Portugal’s reputation as a remarkable travel destination has been skyrocketing over the last 5-10 years. It is full of history from its past as a colonial power and is arguably one of the top destinations in the world for wine lovers due to its incredible wine regions. Portugal is also well known among foodies for the sheer volume of great food available. No matter where you are in the country, a great meal is never far away. And the best part is that you don’t need to make reservations at a fancy restaurant to enjoy the best that Portugal has to offer. Just explore the city streets! Portugal’s street food culture rivals Singapore for authentic, delicious food at a great price. Here are some of the best foods to try during your visit to Portugal!
Bolinhos de Bacalhau
Perhaps the most popular street food in the country and also known as pastéis de bacalhau in the south, this dish is a tasty fritter with a cod base. It contains dry salted cod, onions, parsley, eggs, mashed potatoes, and a blend of spices. This mixture is shaped into spheres and then fried until golden brown on the outside. While you can get this as an appetizer at some Portuguese restaurants, you can make it a main course at any of the numerous food stands in Portugal’s cities – pair with rice, a fresh salad, and some Portuguese vinho!
Portugal loves sandwiches, and the Bifana is probably the most well-regarded throughout the country. It is very simple at first glance, consisting of a bread roll and some marinated pork steaks. However, the simplicity of the dish also lends itself to regional variations. The typical marinade is a garlic sauce – however, the northern part of the country uses a spicy variation which they also drizzle on top of the rolls. Lisbon and some southern cities serve the sandwich with mustard. And other places will serve it with sauteed onions! No matter how it is served, chances are that it will fill you up and keep you fueled on a long day of exploration.
The island of Madeira is home to a special type of wine-making that draws in travelers. Madeira also has a long tradition of grilled beef, and you can have some of this for yourself on the streets of the villages of the island. Espetada consists of beef which has been marinaded in salt and garlic and then skewered on a bay leaf stick before being grilled over open hot coals. It is very delicious when paired with some madeira wine!
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