Though closely related to Mediterranean cuisine, traditional cuisine in Portugal is highly unique due to its variety of culinary influences. It borrows from the flavors of India, Africa, and the Far East, which makes for a traditional cuisine that is rich, full in flavor, and always enjoyable.
Portuguese cuisine is known for its emphasis on seafood, a practice embodied most famously in the traditional dish of caldeirada. This hearty and flavorful stew is made from different types of fish and shellfish, with garlic, potatoes, onions, and tomatoes. It is cooked with a splash of olive oil or white wine, and served with good crusty bread.
On a trip to Portugal, you can also expect to encounter plenty of bacalhau. This is a salted cod that can be prepared and served in many different ways, typically with a side of potatoes.
If it’s good hearty meat you’re after, you can’t go wrong with a classic feijoada. This rich and filling dish is made from beans, and either pork or beef. Other vegetables might accompany the stew, such as cabbage, carrots, or tomatoes, and it is served with a side of rice. Feijoada’s delicious influence can also be found in the cuisine of Brazil, where this dish is a national classic.
Breakfast and Dessert
When it comes to breakfast and dessert, the Portuguese like to keep things simple. A cup of coffee, milk or hot chocolate will accompany fresh bread with butter, cheese, ham or preserves. For dessert you can expect rice pudding, custard, or a simple sweet pastry. You might also be presented with an after dinner cheese board of various regional cheeses.
Another thing to keep in mind when enjoying traditional cuisine in Portugal is time. Lunch and dinner are both served late, with lunch making an appearance around 2-3pm and dinner after 8pm.
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