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Best Eats in Portugal

Portugal has so much to offer visitors, but in-between sightseeing and sunbathing, make time to enjoy the variety of authentic Portuguese food available to you. From markets to restaurants to small cafes, there’s never a shortage of things to eat! Portugal is world-renown for its seafood and spices, but truly excels in all the culinary arenas: be it soup, dessert, or drinks, you’ll have your pick of delicious meals!

Photo Credit: Cookdiary.net

Photo Credit: Cookdiary.net

1. Bacalhau

Bacalhau, otherwise known as king codfish, is a national obsession in Portugal. There are hundreds of different variations on this classic meal, but it’s traditionally served “à Brás” with eggs, olives, and fries. If you’re looking to try authentic Portuguese food, bacalhau has to be at the top of your list!

2. Cozido

Cozido is the meal that unites the northern and southern regions of Portugal: typically eaten as part of a big lunch, it’s a stew filled with beef, pig, chicken, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, turnips, and an array of sausages. This dish may sound odd, but it comes together as a delicious rich, savory meal beloved by the Portuguese.

3. Queijo

No trip to Portugal would be complete without taking time to drool over the country’s many selections of cheese. The Serra da Estrela cheese is specifically famous for its wonderful taste and rich cultural background. This cheese comes from the highest point in Portugal and the mountain it takes its name from, the Serra da Estrela. On the mountain, traditional shepherds (and their loyal sheepdogs!) dedicate their lives to herding the sheep responsible for making the delicious, gooey cheese. 

4. Peixe Grelhado

Eating grilled fish in Portugal is an experience you can not miss-- wander through any market, be it in a big city or tiny coastal town, and you’ll discover the many display cases of fish for you to choose from. Olhao’s waterfront market is particularly famed for its seafood, so why not grab a bite to eat as you stroll through the crowds?

5. Café

Portugal is well-known for its “coffee culture.” People always find time for a coffee break, and love to sit around a cup while they talk. It helps that the coffee in Portugal is so good-- rich and strong, the smells of roasted coffee beans will captivate your senses the moment you walk down the city streets. 

6. Arroz de marisco 

Rice is a staple food throughout all of Europe, but no country consumes as much as Portugal-- meaning that the Portuguese know how to create some pretty delicious rice dishes. Arroz de marisco is one such meal: rice cooked in a garlic and cilantro-infused tomato sauce, and topped with all the shellfish you can eat. 

7. Pasteis de Nata

These little custard tarts are the quintessential Portuguese dessert. Everyone makes their tarts a little differently, so you’ll have an excuse to try one everywhere you go in Portugal! If you can’t get enough, head to Lisbon to visit one of the oldest houses of production for these delicious desserts. 

Now that you've read about all of the foods that we love in Portugal now it's your time to try one of our favorite foods out! Here is an easy recipe for our Pasteis de Nata (Portuguese Egg Tarts) below!

  • 1 cup milk

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1/2 vanilla bean or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 6 egg yolks

  • 1 (17.5 ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C.) Lightly grease 12 muffin cups and line bottom and sides with puff pastry.

In a saucepan, combine milk, cornstarch, sugar and vanilla. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Place egg yolks in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture into egg yolks. Gradually add egg yolk mixture back to remaining milk mixture, whisking constantly. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, or until thickened. Remove vanilla bean.

Fill pastry-lined muffin cups with mixture and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is lightly browned on top.

But let's say you don't want to make these yourselves - why not travel to Portugal and try them from a local café or restaurant? We have our Portugal expeditions going out year round - check out our expedition HERE!

Blog Post Author: Hannah Hunt