15 Most Popular Portuguese Food You Can’t Wait To Enjoy

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When you think about traditional Portuguese food, what comes to mind? 

Besides the famous Portuguese egg tarts or pastel de nata, can you name other local Portuguese dishes?

Portuguese cuisine is often overshadowed by the culinary traditions of its famous neighbors, Spain, Italy, and France, 

The Portuguese love good food, and this simple joy permeates all aspects of life. 

You’ll find many regional Portuguese dishes across the country, emphasizing fish, meat, olive oil, bread, tomato, herbs, and spices.

The food in Portugal is made with simple ingredients that are impeccably prepared. 

The flavors are fresh and wholesome. And the list of local wines and beverages to wash everything down is extensive.

After exploring the local specialties in Portugal, we share 15 local and popular Portuguese dishes you should not miss.

Bom apetite!

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1. Caldo Verde – Iconic Traditional Portuguese Food

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Beautiful mix of flavors and textures in this Caldo Verde soup

From the north of Portugal comes Caldo Verde, the famous Portuguese soup. This is one of the most popular soups and typical Portuguese dishes. 

While Caldo Verde soup is particularly popular in the winter, you can enjoy it all year round, whether it is warm or cold outside.

The soup is green in color and made with a particular dark green cabbage that is not widely available beyond Portugal’s borders. Substitutes include collard greens or kale. 

Wonderful flavors from the combination of potato puree, slices of chouriço sausage, and local Portuguese olive oil complete this delicious and hearty soup.

We enjoyed caldo verde on several occasions. The soup is simple and full of flavor and delicious textures.

While in Portugal, don’t miss the delightful flavors of this famous food.

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPE: If you want to make this traditional Portuguese soup at home, our simple recipe will have you tasting Portugal in no time- How to Make Caldo Verde a Comforting Portuguese Kale Soup

2.  Bacalhau or Portuguese Cod Fish – A Treasured Portuguese Food

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Salted Portuguese codfish or bacalhau at a local Porto supermarket

No trip to Portugal would be complete without indulging in this Portuguese traditional food. 

Bacalhau or codfish is a national obsession. In Portugal, there are over 365 ways of preparing bacalhau dishesone for each day of the year.

We loved the simplicity of this typical Portuguese seafood dish. The rich flavors and the multiple ways of eating it. 

Bacalhau even landed on our personal list of  “top 100 authentic food experiences to have before I die.”

You’ll find Portuguese codfish prepared in many different ways. From grilled, baked, canned, and fried, you’ll easily find your eating pleasure.

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Bacalhau a bras with asparagus and olives

Our favorite version is the Bacalhau à brás. This is a codfish and egg scramble that is very popular. 

It is made with thin strips of Portuguese codfish mixed together with potatoes, eggs, onions, garlic, and olives and topped with chopped parsley.

Simple and uncomplicated, this is one of the most typical dishes not to miss in Portugal.

If you are curious and want to try Bacalhau, have it delivered to you by Amazon.

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPE: Bacalhau à brás is a simple and delicious meal to make at home. Our easy How to Make Bacalhau a Bras at Home Recipe takes you through the simple steps.

3. Bolinhos de Bacalhau – Portugal’s Popular Fried Cod Fish Cakes

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Two fried codfish cakes and other local delights

Of all the myriad ways of eating bacalhau, or what the Portuguese refer to as their “fiel amigo” or faithful friend, are codfish cakes.

Bolinhos de Bacalhau are crispy cod fritters typically eaten as a simple snack or starter.

They are a staple on most restaurant menus and are served hot or cold, with a side salad or rice.

In the north of Portugal, they are known as bolinhos de bacalhau and pasteis de bacalhau everywhere else.

The recipe for this beloved traditional Portuguese dish calls for a heavy presence of cod and mashed potatoes and plenty of parsley, onions, and eggs. 

The ingredients are mixed and then shaped into balls before being deep-fried.

We particularly enjoyed these delicious little bites served hot and as appetizers.

You may find these cod fritters, sometimes referred to as croquettes.

Whatever name they take on the menu, don’t miss this flavorful and delightful popular Portuguese food.

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: If your travels take you to Lisbon, we recommend taking a Libson food to try and learn about traditional Portuguese cuisine. See our selection of 7 of the Best Lisbon Food Tours To Take

4. Grilled Sardines –  Celebrated Portuguese Seafood Dishes

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Grilled Portuguese sardines with steamed potatoes

Grilled Portuguese sardines or sardinhas asadas is the summertime food of choice in Portugal. 

In June, the smell of grilled sardines infuses the streets of Lisbon for the whole month. That’s when Lisbon hosts the most popular festival dedicated to sardines.  

The Day of Saint Anthony or Santo António Festival celebrates grilled sardines on June 12th and 13th. 

From there, it kicks off the season for Festas de Sardinha all over Portugal, where several summer festivals are dedicated to sardines.

Why are sardines so popular? Historically, the Portuguese have relied heavily on seafood for food and commerce due to their proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.

Portuguese sardines are primarily consumed fresh with about 12 tons of sardines eaten per person every year.

The best time to eat fresh Portuguese sardines is during the peak season between June and August. 

Fresh, grilled sardines are eaten directly from the charcoal grill, marinated with delicious Portuguese olive oil, and served with salads, rice, or potatoes. 

Simply delicious, this is a feast for the tastebuds.

READ MORE: 15 Of The Best Restaurants to Eat like a Local in Lisbon

5. Petiscos – Canned Portuguese Sardines

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Tasting of canned sardines, tuna and mackerel

Portugal is also historically known for fish preservation, with canned sardines being one of its most popular culinary staples.

 In recent years, eating canned sardines has become a gourmet activity, especially in Lisbon and Porto.

You will find canned Portuguese sardines typically served as petiscos or Portuguese tapas (small bites) at many bars and restaurants.

Presented in beautiful cans with artsy designs, the sardines are preserved in various condiments and ingredients. 

From the simple olive oil, lemon, and tomato sauce to the more creative red pepper fennel, curry, or chickpeas. 

In Portugal, you’ll find a can of Portuguese sardines for every taste. 

If you would Portuguese sardines delivered to your home, this wood gift box with sardines in 5 different sauces is available on Amazon.

RELATED: 10 Best Lisbon Wine Tours: From Winery Visits To Porto Tasting

6. Bifanas – The National Portuguese Sandwich

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Scrumptious Bifanas sandwich with egg, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and bacon

Bifanas are traditional Portuguese pork sandwiches, so popular that you’ll find them everywhere in the country. 

The Portuguese sandwiches are made of succulent, marinated pork served with crusty white bread. 

The marinade is typically made with white wine and spices such as paprika and garlic, though each eatery has its own secret recipe.

Bifanas can be served with soup and fries for a full meal or with beer for a typical late-night Portuguese snack.

There are several variations of the bifana sandwich. You can add more ingredients to these Portuguese sandwiches, like a fried egg, bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes, or stick with the traditional one.

The original bifana recipe is said to come from Vendas Novas, a small town in the Alentejo region.

While little is known about the original recipe, every Bifana eatery claims to make its own version of the original.

As far as sandwiches go, the bifana ranks as one of our favorites. You’ll find the perfect combination of crunchy bread and flavorful pork that’s so good you won’t want to miss a bite.

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPE: This universally loved traditional Portuguese food is easy to make at home. Use our simple Bifana Recipe – How To Make The Best Portuguese Sandwich

7. Francesinha Sandwich – The Famous Portuguese Food from Porto

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Francesinha sandwich, the most popular Porto food

The Francesinha sandwich is an impressive plated sandwich that will make your “heart sing.”

In Porto, it is a very popular Portuguese food that you will see on almost every menu. 

Made with bread, ham, sausages, and steak, the sandwich is typically covered with melted cheese and an egg on top. 

What makes the francesinha unique is the secret sauce that each Portuguese restaurant prepares in its own special way. 

The sauce is typically a hot, thick tomato and beer sauce used to dip or “flood” your sandwich. And the best part is that you can ask for more as needed, for no additional cost.

Francesinha literally means “little French girl.” It is said to have been brought to Porto by an emigrant returning back from France. 

This sandwich is an adaptation of the French toasted sandwich, croque-monsieur.

Served with a side of french fries, this famous Porto food packs calories, with loads of meats, cheese, and sauce combined.

Although it is quite heavy, it is surprisingly delightful. This is a flavorful Portuguese sandwich from Porto to enjoy in moderation.

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPE: Savor the tastes of the most famous sandwich in Porto with our Francesinha Recipe: Scrumptious Porto Sandwich To Make and Love

8. Piri Piri Chicken – Outstanding Portuguese Chicken Dish

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Spicy food lovers will enjoy this Portuguese food – Photo credit: Kolforn on Wikimedia by cc 4.0

During the Age of Exploration in the 15th and 16th centuries, Portuguese explorers traveled through coastal Africa and discovered many new spices.

One of the spices was a small spicy chili pepper known as Piri-Piri, Peri-Peri, or “African devil.”

Today, Portuguese chicken covered in piri-piri, served with french fries and lettuce, tomato, and onion salad is a Portuguese national dish.

The chicken or frango, as it is known in Portuguese, is cut up in such a way that makes it easy for you to tuck in and get all the juicy bites around the bones. 

You want to eat this chicken using your hands. Locals do not use a fork and knife. 

You may be familiar with the popular chain Nando’s, originally from South Africa, with Portuguese and Mozambique inspiration. 

Nando’s has spread chicken peri-peri globally, though you will not find Nando’s in Portugal.

Piri piri chicken in Portugal is sold at churrascarias which you’ll find in every neighborhood throughout the country.

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: If your travels take you to Lisbon and you want to learn to make any of these Portuguese recipes, consider taking a cooking class. See our guide to 6 of The Best Cooking Classes In Lisbon 

9. Polvo à la Lagareiro – Traditional Portuguese Octopus Dish 

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Polvo à la Lagareiro – octopus perfectly prepared with baked potatoes and olive oil

Portuguese cuisine is famous for its delicious seafood. Beyond Bacalhau and sardines, octopus or polvo is another popular seafood dish loved by all.

Polvo à la lagareiro is a famous food in Portugal that you will find across the country. Lagareiro is a popular way of cooking seafood which includes using generous amounts of Portuguese olive oil

Portuguese olive oil is a vital ingredient in Portuguese cuisine, particularly in seafood dishes.

In this traditional Portuguese food, the octopus is typically served with roasted potatoes. The potatoes and the octopus are baked with herbs, onions, and garlic.

Polvo à la lagareiro is deceptively simple to make and is one of the most delicious dishes you’ll find in Portugal.

The octopus, when well cooked, is really tender and flavorful. The Portuguese olive oil adds a unique, fruity, and slightly bitter taste to this seafood dish.

With this popular Portuguese dish, you’ll find yourself enjoying octopus as you’ve never before.

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPE: Bring the flavors of this popular Portuguese seafood dish to your kitchen. See the step-by-step guide in our Polvo A Lagareiro Recipe: How To Make Octopus Portuguese Style

10. World Famous Porco Preto – Exceptional Portuguese Cured Ham

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Grilled Alentejo black pork plumas

One of the most expensive cured hams in the world is Jamon Iberico de Bellota from Spain.

What is not commonly known is that the same pigs are found in Portugal, across the border from Spain, in the Alentejo region.

In Spanish, the pigs are known as Iberico pigs, and some are raised in Portugal in the Alentejo region.

Across the border in Portugal, the pigs are known as raça Alentejana. The pigs roam freely in the countryside, eating acorns of cork and holm oak trees.

The Alentejo black pigs produce amazing Portuguese ham with exceptional flavors. While in Portugal, we explored the food in Evora, the capital of the Alentejo region. 

The luscious flavors of the high-quality and exceptional black pork or porco preto were mind-blowing.

On your travels to Portugal, you will definitely want to eat pork. You’ll find Portuguese pork on restaurant menus and in dishes like plumas or secretos, which is pork shoulder. 

And it is also quite popular in Portuguese tapas, known as presunto.

Don’t miss the exceptional porco preto. The flavors are second to none. 

This celebrated Portuguese black pork is unique to Southeastern Portugal and will simply melt in your mouth.

READ MORE: Evora Food Guide: 11 Alentejo Foods and The Best Restaurants To Eat Them

11. Alheira – Most Surprising Portuguese Sausage

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Grilled Alheira sausages, a simply delightful Portugal food

Alheira is a traditional Portuguese food with a fascinating background. These sausage were created by Portuguese Jews and are part of traditional Portuguese gastronomy.

These sausages from the northern region of Portugal are rich in flavor and history. 

In the late 1400s, during the time of the Portuguese Inquisition, Jews in Portugal were forced to convert to Christianity.

So they invented alheira as a way to hang sausages from their smokehouses and disguise themselves as Christians.

But instead of using pork, they made alheira with a combination of chicken, rabbit, duck, or quail and created a horseshoe-shaped sausage.

In time, alheira spread throughout to become a popular Portuguese food.

Alheira is most commonly eaten as an appetizer, and it is also popular as a main dish. 

It is grilled or lightly fried and typically served with rice, salad, and fries and topped with a fried egg.

RELATED: Top 10 Authentic Foods You Want to Delight in Porto

12. Arroz de Pato – Portuguese Duck Rice 

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Delicious meaty rice dish

One of the best Portuguese dishes to try is arroz de pato, or duck rice. 

It’s a comforting, traditional dish made with shredded duck, chouriço, onions, wine, and savory, aromatic rice. 

The signature duck rice is one of the most popular Portuguese dishes. The rice is cooked in the juices of the duck and a little extra broth.

What results is a meaty, flavored, moist rice that’s a little crunchy due to being put in the oven at the last minute.

This traditional Portuguese rice dish is packed with flavor and aromas. In Portugal, locals often enjoy arroz de pato at home on Sundays or for special occasions.  

Seafood lovers can try arroz de marisco, or Portuguese seafood rice, made with a variety of shellfish, peppers, tomatoes, and fresh herbs.

Whichever filling rice dish you prefer, you will surely enjoy this taste of traditional Portugal food.

13. Serra da Estrela – Portuguese Cheese

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You can eat this cheese in sweet or salty combinations

The variety of artisanal Portuguese cheeses surprised us while exploring local Portuguese food specialties. 

Throughout the country, from north to south, there are amazing Portuguese cheeses, with some protected with the designation of origin labels (PDO).

Serra da Estrela, a PDO cheese, is one of Portugal’s most famous cheeses. 

The cheese known as Queijo Serra da Estrela is a sheep cheese produced with milk from sheep raised in Serra de Estrela, the highest mountain range in north-central Portugal.

Serra da Estrela is pale yellow in color with a sweet, clean, and slightly sour taste.

One reason this cheese is so popular is its versatility. It can be enjoyed fresh with a bit of salt and pepper or sweet, topped with honey, nuts, or preserves.

This cheese is also in traditional Portuguese dishes, especially dishes that are made with salted cod.

In 2014, Queijo Serra da Estrela was added to the Ark of Taste, a catalog maintained by the  Slow Food Foundation.

14.  Pastel de Nata – Iconic Portuguese Dessert

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Absolutely amazing Pastéis de Nata from Manteigaria in Lisbon

Pastel de nata or Pastéis de natas (in plural) is an iconic and famous Portuguese dessert.

While every pastry shop has its own version, the sweet and creamy Portuguese egg tarts are made of flour, butter, eggs, cinnamon, and sugar.

Lots of butter is layered in the dough, giving the shells their crispy, crackling texture. 

Pastel de nata is served warm with a small strong cup of Portuguese coffee, called bica in Lisbon. 

One bite into this sweet, crispy, creamy custard will make your eyes roll in delight. And, be warned, as they are deliciously addictive.

Did you know that the original Portuguese egg tart is actually called Pastel de Belém? 

Pastéis de natas are said to have originated in a Belém pastry shop in 1837. They were made by Monks who were expelled during a revolution in 1820 and began baking pastries to make money.

Today, the bakery shop, Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém has preserved the traditional recipe. They bake over 10,000 Portuguese egg tarts daily to serve the many visitors seeking to taste this unique treat. 

This is the only store that can sell these Portuguese pastries under the name Pastel de Belém.  

After eating many mouthwatering pastéis de nata egg tarts, our preference goes to the original Pastel de Belém.

Our second favorite is the Pastel de Nata from Manteigueira in Lisbon, featured in our Lisbon food tour article.

READ MORE: 12 of the Most Authentic Portuguese Desserts and Where to Enjoy Them

15.  Portuguese Desserts – Conventual Portuguese Treats  

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Creamy Tíbias de Braga Portuguese dessert

Beyond pastéis de nata, the most popular Portuguese desserts are what the Portuguese call conventual desserts.

Conventual desserts are pastries that were created in convents and monasteries, typically made with lots of egg yolks and large amounts of sugar. Other common ingredients are almonds or cinnamon. 

Traditionally, egg whites were used in convents to starch the priest’s clothing and the nuns’ robes. 

Left with the egg yolks and time to kill, the nuns had to get creative. Making the most delicious and famous desserts became a tradition in Portugal. 

As a result, every city and every region has its own conventual desserts, competing for the best-in-class Portuguese desserts.

In Sintra, you can taste the Queijadas de Sintra and can compare it with Queijadas de Evora from Evora.

In Braga, you’ll experience the traditional Tíbias de Braga, a puff pastry filled with a soft sweet, creamy paste with powdered sugar on top. 

In Alentejo, you will find Sericaia, a typical Alentejano dessert from the Convents of Elvas, a city east of Évora.

Add to these, Pao de Lo, Queijadas, Toucinho do céu, Travesseiro, and other Portuguese conventual desserts your tastebuds will love.

In Portugal, there are no shortages of conventual desserts. These conventual desserts are a tasty finish to a Portuguese dish.

Portuguese Food FAQs

What food is Portugal known for?

The most popular Portuguese food is bacalhau or dried, salted cod, with more than 365 different ways to prepare it. 

What is Portugal’s traditional food?

When you want to experience traditional Portuguese food, be sure to try the bifana sandwich, alheira sausage, and caldo verde soup.

What is the most popular Portuguese food?

Along with bacalhau, pastel de nata is the most popular food in Portuguese cuisine.

What are some famous Portuguese dishes?

Some of the most famous Portuguese dishes include piri piri chicken, francesinha, bacalhau, and pastel de nata. Portugal is also quite famous for its wines. 

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In Summary

Portugal has a lot to offer in terms of traditional Portuguese foods and wines. 

You’ll find amazing Portuguese seafood dishes, world-famous Portuguese pork and bacalhau dishes, and a wide array of conventual desserts.

With everyday favorites like Portuguese chicken and sandwiches, there is plenty of local dishes to savor.

This list of the 15 most popular Portuguese dishes is only an introduction. There are a lot more traditional Portuguese foods to discover. Use this list to guide your food choices as you travel through Portugal. 

Portuguese dishes deserve more recognition worldwide. After you’ve enjoyed these local dishes, you’ll no doubt join us in singing the praises of Portuguese gastronomy.

Have you had Portuguese food before? What were your favorite Portuguese dishes? Please let us know in the comments below.

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111 Comments on “15 Most Popular Portuguese Food You Can’t Wait To Enjoy”

  1. Portugal features the blandest food on the planet, easily.
    Grilled sardines with…olive oil.
    Oily salads everywhere.
    Bacalhau: an imported white fish that is profoundly disappointing, no matter how it is cooked.
    Piri piri chicken is the only dish that packs any sort of punch.

    If you like your food mild, soggy, and “simple”, well, perhaps you’ll enjoy! But for everyone else, stick to the few European countries that actually have great food: Italy, France, Greece.

    • Hi, we are all certainly entitled to our own opinions. One of the reasons we love Portuguese cuisine is because it is simple cuisine made with impeccable ingredients. Portuguese olive oil is among the best and we love (and the Portuguese use) quite a bit in the cuisine. It’s too bad Portuguese food is not as well known as its neighboring countries, because it’s just as good.Just like any dish or meal at a restaurant, there are some that will rave about it and some that will not like it. Both opinions are valid!

  2. I am grateful for this engaging culinary tour through Portugal! Your detailed descriptions and beautiful photos of traditional dishes provide a delightful introduction to Portuguese cuisine for food lovers everywhere.

  3. Simple ingredients and impeccably prepared sounds incredible. I have never had Porteguese food but would love to try some of these dishes!

  4. I just found out your site and I simply must reply to this post – it’s one of the few times I’ve seen my country’s food well represented out there :).
    The thing about Portuguese cuisine is that we have so many influences from all around the globe and so many centuries on our shoulders to develop different dishes and traditions, that it’s hard to pinpoint those dishes that somehow identify a country (like Italians have pasta dishes, for instance). Also, for such a tiny country we do have many differences between different regions. But common to every single one of them is the fact that while our dishes are done very elaborate, our ingredients are still mostly fresh, local and full of flavour, giving our cuisine an authenticity without parallel (can you tell I love my country’s food? :))
    Thank you!

  5. Salted codfish is actually from Norway, Portugal doesn’t have that natively. However it’s definitely a must for every religious holiday. Also, chicken piri-piri is from Angola, but was stolen when was invaded by Portugal and became a colony. Nando’s has good chicken, but changed to please foreigners, you won’t see natives eating that.
    Portugues folk are obsessed with food, and there’s something for every taste!

    • True about bacalhau. It is not native to Portugal. Interesting thoughts about piri-piri, we had some interesting discussions with local Portuguese on this subject. The best thing about Portugal (or one of the best) is the amazing food. Indeed, there is something for everyone. Thanks, for stopping by.

  6. Where is feijoada (yes it is actually Portuguese not Brazilian, they were our colony and learned it from us) ?!?!? Where is leitão assado?!?! Where is broa?! Where is cozido à portuguesa?!?! Where is our amazing cheese?!?! Not even a single of our salads? Really?? Where is cataplana?? One of the most amazing dishes in the world!!! Not even a single stew of the dozens we have!! What about our bread, what about our fine pastries? Not even one single mention of our wine!

    • Thanks so much, Ricardo, for your feedback. You are so right, Portugal has so many delicacies that are beyond this article. Did you see other articles about Douro Valley Wines and Broa and cheese mentioned in the foods of Porto article? We certainly look forward to expanding on the amazing rich culinary Portuguese delights.

  7. We leave in two weeks, for a three week stay in Portugal. Can’t wait to try them all .
    I grew up in Iowa where pork is king. looking forward to all the pork dishes especially the two pork sandwiches: Bifana & the Francesin. Can’t wait!!!!

  8. I love reading reviews of national cuisine of different countries. Then take the recipe and maybe cook something …. Thank you for sharing the information. Loved it!

  9. It’s so cool seeing how different cultures prepare and cook food. I like how you added recipe links and links to order some on amazon. I’d like to try cooking some of it.

  10. This is a wonderful post . I have tasted the egg tarts in Macao , which is supposed to be authentic and handed down by the Portuguese when Macau was a Portuguese colony.

  11. I have not made to visit Portugal yet. But as a pescatarian, I find the Portuguese cuisine appealing for the seafood. Well, bacalhau prepared in 365 ways sounds like a true delight to all seafood lovers. Can’t get wrong with Portuguese seafood!

      • Do you think Portuguese food taste better than Spainard food? I can’t wait to go to Portugal one day
        I have never eaten Portuguese food, which is appalling since I am Portuguese-American. How would you compare Portuguese food to Italian and Spanish food and which do you like better?

        • Wow, that’s a tough question because the local food in each country is so different. There are many local Portuguese dishes we love and the same is true for Spanish as well. We would say they are different, they both share some similarities and they are both good. Even though you haven’t made it to Portugal yet, look for a Portuguese restaurant in your area and try Portuguese food. Let us know what you think. Cheers 🙂

  12. Portuguese egg tarts look amazing! Actually, all of this food does. I keep realizing there are so many foods I still need to taste and experience.

    • A trip to Portugal just for the food Tami is a must. There is much more beyond the egg tarts and most local dishes have a wonderful story to them. Hope you get to Portugal soon. Thanks for stopping by.

  13. Portugal has been on my list for so long, and this post certainly makes me want to visit even more! I’m not a fan of salted fish, but the other seafoods and especially the pork appeal to me. I’m sure I can put away a fair few pastel de natas too!

    • And the good news Hannah, there are plenty of bakeries that will help you put down your fair share of pasteis de nata 🙂 Hope you get to Portual soon. You’ll be surprised by the simple and delightful food. Thanks for stopping by!!

  14. I never heard of Bifanas before whilst on my three visits to Portugal but they sure do look yummy. I have to admit, i try and not eat sandwiches when I am traveling but to try other local foods but I am heading out there in September, so I am going to look for this and try it out. Hope its nice pork they use 😀

  15. Seems like they are quite heavy on meat – specifically pork and sea food. Among the veg options, seems like we have the soup and desserts – which is not a bad option at all. They definitely look yummy. Lovely food shots

  16. I really love Portuguese food so this post was heaven to me! The custard tarts are my absolute fave, still can’t find something close to what I had in Lisbon back home in London. I also love the Piri Chicken, we found an incredible little place down a side street in Lisbon that did the best version I have ever tasted!

    • Totally agree with you, Samantha…Portuguese food is the best. That’s awesome you found a little chicken piri piri place close to you. We did as well and it was divine. Along with the pasteis de nata for dessert, you’ve got the perfect combination! Any other favorite dishes from the list?

  17. You had me, I couldn’t name another dish off the top of my head beside their egg tarts, then Portuguese chicken followed quickly in my brain.

    Then I kept reading and, of course, Bacalhau!! I knew that, just didn’t realise it came from Portugal…. whoops!

    Now I just need to find a Francesinha locally. Wow that looks so good

    • It’s amazing Sara, how little is known about Portuguese food. Indeed, bacalhau is considered the national dish and the multitude of preparation styles is mind-boggling. The Francesinha is worth seeking out…but in moderation 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  18. This is a mouth-watering selection, with a few I’d never heard of. Portuguese food has been unsung in our country for too long! I’m a big convert to vinho verde these days.

  19. Portugal’s dishes looks awesome and I feel bad that they are not very popular beyond Portugal. Thanks for sharing this list. I would love to try Caldo Verde for it suits me as vegetarian. Is there a veg version of Bifanas available?

    • For vegetarians, the Caldo Verde is the best option from the list. However, you can find vegetarian options in Portugal and you can also ask restaurants to make special vegetarian plates for you. Don’t let the food keep you from discovering this amazing country.

  20. Loved this article. And I must admit that on a business trip to Lisbon years ago, except for eating the pastry at the Belem shop (divine!), I haven’t experienced all the other dishes. I dont eat pork but would love to try some of their seafood and chicken preparations if I go back to Portugal.

    • Thank you for your feedback Shweta. Hope you have plans to travel back to Portugal soon? There are many dishes that don’t involve pork. Spend time with the seafood dishes and be prepared to be delighted. Cheers.

  21. Other than Pastel de Natas, the bifana sandwich looks delicious and definitely top of my list of foods to try! Can’t wait to get to Portugal!

  22. I don’t think I could name one single Portuguese dish, I’m afraid – even those Portuguese egg tarts (pastéis de nata) aren’t ringing any bells, but they look delicious! So this list was all new too me. It’s definitely whetted my appetite though! x

    • I’m glad now that after reading this article you are a little more familiar with Portuguese cuisine. If there is a local Portuguese restaurant in your area, highly recommend checking it out. The food is amazing and worth experiencing.

  23. Ahh so excited to go to Portugal! I never knew much about Portuguese food so I’m happy I stumbled into this post. I’ll be sure to try all of them when I’m there in a few weeks!

  24. wow! Such a mouthwatering post 😀 I didn’t know anything about Portugees dishes at all before reading your piece. Caldo Verde soup looks like a soup I had in the north of Iran. I don’t know why I always thought Chicken Pri Pri is Mexican dish. I think Portuguese dishes have some similarity with Mexican too, is it true?

    • So glad you enjoyed reading and discovering Portuguese cuisine. The food is exceptional and worthy of tasting. The next time you go out to eat, try a Portuguese restaurant in your area and you’ll be amazed. Personally, I didn’t find Portuguese food to have any resemblance to Mexican cuisine. The chili used in Portuguese cuisine comes from their heritage in India 🙂

  25. I wasn’t so impressed with Portuguese food. Maybe part of it was traveling in the north, we had a lot of rice dishes and rice isn’t my favorite thing. The bifana, the chicken and the octopus all look delicious. And I’ve had some pretty fantastic octopus, so I’d be all about this life changing one you’ve recommended.

    • I think the flavors are what make Portuguese cuisine so delectable. Not necessary “the look” of the dishes, but the flavors. Give Portuguese food another shot and yes, the octopus is to die for 🙂 Thanks for stopping by Jennifer.

  26. I have to start off by saying that I loved pretty much all the food we had when we visited Portugal for 4 weeks. We do not like spicy food, so Portugal was mostly perfect for us. We had to watch the chicken piri-piri though. Everyone told us we would eat a lot of cod but we really didn’t. Instead we ate so much great octopus that I thought I would grow an extra arm before we left! We liked the bifanas but really did not like the Francesinha sandwiches. Maybe we didn’t get a good one. We became quite addicted to the Pasteis de Nata and did find that the best ones were at Paseis de Belem too. I am drooling looking at your pics and remembering all the food of Portugal. Thanks!

    • That’s awesome and happy to share great drool-worthy memories. Like you, while we enjoyed the Francesinha sandwich, we particularly enjoyed a good bifana. We had to “go easy” on the pastel de nata, as they are quite addictive. So glad you enjoyed the article, Linda.

  27. OMG I need to go to Portugal! I still can’t believe I haven’t been, I lived in Spain for 3 years so shame on me! All of these dishes sound incredible, I love bacalhau that I tried in Spain, and the octopus too, and wow that Francesinha sounds like a delicious heart attack waiting to happen!! 😀

    • You were right next door and never made it to Portugal? Understandable though, Spain has so much to offer and rich culinary tradition. The next time you are in the region, stop by Portugal and try these delightful dishes.

  28. I often eat chicken peri-peri. It is one of my favourite dishes. Have you heard of a chain called Nandos? They make divine Portuguese styled chicken. I am also a fan of pastei de nata. I am heading to Portugal later this year so this post will be really useful. I have bookmarked it!

    • Enjoy your upcoming travels to Portugal. You’ll find amazing food and very affordable prices. Just be wary of the portion sizes 🙂 In the article, we talk about Nandos and how you will not find it in Portugal. You’ll taste the original flavors, which are second to none. Cheers, Janine.

  29. Looks yummy! As a Goan, I am very interested in Portuguese food as much of the food in Goa has Portuguese influences, like the Chicken Cafreal and Xacuti. I don’t eat pork or beef but would love to sample the dishes that don’t contain it.

    • That’s good to know that you’ll still find Portuguese influence in Goan cuisine today. Besides the caldo verde, there are other dishes that are meat-free, what we highlighted here are the national favorites. You would eat very well in Portugal 🙂

  30. As a local, I always recommend folks to try any octopus dish. Particularly Polvo a Lagareiro. Some people are turned off by the look of the tentacles… but once you get past the “beast” kinda look, it’s so damn delicious!! 😀

  31. I adore Portugal, and feel lucky to be able to fly there in 1 hour! The food culture is one of my favourites, more than Spain. The polvo is my favourite, and the pasteis de nata are to die for!

  32. I was actually not able to answer the question of what Portuguese dishes come to my mind when I think about their local authentic food because I don’t think I have ever had Portuguese food! I am a foodie and I love trying local dishes when I travel and obviously I haven’t been to Portugal so I really don’t know what to expect there! However, your guide gives really good directions! I am not so sure about the green cabbage soup although I think I will give it a shot. I can see that a lot of sea food has made it to the list, like sardines, and I love sea food so I would want to try that for sure. Thanks for this detailed food guide!

  33. When it comes to the must-try food in Portugal the first thing that comes to mind is the Pastel de Nata. We had it a few times when in Lisbon. And we had no idea that Piri Piri chicken is one of the popular national dishes in Portugal until we visited Lisbon. Caldo Verde sounds delicious we would love it try it sometime.

    • You can’t go wrong with pastel de nata and it’s difficult not to overindulge in Portugal. On your next visit, give the other dishes a try and be prepared to be delighted. Thanks for stopping by.

  34. We have been following you eating your way around Portugal and it has been a delightful torture. We just started a Keto diet and are fighting to keep under 30 g of carbs a day. It is working on many levels, but there have been cravings. We have found solace in rotisserie chicken and that Piri-Piri chicken looks incredible.

    • Could not agree more about the dangers of reading about food when on a diet. We fight in the same battle. In addition to the piri-piri chicken, the sardines and octopus, will keep you honest 🙂 Thanks, Jenn and Ed!

  35. Number 7 down have my full attention, especially the Polvo à la Lagareiro. I’d totally try the first few on the list, as everything Portuguese I’ve tasted is yummy, but I think I’d have a hard time with the canned sardines. Just really don’t care for fish in a can or jar. 🙂

    • Glad you enjoyed the article. And agree, that Portuguese food is quite yummy. To that point, try Portuguese canned sardines first before judging them. These are the best canned sardines out there 🙂 Thanks, Leah

  36. There couldn’t be a better timing for this! I’m just planning a trip to Portugal and so glad to have found this article. Going to follow it. Thanks so much for sharing it.. Loved the attention to detail It was sooo helpful 🙂

  37. I tried Portuguese food last year, my favourite dish is definitely the Pastéis de Natas.
    But I’d love to try Francesinha, that sounds like a delicious alternative to a croque monsieur!

  38. Portuguese cuisine is not very popular like some of the other cuisines from Europe. These dishes look simple and yet flavourful. I am saving this post for my future reference.

  39. I love the custard desserts! I used to go to a Portuguese bakery near my house which had them, I can’t imagine how good the authentic ones would taste. So awesome how we can get a taste of the world wherever we are!

  40. Maybe it’s safer for me to never visit Portugal….I feel like I would leave a good 20 kilos heavier! I absolutely have to try one (or six) of those Pastéis de natas though!


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