The Food of Portugal

I am a foodie.
Initially I was confused as to how people gain weight while traveling. But, after Portugal, I now understand.
First of all, it is all about pastries in Portugal! Each region and each city seems to have a pastry that they are known for. Now, eating a treat now and then is okay, but as a traveler you have to eat a treat everyday, sometimes twice! Sure, some people would be okay if they didn’t try a Pastel de Nata from the famous Pastéis de Belém, but not me! Oh no, for me food is the culture of a country.

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So, I’ve compiled a list of my top five favourite meals/pastries I had in Portugal.
Top Favourite dishes in Portugal
1. Pastel de Nata (pictured above) specifically from Pastéis de Belém.
2. Acorda de Marisco
I had this at the restaurant down a few doors from ‘Super Mario’ (refer to the bottom of this post). I didn’t take a picture of my own meal, but what it is is a bread paste with garlic and coriander and shrimp and then they put a raw egg on top and mix it in the warm mixture. No, it doesn’t sound or look appetizing but I loved it! It is popular in the Alentejo region of Portugal.

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3. Nahnahbah – Veggie Burger
No, this isn’t a traditional Portuguese meal, but this particular restaurant is known for having a burger rated in the top 50 in the world.

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The Toucan Burger is it’s name and my fellow traveler’s all raved about the taste! But, if you are a vegetarian, their veggie burger is definitely in the top 10 for me. It tastes like a burger, which is perfect when you are trying to cure a hangover and prepare yourself for drinking again.
You can find Nahnahbah in Lagos.
4. Olives.
Seriously, the olives in Portugal are tastier than anywhere else! My advice: plan a picnic ( or 5) and buy olives, cheese some crackers/bread and fruit and you have yourself a meal! Top it off with a cheap bottle of regional wine and honestly with a great view you’ll remember it as your best meal in Portugal.

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5. Espresso
The coffee in Portugal is some of the best (and cheapest) in the world. Every cafe, no matter how small, has the best espresso equipment money can buy. Combine that with delicious beans and an old man who has been serving ‘bica’ for many generations and you will swear you’ve never had anything so satisfying. End a meal with an espresso or be a local and stop in at the many pastry shops and stand at the bar and enjoy a bica for only 60 cents.

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6. Roasted Chestnuts

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Yummy! For only 2 euro you can have a tasty dessert that even the locals eat!
7. Encharcada do Convento de Santa Clara

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So sweet. So fattening. So delicious! Egg yolk and sugar.
8. Noori Sushi
Sherry showed me this gem during my last day! A small take-away or eat-in sushi place. I disliked the all-you-can-eat sushi, so I was happy to pay extra for good sushi. Also vegan and vegetarian options are clearly marked! The vegetable tempura roll was AMAZING!
9. Lost In Restaurant
Amazing views, awesome food and delicious wine. This is a MUST! Check out this post for more info. Try the pumpkin butter, goat-cheese tartlets and the soup of the day.

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10. Nakite – Porto
My favourite meal, and possibly healthiest, was a tofu pizza from Nakite. Their menu looked awesome and their tea was also tasty. As a vegetarian I highly recommend this and the vegetarian restaurant in Guimaraes.

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How hungry are you right now? I’m starving!!

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Sunny days in Porto, Portugal

This gallery contains 21 photos.

After yesterday’s trip to Guimarães, I was feeling sore, tired and ultimately unmotivated to do another day trip from Porto. Instead, I opted to spend another day in Porto while the sun was shining. Weather really does make a difference … Continue reading

Day Trip: Guimarães, Portugal

This gallery contains 31 photos.

Before coming to Portugal, I knew little about the country. I knew it was beside Spain, that the language was Portuguese and that the capital was Lisbon. So, imagine my surprise when I arrived in Portugal to discover that it … Continue reading

Rainy day in Porto, Portugal

I decided a while ago that I wanted to go to Porto. The TBU conference was held here this year, and after reading many positive reviews I knew I would probably love it.
Unfortunately, many people in Lisbon looked at me like I was crazy when I sai I wanted to spend 3 days there. ‘You’ll be bored after two’ was the common response.
I refused to be discouraged.
I took an evening train from Lisbon (30 euro, a bus is 19 euro and has wifi) and got into Porto around 10 o’clock. It was dark and it was raining. Considering I have seen very little rain so far during my trip, I was a bit disappointed. Then, I had a hard time figuring out the transit system.
I felt lost. I had also just left some of the most amazing friends in Lisbon, so I was feeling lonely. But, I refuse to have another massive cell-phone bill (read more about that here).
I found my way to The Spot Hostel in about an hour, but only after arriving at the quietest metro ever! I was petrified!

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I got a good nights rest, and woke up the next day determined to explore no matter what the weather.
First, I had to go buy shoes. I left my hikers in Lisbon as I only brought a small bag for this portion of my trip. Silly girl. That’s okay though, I needed to buy more regular looking shoes anyway. I ended up buying a 25 euro pair of casual sneakers, an 8 euro umbrella, and 5 pairs of socks for 7 euro. Not too bad!
Then, I headed to the famous Majestic Cafe on Rue Santa Catarina.

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It has been open since 1923, not having changed it’s interior since then. It was truly beautiful, and a nice break from the rain.
But, be warned, it is expensive! I had already been wandering around though, and needed a small bite too since the hostel served ham and cheese and bread for breakfast (fail!).
I decided to treat myself to an American style coffee and some scones with cream and jam. Healthy? Nope. But it was the least expensive thing on the menu.
Oh my, was it ever delicious. The scones were served hot, the jam came in a small glass jar, and the cream was so sweet. Heaven.

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After, I headed a street over to the Marcado do Bolhão. It was what I expected: butchers, fresh fish stands, fruits and veggies and flower shops.

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And then a pleasant surprise: a store selling vegan/vegetarian food! I have been pleasantly surprised in Portugal with all of the vegan alternatives and how readily available they are!

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Armed with my umbrella, new shoes and a full stomach, I headed back to the hostel to pick up Andy (met him at Gspot he came along to Porto). We decided to head out and explore and grab some food. Thankfully the rain let up so despite the lack of sun it was warm and we were dry.
We saw some sights and got lost in the smaller streets of Porto. We walked by a restaurant and the woman saw us looking at the menu and invited us in. She was so pleasant! I had bacalhaul braga and it was excellent! It doesn’t look like much much believe me it was yummy!

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For a glass of wine, my meal, some starter codfish thing (?) and a coffee I paid 8 euro! Not bad!
Next we just wandered down to the water front and took some photos. I wandered into a touristy port/olive shop and was very tempted to make a purchase! But I’m going to wait for the port tasting.

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So far, I’m really enjoying Porto. The weather obviously makes it a bit more difficult to enjoy it, but so far I love the alternativeness of it. It’s less touristy, and I’m excited to visit the rua Miguel Bombarda area! Art galleries, cafes and book stores!
For those of you who know Alberta at all, Lisbon is the Calgary of Portugal, while Porto is like Edmonton. I think Porto is best appreciated over time, when you’ve had a chance to find the quirky cafes and hidden gems.

Where to next?

Hola!

I am in love with Madrid!

Yesterday, I went with a friend while he looked for a “flat” (apartment for all you Canadians), and I got so excited thinking about looking for a place when I move back to Ontario! The woman who showed us the flats was, how should I put this, crazy! Seriously! I may not have understood 99% of what she said, but even I could tell she was loco.

Anyways, just an update to say hello! I am safe, and starting to get the hang of this traveling thing. I bought groceries as well! I bought enough for the next few days and it only cost me 12 Euros! One meal usually costs me that much! So, note to self: buy groceries!

Today I am going to decide where my next destination will be. Any suggestions? I was thinking Porto, Portugal.