Traditional Portuguese Food
Portugal is an ideal place to eat, drink and be merry! You can choose from a wide spread of delicious, home-baked dishes, many of which are healthy and fulfilling. You can also follow the Portuguese and indulge in some of the most exquisite, sugar-loaded sweet goodies, and forget the waistline, and the dentist. Although most regions have their own special dishes, some meals are common to the whole country.
Not to be missed are the substantial soups (sopas), many made with potato puree and very wholesome; try the caldo verde, made from shredded kale.
For main meals typical meat dishes may include:
carne de porco a alentejana - pork with clams
leitao assado - roast sucking pig
bife de porco/de vaca - pork/beef steak
tripas a moda do Porto - Oporto-style tripe
figado com arroz - liver with rice
feijoada - bean stew with black pudding.
And for fish, the famous bacalhau (salted cod fish) is available in a variety of ways. Other popular fish dishes are:
lulas fritas - grilled squid
bacalhau a bras - cod with eggs and potatoes
arroz de marisco - seafood rice
pescada - hake
sardinhas assadas - grilled sardines
caldeirada - fish stew
Most restaurants do seem to serve chips with a lot of dishes, although you are more likely to get boiled potatoes with fish. However, you can always order a tasty side salad (uma salada mista) to go with your meal instead.
These include chocolate mousse, almond cake, fruit or ice cream, and if your teeth are up to it, try the delicious dose de ovos, made from eggs and sugar.
The Portuguese don't often eat a breakfast (pequeno-almoco) as such, rather just a coffee, maybe a bread roll. You will see most people have a quick bite in a cafe just before nipping into work. Lunch (almoco) can be a long drawn out affair, usually from 1 - 3 pm, and even in the heat of the summer, the Portuguese eat hot meals in a cafe. Dinner (jantar) is not eaten as late as in Spain - about 8 pm is the norm - and again is a cooked meal. The day's work is interspersed with numerous cups of black coffee. The Portuguese like their food, and large portions are usual in eating places. One thing you can do is ask for meia-dose (half-portion), which is quite legitimate. A service charge is not usually included; tip at your discretion, more at dinner than lunch.