With just two full days in the Portuguese capital, I tried to my best to sample the local produce! Here’s how I got on…..
Without doubt, the one thing you MUST eat whilst in Lisbon is the iconic Pastéis de Nata – or Portuguese Custard Tart. Made of puff pastry, filled with egg custard and optionally dusted with cinnamon, these are dangerously delicious. They are best consumed from a bakery where you can see them being freshly made.
Next up is another national icon – the Prego. A sandwich of garlicky beef served in a Portuguese roll. I sampled a Prego at ‘O Prego da Peixaria’ at the Time Out Market – which is a must visit place for foodies. It features the city’s best restaurants, bars and shops alongside long-running market vendors and a high-end music venue.
Shellfish is another staple of Portuguese cuisine. I never have to be asked twice to sample seafood and the Time Out Market provided opportunity for this.
Bacalhau is another Portuguese obsession. It is dried and salted cod fish, that is eaten in a variety of dishes. I sampled Pastéis de bacalhau (salt cod fritters) during a Foodie Tuk Tuk tour with Live Portugal.
Everyone loves sardines in Lisbon, whether from the grill or the can! There’s even a month long festival dedicated to sardines! The best time to sample fresh sardines is between June and October (otherwise they are probably frozen). Visiting in February I stuck to the canned variety, which can be found all over Lisbon. There are a number of shops selling just canned fish, everything from sardines to mackerel, octopus and even the aforementioned codfish.
Ginja is a cherry liqueur, made from Morello or sour cherries, and served in a Ginjinha bar. There are two varieties of Ginja, ‘com’ or ‘sem’, with or without a liqueur soaked cherry! Portuguese Grandparents swear by Ginja as a wonder cure for all manner of illnesses! Their love of this drink has been passed onto the younger generations. It’s a must try in Lisbon!
Being a Barista, I’m always intrigued how coffee is brewed and served when on my travels. In Lisbon the preferred style of coffee is the ‘Bica’ – Portugal’s version of the espresso. Bica stands for ‘Beba isso com açúcar’ or ‘drink this with sugar’.
Lisbon’s food scene is so much more than the custard tarts. Proximity to the coast means that fish and shellfish abound, whether fresh, salted, dried or canned. The humble sandwich is a popular late-night snack, in the form of Bifana (stewed pork sandwich) or Prego (garlicky steak sandwich). Small plates are popular, as is Frango (rotisserie chicken) with piri piri sauce. Not to mention the World class cheeses and wines.
Lisbon is another tick off my foodie bucket list. The Time Out Market and Foodie Tuk Tuk tour were particular highlights. Highly recommended.