12 foods you have to try when visiting Portugal


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The Portuguese love great food. Influenced by Mediterranean cuisine, traditional Portuguese food is rich, varied and it offers some unique dishes that you won’t find any place else. From crispy sardines and creamy cod to sweet and deliciously flaky egg tarts, there is something for every taste. Let’s explore some of the most popular Portuguese dishes.

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1. Caldo Verde

Originating from the North of Portugal, Caldo Verde (Green Broth in Portuguese) is a soup made with onions, shredded kale, garlic, potatoes and chorizo. While the soup is particularly popular in the winter, it can be enjoyed throughout the year, no matter if it is warm or cold outside.

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2. Francesinha

Most popular in Porto, the Francesinha is a plated sandwich that is made with bread, sausages, ham and steak. Among locals, it is considered one of the best Portuguese foods. It is normally covered with melted cheese and comes with an egg placed on top. What makes it so unique is the secret sauce that restaurants prepare in their own special way. The sauce usually consists of a hot thick tomato and beer relish used to dip the sandwich. Francesinha means “little French girl” and it is believed to have been brought to Portugal by an immigrant returning from France. It is typically served with a side of French fries.

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3. Bolinhos de bacalhau

Also known as pastéis de bacalhau, bolinhos de bacalhau are small, deep-fried cakes consisting of salt-dried cod and potatoes. It is one of many types of bacalhau (cod) dishes. You can easily find these in cafés and snack bars around Portugal. It is normally enjoyed with a coffee or a small beer as a snack between bigger meals.

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4. Bifana

The bifana is one of the most popular sandwiches in the country. It is made on a papo seco bread roll with thin marinated pork cutlets. Traditional bifana sandwiches include pork, paprika, garlic and white wine, however, many restaurants have their own recipe for this classic Portuguese dish. Some restaurants serve it topped with extra ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, cheese, and a fried egg. Bifana sandwiches are believed to have originated in the town of Vendas Novas. They are so popular that local McDonald’s serve their own version of them.

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5. Porco Preto

Raised on a diet of acorns, black Iberian pigs or porco preto are domestic, free-range pigs endemic to the southern and central regions of Portugal. Porco preto are used to make pata negra ham, thin slices of cured, smokey ham, as well as the famous Portuguese foodplumas de porco preto, cutlets served with a salad and fries.

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6. Bacalhau

Bacalhau, dried and salted cod, is the national dish of Portugal. It can be found in just about every Portuguese restaurant. This traditional Portuguese cuisine comes with a nickname: ‘the faithful friend’. There are more ways to prepare bacalhau than there are days of the year. Bacalhau is a fundamental part of the Portuguese culinary heritage. It’s very often served at social gatherings and in some parts of the country, it’s served as the traditional Christmas Eve meal.

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7. Sopa da Pedra

Sopa da pedra, translating to ‘stone soup’, comes with its own legend. According to folklore, a poor and homeless monk had nothing to eat, but rather than starving, he cleaned a stone and boiled it. As people passed him by, they felt sorry for him and added ingredients to his pot to brighten his meal. They added potatoes, hunks of meat, and a bag of beans. The soup transformed from a poor man’s stew into a feast. Once it was finished, the monk removed the stone and invited everyone to join him for a meal.

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8. Cataplana de Marisco

Cataplana de marisco is a Portuguese food that originated in Algarve. It is a seafood feast that gets its name from the copper pan, a cataplana, it’s cooked in. The cataplana has two rounded sides connected by a hinge. It opens and closes like a clam. The dish consists of onions, garlic and tomatoes that are stewed together with glugs of white wine, whole prawns, clams and chorizo.

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9. Sopa Juliana

Sopa Juliana is a delicious vegetable soup made with a combination of carrots, cabbage, onions, turnips, peas, potatoes, and spices such as parsley, bay leaves, and garlic. There are many different recipes, and the soup can also be enriched with red pepper flakes, rice and tomatoes. Sopa Juliana is thick, and it is the perfect winter soup.

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10. Sardinhas Assadas

Another popular seafood dish in Portugal is the modest sardine. It’s used in a variety of traditional Portuguese dishes. One of the most popular among everyone living in Portugal is sardinhas assadas. This is a simple but comforting dish consisting of freshly grilled sardines. The sardines are roasted over an open fire and seasoned with sea salt. It’s a famous summertime festival food.

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11. Pastel de nata

Even if you know nothing about Portugal cuisine, you’ve likely heard about the country’s favorite dessert, a small decadent egg tart. Known as pastel de nata, it is said to have originated somewhere in the Lisbon suburbs around 1837. The original recipe is a secret, passed on by the monks at the Jerónimos Monastery. Sugar and/or cinnamon are usually sprinkled over the top of the tart according to taste.

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12. Ginjinha

Ginjinha is a sour cherry liqueur. It is made by infusing ginja berries with alcohol and adding sugar and a few other ingredients. It was originally invented in Lisbon and is typically served in a shot glass or an edible chocolate cup. Some restaurants also serve it with a piece of cherry at the bottom

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Enjoy a taste of Portugal

The best food in Portugal is a clear reflection of the country’s geographic location and its unique history of world exploration. Portugal was originally a trading powerhouse for many years, pioneering world exploration. Portuguese chefs honor both the history and geography of the country every time they cook dishes with locally sourced products and spices. As a result, the food traditions of Portugal are long and deep. Spending time at the table in Portugal is not just a pastime, it’s a cultural event and exploration even when you’re not celebrating anything.

Portugal is a fun place to live in. Read more fun facts about living in Portugal and the reasons why so many people choose to move to Portugal.

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This article originally appeared on MyDolceCasa.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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