The article is a quick dig into the traditional Portuguese cuisine in Lisbon.
Taking a dig into the glorious food of Portugal
Lisbon, the capital and largest city of Portugal, is dominant with traditional Portuguese cuisines having many Mediterranean influences. The Portuguese cuisine is typically hearty, relying on fresh ingredients with everything from seafood to sweets and with enough diversity to satisfy every palate.
Despite being heavily fish-based, Portuguese cuisines are notable for the dominant use of various spices like cinnamon, black pepper, saffron and vanilla. Also, there is much more to Lisbon than just salt cods and custard tarts like garlic, herbs such as bay leaf and parsley and the never to forget olive oil used for cooking and flavouring foods. Their fondness for piri piri (small, fiery chili peppers) is also widely known.
Traditionally, the Portuguese breakfast is just coffee and bread roll but lunch is a huge affair with dinner generally being served late. Their meals are often three coursed, including rich cream soups, stews or mains and desserts.
Seafood and Meat
Depending on the region, one can find distinct dishes. No matter where you go, Lisbon’ favourite the dried salted cod ‘Bacalhau’, will make its presence felt. However, one can find other varieties such as fresh-fish and shell-fish as well besides other delicious recipes made of meat, pork and vegetables.
A few traditional Portuguese cuisines are made using seafood and meat, including the ‘Cozido a Portuguesa’, ’Caldeirada’, ’Tripas’ and ‘Alcatra’. The use of sardines is dominant in their daily diet.
Potatoes, tomatoes, onions and cabbages are among the most used vegetables in Portuguese diets. They combine the vegetables with meat, pork or seafood to get rich thick creamy soups. Vegetables are often taken in the form of soup and are frequently developed into a main dish.
One of the most famous soups is the “acorda”, made with stale bread in a flavourful broth of water, olive oil, salt, garlic and fresh coriander and topped with a poached egg. If desired, a slab of bacalhau on the side could also be added.
Portuguese have a keen appetite for desserts like tarts, caramel custard, flan and rice pudding. Their desserts are rich, egg-based and mostly flavoured with cinnamon or vanilla. Pastel de nata, a famous Portuguese pastry, is a small and extremely rich custard tart served warm with powdered cinnamon sprinkled on top.
Though a traditional Portuguese cuisine does not include cheese, it is eaten before or after mains. Their cheese is strongly flavoured and fragrant with wide varieties made from cow’s, goat’s or sheep’s milk. Though, the most famous is the creamy yellow ‘queijo da serra’, other popularly used are ‘Serra da estrela’, ’Queijo de castelo branco’ and ’Queijo sao jorge’.
Wine is a traditional Portuguese drink and is loved in all flavours be it red, white or green. The state is best known for its port wine that has a distinct, powerful flavour and is best served with desserts. Another well known wine is Vinho da madeira, a regional wine from Madeira while North Portugal is popular for ’Duoro vineyards’, a strongly flavoured drink.
The beauty of Portuguese cuisines is a never-ending-affair with their localized produce that includes everything from seafood, meat and pork to spices, cheese and wine. From salt cod to gourmet tapas, Lisbon has everything to keep the spark of the traditional Portuguese cuisine alive for years to come.
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