Portuguese cuisine is very different from other European cuisines, as it is actually in an isolated position. Initially, the cuisine of this country was designed for fishermen and peasants, and therefore is simple and satisfying, basically meat, fish and vegetables. In the manufacture of most dishes, pepper, garlic, onion, tomato, vinegar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, spicy and aromatic herbs, and cheeses are used.
Since Portugal is a maritime country, there are many seafood dishes and various varieties of fish in its cuisine. Portuguese chefs know about 300 ways to cook cod. The main cod dish is bacalhau, dried cod. Charcoal grilled sardines are the most popular. Also widely used are perch, trout, mackerel and exotic swordfish, monkfish, cuttlefish and octopuses. The national dish is sarrabulo, a pork and liver stew in red wine. Paella is very popular among both tourists and locals. This is a kind of pilaf, which includes chicken, veal, pork, lard and raw fish fillet. In Portugal, stuffed vegetables are common: tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, zucchini. Boiled rice with meat or sautéed roots and greens are used as minced meat, and more often canned sprats (especially with pepper). Soups are more like thick mashed potatoes or porridge in consistency. The most common first course in Portugal is the so-called “stone soup”, which includes chicken legs, smoked sausage, beef, vegetables and spices. Meat – pork, beef, lamb, young goat meat – is cooked with a lot of spices, so it turns out very fragrant. Butter and margarine are practically not put anywhere, replacing it with olive oil, so meat dishes are low-fat. As a side dish for meat or fish, you will most likely be served vegetables, rice or potatoes.
According to TOP-MEDICAL-SCHOOLS, the country is famous for sweet dishes. Desserts are sold here on every corner, but the best ones, according to the locals, are worth looking for in the capital. In the Belem district of Lisbon, there is a bakery that bakes the most delicious cakes in Portugal every day. The popularity of these cakes has long spread beyond the borders of the country. As for fruits, you should try pineapples from the Azores, considered one of the best in the world, and bananas from Madeira.
Portugal has a huge number of wines – white, red, pink and green (the latter are only in Portugal). All these wines are dry, with the exception of Madeira and Port. The first vineyards in the country began to be cultivated by the Phoenicians around 600 BC. In 219 BC, when the Romans invaded Portugal, the Phoenician plantations had already grown rapidly and became the center of winemaking in the western Roman province. Some experts argue that Phoenician plantations have survived to our time, their age is now more than 2,500 years, and there are no similar grape varieties anywhere else in the world. Portuguese wines are soft, neither harsh nor tart. The most famous wines are from the Dao and Douro regions.
The traditional lunch time is from 12:00 to 15:00. Dinner is quite early, so some restaurants close as early as 21:30-22:00. The food is inexpensive – you can eat a whole lunch for 5 euros. Wine is served by the bottle and is no more expensive than water.