Visiting Portugal? These are the “petiscos” you must try
If you are on a diet, oh dear… You are gonna have a difficult time visiting Portugal.
One of the strongest reasons to love this country is our gastronomy and, believe us, we know a lot about eating. You can find amazing gourmet restaurants and New Age food but if you want a good advice, you must try our traditional dishes. Spanish call it tapas, we call it “petiscos”: an amazing diversity of entries, snacks, and small dishes that will make your mouth cry for more.
Portuguese gastronomy it’s included in the Mediterranean diet – Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO – but has also Atlantic roots. Fish, seafood, bread, olive oil, and meat are everywhere combined with tasty vegetables cooked in thousand different ways.
To help you in the middle of SO much offer, we organized a “must-try” list of seven irresistible “petiscos”:
1. PASTEL DE NATA/ PASTEL DE BELÉM
Pastel de Belém was elected in 2011 one of the 7 Wonders of Portuguese Gastronomy. It’s also known as “Pastel de nata” and can be found in almost every Portuguese café. If you are coming to visit Lisboa you shall know that the ones made through the original receipt – that is still a secret – are at Rua de Belém nº 84. As almost every ancient recipe from Portuguese monasteries and convents, Pastel de Nata is made mostly of eggs and sugar what makes it taste like heaven!
2. PASTEL DE BACALHAU
You know, codfish is our biggest crush. We know one thousand ways of cooking this awesome Atlantic fellow and, we have to admit, Pastel de Bacalhau or Bolinho de Bacalhau is one of our favorite. You can find it everywhere, from restaurants to cafes or at any grandma house! Made of potatoes, parsley, eggs and, of course, codfish.
3. AMEIJOAS À BOLHÃO PATO
Oh, my! If you are a seafood fan you are so gonna love this one. Its origin comes from the western center of our country and the oldest told us that the name honors a poet. It’s perfect to eat as an entry once is made of the extraordinary mix of clams, garlic, olive oil and white wine.
4. PICA PAU
Well, well meat lovers, this one was thought of you. Portuguese taverns have a special care about Pica Pau, it’s made of meat fried in small pieces with pickles, the traditional recipe is with pork but also can be made with beef.
5. PREGO EM BOLO DO CACO
Directly from Madeira Island, Bolo do Caco is a typical wheat bread that when combined with vegetables, cheese, eggs and a good beef we call it “Prego em Bolo de Caco”. There are many places to find it, but Madeira gives you de original experience.
Photo: Sabores do Curral
6. AZEITONAS CURTIDAS
“Curtidas” is a term for one traditional treatment of olives in order to become edible. In order to be able to eat the olives, we have to tan it so they can lose their characteristic bitter taste. It evolves simple ingredients such as water and salt and Portuguese people love it.
Oh, lupines…You are gonna find them literally everywhere. Portuguese can’t resist eating some well-cooked lupines while drinking beer, and that is for sure a native experience. You just need to take off the peel with a little bite and chew the inside really well because lupines can be a bit stodgy.