Influenced by Mediterranean cuisine, Portuguese food heavily relies on seafood. From crispy whole sardines to dried and salted cod, these are the dishes to try in Lisbon and beyond. Known for its wealth of seafood, spices, and olive oil, Portuguese cuisine relies heavily on the Atlantic Ocean and the produce is grown throughout the country. When making a journey to this country, you must try the best dishes in Portugal. Here is a list of the top popular Portuguese dishes to eat.
Top Popular Portuguese Dishes
1. Caldo Verde
From the north of Portugal, comes Caldo Verde, the famous Portuguese soup. This is one of the most popular soups and Portuguese dishes.
While Caldo Verde soup is particularly popular in the winter, you can enjoy it all year round, whether it is warm or cold outside. The soup is green in color and made with a particular dark green cabbage that is not widely available beyond Portugal’s borders. Substitutes include collard greens or kale.
Wonderful flavors from the combination of potato puree, slices of chouriço sausage and local Portuguese olive oil, complete this delicious and hearty soup. The soup is simple, full of flavor, and delicious textures.
2. Feijoada à portuguesa
Feijoada is a hearty bean stew that appears in several local and international varieties. Although it is often assumed that feijoada originated in Brazil, where it is considered a national dish, it was primarily made in Portugal before it was introduced to Brazil.
The Portuguese version is believed to have originated in the north of Portugal, but today it appears in several versions throughout the country. It is usually made with red kidney or white beans, while the additions usually include pork, beef, blood sausage (morcela), farinheira sausage, or chouriço. Some variations also include vegetables. Similar versions of feijoada are found in most Portuguese colonies, including Brazil, Macau, Angola, Mozambique.
Migas is a traditional, ancient dish in Spanish and Portuguese cuisine. At its base, it is made from softened bread cooked in fat. Its name, migas, is literally translated to crumbs, referring to its key ingredient – breadcrumbs.
In Spain, the ingredients vary from region to region. Generally, the dish consists of water-soaked bread, garlic, paprika, and olive oil. Regional varieties include ingredients such as spinach, chorizo, and bacon. It is usually served as an appetizer before the main meal.
In Portugal, Migas is made with wheat or corn bread crumbs, garlic, and olive oil.
Petiscos are the lesser-known Portuguese relatives of tapas, essentially small versions of large plates. The practice of eating petiscos originates from the Iberian Peninsula. They can be found in taverns or cafés called tascas, or in petisqueiras, bars and restaurants that serve them with beer and Portuguese wines.
These snacks vary from one bar or petisqueria to another, and some of them include salada de polvo (octopus salad), pipis or moelas (chicken giblets), caracois (snails in a garlic broth), bifanas (pork sandwiches), bolinhos de bacalhau (cod croquettes), presunto (cured Iberian ham), pica pau (small pieces of marinated meat and pickled vegetables), porco na banha (pork cooked in lard), choco frito (fried cuttlefish), and many more.
5. Arroz de tamboril
Tamboril is Portuguese for monkfish, and while it’s not as popular as bacalhau (cod), it’s just as ubiquitous in the country’s cuisine.
You’ll find chunks of flaky white fish stirred into a tomato stew peppered with garlic, laurel, and rice, which soaks up the excess moisture. It’s similar to risotto and most often found in coastal towns around the country.
Bifanas are traditional Portuguese pork sandwiches, so popular that you’ll find them everywhere in the country.
These Portuguese sandwiches are made of succulent marinated pork served in crunchy white bread. The marinade is made with spices including paprika, garlic, and white wine. The bread has a crunchy crust on the outside while being soft on the inside.
Bifanas can be served with a bowl of soup and fries for a full meal at lunch or dinner time. Or served with beer, for a typical late night Portuguese snack.
There are several variations of the bifanas Portugal sandwiches. You can add more ingredients to your sandwich such as eggs, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, or stick with the traditional one.
Each eatery that makes bifanas will have its own secret recipe for the marinade.