A Glimpse of Portuguese Food

What local food did you enjoy most abroad?

One of our favorite reasons for travel is trying local food. It is an important part of getting to know a new culture and a chance to try something new. While we were in Portugal, we wanted to find some local favorites to try. We were impressed with what we found.

We did a walking tour in Porto, and we asked the guide for local food recommendations. He highly recommended we try this dish, the francesinha. We went to a nearby restaurant called Cafe Santiago, where we saw this monster dish that was sure to give us a heart attack. We decided to split one of these because of the size and were still full. SO GOOD!

Francesinha sandwich in Porto, Portugal

Here is what was in our francesinha:  Bread, bologna, two types of sausage, steak, ham, cheese, fried egg, francesinha sauce.

This next dish was something we tried with one of our Servas hosts called pastel de nata. These are Portuguese custard tarts. We first had them cold and two days old, so we made it a point to find a place to have them fresh. Holee and Mochi approve!

These originated over 300 years ago in Belém, which is just west of Lisbon. Monks created them in the Jerónimos Monastery. Egg whites were used to starch the monks’ clothes, which left the egg yolks to become a major ingredient in this dessert. When the monks needed to get income, they made these pastries to sell. They eventually sold the recipe to a pastry shop in Lisbon in 1837 called Fabric de Pastéis de Belém, which still stands today. You can find these all over Portugal.

The last thing we wanted to mention is that they have these touristy sardine shops around the city where you can find many types of sardines. Some places even have them with different years on them so you can find one with your birth year. Don’t worry, they weren’t canned then.


The last thing we want to mention that is special to the Douro Valley, and Portugal is port wine. You can look forward to that in our next taste.

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4 thoughts on “A Glimpse of Portuguese Food

      1. If you back I recommend taking the subway to Matosinhos just outside of Porto, it is known for the freshest fish and seafood including, of course, grilled sardines!

      2. Thank you for the recommendation. We didn’t spend enough time in Portugal and want to do a revisit. The food and wine are amazing. I loved the sardine shops with floor to ceiling cans. I like fresh fish the best.

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