If you are thinking of moving to Portugal or spending a weekend break in the country, you won't have missed out on the fact that Portugal is famous for its amazing food. Each region has its very own speciality and we have decided to break it down for you so that not a single dish is left out on your gastronomical tour around the country.
Here are 10 dishes that are a must-try if you really want to get know Portugal's typical cuisine in 2020, as well as the best regional restaurants to try them in and holiday rentals in the area:
Papas de Sarrabulho - Minho
You have to be brave to try this traditional Portuguese dish. Papas de Sarrabulho are typical of Minho, in the North of the country, and the dish is a hearty stew made with potatoes, pig's blood, chicken, pork, ham, sausages, cumin, lemon and bread or corn flour. This dish makes for a very tasty meal, perfect to warm you up during a winter visit to Portugal. We recommend Restaurante Carias in Minho for this traditional dish.
Feijoada à transmontana - Trás-os-montes
This bean stew is one of the most traditional Portuguese dishes that you must try on your food tour of the country, and the recipe has served as an inspiration for other dishes like the famous Brazilian feijoada. It’s made with red beans and appeared in the Trás-os-Montes region at a time when there was so little food meaning that farmers would use all the parts of the pig to cook. Try this local delight in the Bons Tempos restaurant in the Vila Real district of Trás-os-montes.
Francesinha - Porto
This sandwich is quite something and not for the faint hearted. Legend tells that it was invented by a Portuguese emigrant in the 70s, who tried to adapt the famous French croque monsieur and make a Portuguese version. This is an absolute must-try if you visit Oporto and is made of just a few simple ingredients: bread, ham, sausage, steak or roasted meat, all covered with melted cheese and a mysterious spicy sauce. To top it all off, this dish is normally served with a large helping of chips. Try out Café Santiago in Porto where you'll be able to taste this local delicacy at its finest.
Ovos moles - Aveiro
This dessert has a monastic origin and is the most typical dish that you will find in the charming town of Aveiro. It is made using just egg yolks and sugar, creating a paste that is then poured into little moulds shaped like shells or fish. If you have a sweet tooth, then this is a sweet treat that you must try in the historical gem of Confeitaria Peixinho, Aveiro.
Queijo da Serra - Beira Alta
This is the perfect stop on our Portuguese food tour for cheese lovers. The queijo da Serra is prepared with milk from the Serra da Estrela sheep in the Beria Alta region, mostly in the winter so the cheese has time to mature for at least thirty days. This delicacy has a strong flavour and smell, and you can eat it when it's matured and firm or when it is still small and creamy, ready to be spread on a slice of bread. Take some home with you from the Solar do Queijo cheese shop, located in Celorico da Beira in the district of Guarda.
Leitão da Bairrada - Beira Litoral
Leitão, or piglet, is roasted in a wood-fired oven and generally eaten on special occasions all over the country, even though it originates in the Bairrada area. People come from all over just to try this succulent dish. We recommend trying it in Rui dos Leitões, Coimbra for an authentic experience.
Caldeirada de peixe - Ribatejo
Caldeirada is a rich stew that is full of flavour and includes different types of fish such as mackerel, monkfish, cod and even some shellfish and originates in the Santarém and Setúbal districts. All this protein is surrounded by a tasty sauce prepared with onions, garlic, tomatoes and spices to give it some extra punch. Make sure you have a nice loaf of bread nearby due to the fact that it’s mandatory to dip it in the sauce for the full experience. Try it out in the well known Lobo do Mar restaurant.
Pastéis de Belém - Lisbon
It is highly likely that you have already heard about Portugal's famous pastéis de nata and you might have tasted one or two, but we can assure you that nothing compares to the pastéis de Belém you will find in Lisbon. The recipe for these tasty, little pastries filled with custard dates back to 1837 from an old Jerónimo monastery and is kept secret by its expert makers. If you add the mystery surrounding these local delicacies it to their amazing flavour, then you will be able to understand why the British newspaper The Guardian named it the world's 15th most delicious dessert. Don't miss out on trying them in the Pastéis de Belém shop in Lisbon.
Choco frito - Setúbal
This is Setúbal’s star dish and you won't want to miss out on trying it. If you are in the area or relatively close (the city is just one hour away from Lisbon by train), make sure you try this dish of fried cuttlefish served with chips and a slice of lemon. Perfect to enjoy on a seaside terrace! Portuguese fish and chips! Try it out at the Rei Do Choco Frito restaurant in Setúbal.
Migas - Alentejo
This is a hearty dish that will keep your hunger at bay for quite a while. The ingredients are bread, made in this southern region of Portugal, olive oil, garlic, pork, tomatoes, red peppers and fresh coriander. This traditional dish is usually served as a side dish, so you can expect to end up pretty full. Try out this tasty dish in Taberna do Adro restaurant in Elvas.