Typical Portuguese Food – What to try in Portugal

I totally LOVE Portuguese food! That and the weather brings me back over and over again! If you are spending time in Portugal, here are a few dishes that you really have to try…


The Porto bifana is a kind of sandwich that goes by the same name. Commonly made from pork leg and chouriço, it is very popular. Also found across the country are the sandwiches with chicken or sausage.


The Francesinha is a hot sandwich with steak, breaded pork cutlet, lard, ham, cheese and a local sauce served in toast. The sandwich originated in the city of Porto, where it was invented in 1957 by António Macedo – an innkeeper in the Vila Nova de Gaia district – as a way to use up leftover meat products and stale bread for breakfast.

Bacalhau à Brás

This is very common in the Alentejo region where it is made with salt cod. It consists of slices of cod, battered and fried in olive oil, on a bed of rice and sprinkled with parsley.

Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá

This recipe has been around for centuries. It was brought to the city of Porto as a way to preserve fish during the austere times following the revolution in 1755 (it was named for Francisco de Gomes de Sá, Duke of Viseu who took part in the events). The dish is made with salt boiled cod, which is then placed on a bed of rice before being fried in olive oil.

Carne de Porco à Alentejana

This is a classic recipe from the Alentejo region, containing pork with potatoes, tomatoes and cooked in such a way that it resembles a stew. The main ingredients are pork, potato, onion, garlic, olive oil and tomato sauce.

Caldo Verde

Caldo verde is made from shredded cabbage and potatoes in a pork broth seasoned with garlic and coriander seeds. It is sometimes served with slices of smoked sausage or smoked pork loin.


The dish features two kinds of clams along with shrimp and chicken thighs in a saffron based broth which is then served over rice.

Salada de Nata

This is a cold salad made with lettuce and hard-boiled eggs, usually served with tuna or salmon.

Salmão à Brás

This is the traditional salted cod which is boiled in water and fermented in brine for several days to ensure that the fish remains fresh. It’s served with potatoes, onions and olives. It’s especially popular in Porto and Vila Real.

Açorda de Marisco

This is a typical dish from the Algarve region. It’s made with bread soaked in a very long boiled fish broth.

Bolinhos de Bacalhau

This is small pieces of potatoes and cod that are then battered and fried. The result is a crispy texture with fish in every bite. Sometimes it’s served with beer for breakfast or as late-night snack.

Polvo à Lagareiro

This is a traditional Portuguese seafood dish. Like most Portuguese recipes, the ingredients are very simple yet extremely delicious. It consists of octopus cooked in red wine and served with boiled potatoes and vegetables.

Ameijoas à Bulhão Pato

They are clams from Ria Formosa that are harvested between summer and autumn (December to March).


Escabeche is a recipe of salting and marinating fish, served with boiled potatoes and vegetables.

Pastéis de Belém

These are small pastries or tarts filled with custard. They are gorgeous and available to try in Belem (Lisbon) – these are the original Belem tarts. You can also get them elsewhere and they are known as Pasteis de Nata.


Feijoada is a more hearty version of the typical Brazilian dish feijoada brasileira, and it’s typically made with black beans, pork ribs, beef shank and occasionally pig skin. It’s served with boiled white rice.

Pescado à Marina

This is a popular dish from Porto, made with whitefish such as cod or lobsters, which are boiled in wine and served with rice and vegetables similar to the polvo à lagareiro.

Bacalhau a Belém

This is the same as above, but it uses fresh cod rather than salt cod or smoked cod; sometimes beef or pig meat is added as well.

Robalo no Salmorejo

This traditional dish is made with swordfish, lobsters, clams and potatoes.

Francesinha de Carne Com Queijo de Avelãs e Cebola

It’s a hot sandwich of pork meat, cheese, breaded cutlet, lard and onions served in toast.

Açorda de Marisco

This is a cold salad made with shredded cabbage and potatoes in a pork broth seasoned with garlic and coriander seeds. It is sometimes served with tuna or salmon.

Arroz de Marisco

This is a very common dish in Portugal. It’s cooked with rice, fish (usually fresh water fish), prawns, clams and shrimp.

Sopa de Peixe

It’s a soup made with tomato, onion, garlic and parsley served with fish.

Bacalhau de Óbidos

This is the typical recipe for dried cod from the town of Óbidos in the Sintra District. The cod is boiled and served on top of boiled potatoes with corn flour. It’s topped off with fried eggs and olives as condiments.

Bacalhau com Natas

This is a traditional recipe from Porto. It’s made with salt cod, potatoes and onions served with olive oil.

Arroz de Marisco com Bacalhau e Pato

This is a very famous dish from Porto. It’s made with rice and fresh cod served with olive oil and boiled potatoes.

Bacalhau à Alentejana

The main ingredients are salt cod, boiled potatoes and onion cooked in olive oil seasoned with garlic coriander seed for several hours just before serving.

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