7 Dishes You Need to Eat When Visiting Portugal
While Spanish food has conquered the globe, with tapas restaurants found far and wide, their smaller European neighbor of Portugal is still fairly unknown for its food abroad. It's a shame however, as Portuguese food is distinctly different to that found in Spain, something well worth trying if you're planning to visit the nation. Here are some dishes you should make sure to eat if you're traveling to Portugal.
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Bacalhau A Bras
With most of the major cities straddling Portugal's long coastline, it's no surprise that seafood features heavily in the country's cuisine. One of the most popular sea eats is cod known as bacalhau in the local language. You'll find the fish prepared in countless ways and dishes in Portugal but one of the most delicious is bacalhau a Bras, a mixture of salted cod, onions and fried thinly sliced potato that's cobbled together with scrambled eggs.
Cataplana de Marisco
A kind of Portuguese seafood stew, it's made with a traditional local cooking pot called a cataplana, shaped like a clam that fastens together, great for locking in flavors. The ingredients are not always the same but usually feature a generous spread of seafood such as prawns, clams, octopus and various kinds of fish.
The francesinha is Portugal's take on the French croque-monsieur, only here it's taken to a whole other level. Usually stuffed full of various meats, it's topped with melted cheese and sometimes an egg before getting doused with a tomato and beer-based sauce. If you can look past the sky-high calorie count, this Portuguese sandwich is comfort food at its best.
Tripas a Moda do Porto
While some might be put off by the addition of 'tripe', this Portuguese stew shows just how when tripe is done right it can be delicious. Accompanied by white beans, carrots, onions, sausage and various spices and herbs, the tripe usually doesn't have an overwhelming flavor and marries perfectly with the other ingredients.
Polvo a Lagareiro
Meaning 'octopus and potatoes' it's another sea creature you'll often find gracing tables around the country. One of the most common ways of cooking it is by roasting octopus and potatoes together in the oven and drizzling olive oil and parsley over it. It's a simple dish but down right delicious.
Pasteis de Bacalhau
It's unlikely that you'll have only one dish involving cod while visiting Portugal and Pasteis de Bacalhau is another delicious way of preparing the coveted fish, by making them into croquettes. The mixture inside usually consists of cod meat, potatoes, onion and garlic which is then breaded and fried until crispy.
Pastel de Nata
Often referred to as Portuguese egg tarts, these delightful sweet treats go perfectly with an espresso or cup of strong coffee. As Portugal's most famous culinary export, you'll find these tarts all over the world nowadays but especially in former Portuguese colonies. The sweet creamy custard filling and flaky pastry are the perfect combination to make this irresistible snack. It's almost impossible to just eat one of these and call it a day, just don't buy too many or you'll probably end up devouring them all in one sitting.
For such a small country, you'd be surprised at just how many culinary delights Portugal has to offer, you could spend months trying to eat famous foods from each region and city around the country. If you can't make it to Portugal but want to try the delicious spread of Portuguese cuisine, consider heading to Macau. Once a Portuguese territory, the special region is full of authentic Portuguese restaurants.