At its best,
Portuguese food is simple ingredients impeccably prepared.
Based on regional produce, emphasising fish, meat, olive oil,
tomato, and spices, it features hearty soups, homemade bread
and cheeses, as well as unexpected combinations of meat and
Each region has its own set of products and a characteristic
way of cooking them. Trás-os-Montes is known for its blood
sausages and smoked meat, the coast is visited for its grilled
fish and prawns, in Alentejo you can taste black pork and in
each district there are a number of delicacies that you can't
find in other areas of the country.
If there is one thing that typifies traditional Portuguese
food, however, it is fish. Portugal has Europe's highest fish
consumption per capita and is among the top four in the world
for this indicator
"Bacalhau" (salted cod) is the Portuguese fish and said to be
the basis for some 365 recipes, one for each day of the year.
Shellfish, including clams (amêijoas) and mussels (mexilhões)
are of a high quality.
Crab and squid are often stuffed, and "lulas recheadas"
(stuffed squid) is a great example of Portuguese seafood.
Visitors to Lisbon can find traditional shops by the docks
selling snails (caracóis).
For the meat-lover, suckling pig (leitão) is popular. "Cozido à
portuguesa", a one-dish meal of beef, pork, sausage and
vegetables, reflects the resourcefulness of traditional
A rather more unusual combination is the pork and clams of
"carne de porco à alentejana" (pork Alentejo-style). Pork is
also cooked with mussels na "cataplana", with the wok-like
"cataplana" sealing in the flavours.
Meanwhile, the city of
Porto boasts "tripa à moda do Porto" (Oporto-style tripe).
Broiled chicken (frango grelhado), seasoned with peri-peri,
garlic, and/or olive oil, is well known outside Portugal.