When Logan and I visited Portugal earlier this summer we pretty much ate our way through the country. I am of Portuguese descent, so I’ve grown up eating most of these foods, but eating them while in Portugal was truly something else.
This is not the place for picky eaters or dieters; there is way too much amazing food to indulge in! From fresh fish to decadent desserts and fine wine, Portugal is a true culinary heaven.
Here are some of my favorite dishes that you must try whether you’re in Portugal or not – try searching for a local Portuguese bakery in your area and trying their recreations!
This is a comforting delicious soup made from potatoes, onions, kale, and chouriço (Portuguese sausage). It’s the perfect comfort food eaten on its own or as a starter before a big Portuguese feast.
Bacalhau a Brás
“A Brás” is my favorite way to eat bacalhau. For this style, the shredded cod fish is sautéed with onions, matchstick potatoes, olives, and parsley. The dish is crispy, salty, and absolutely delicious. I’m pretty confident I could eat every day for the rest of my life and never, ever get sick of it.
Pasteis de Bacalhau
A popular Portuguese saying states that there are more cod fish recipes than days in a year. These pasteis are just one of the other ways to make codfish. In this style, the codfish is packed and fried into a golden and crispy fish cake. It’s perfect as a snack in a coffee shop or as an appetizer!
You’ll be hard pressed to find a bad wine in Portugal; this small country is home to hundreds of vineyards producing incredible wine. The Portuguese know wine and they love wine, it would almost be insulting to sit down for dinner without a bottle of wine. My favorite wine from Portugal is a white by the name of Monte Velho.
This is the official dessert of Portuguese grandmas; it’s warm, gooey, comforting, and delicious. Arroz doce is a rice pudding cooked with lemon and sprinkled with cinnamon. It’s best eaten right away while it’s still hot; it’ll give you that warm and fuzzy feeling with every bite!
Pão e Chouriço
Portuguese bread is amazing. Portuguese cheese is amazing. Portuguese sausage is amazing. Combine all of those things together and you have the most incredible sandwich that this planet has ever seen. This is another Portuguese dish I could eat every single day, and in fact, Logan and I did eat this every single day we were in Portugal. They’re delicious at any time of day, but even more so as a late night snack after a night of drinking. Look for them in the food trucks lining the city streets; they have the most authentic and delicious sandwiches!
Another amazing Portuguese sandwich is the bifana; a pork cutlet sandwich marinated in garlic and white wine sauce tucked into a Portuguese roll. Typically, this will come served with French fries or chips.
Pasteis de Natas
This famous dessert cannot be passed up when you’re visiting Portugal and trust me, even the worst imitation from a local bakery will still be absolutely delicious. Natas are a pastry filled with creamy egg custard, served warm with a sprinkle of cinnamon and icing sugar on top. The best natas in Portugal can be found in Belem, where the recipe was originally created.
Olive Oil is the basis of Portuguese cooking, whether it’s used to slow-cook codfish, dribbled into soups, or simply soaked up with a Portuguese bun. Drive the back roads of the Alentejo, Beira Interior and Tras-os-Montes regions and you’ll weave through endless olive groves.
While not personally my cup of tea, sardines are a favorite among Lisbon locals. Cheap, plentiful, and freshly caught these fish are at their plumpest and tastiest going into the summer.