserts on a Lisbon Food Tour
Pasteis de Nata
Although you will find these custard pastries throughout Portugal, if you try them on a Lisbon food tour you are sure to stop at the famous Pasteleria de Bélem. Expect a line, but the line moves fast and the popularity of this pastry shop means the pastries are always fresh and warm! We recommend them any time day or night, and they are divine with a glass of Port wine.
Of course, the list is by no means exhaustive! We could easily have thought of an additional 20 things to try on any Lisbon food tour or Porto food tour, let along our multi-day Portugal cooking vacations, but if you start with these delicious dishes you won’t be disappointed!
Learn about our private Lisbon cooking class at the home of a chef.
By Peg Kern
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