I had the good fortune of visiting Lisbon, Portugal while recently traveling in Europe. It’s an historical city known for cultural charms such as its majestic monasteries, picturesque communities built on hills and beach-front villages. During my stay, I uncovered another gem: Portuguese cooking.
My visit to Lisbon was my first real introduction to Portuguese foods, which turned out to be, by far, one of the most memorable culinary experiences I’ve ever had while traveling. Piri-piri chicken and churrasco, grilled meat dishes, are common, but it was the vast selection of fresh seafood dishes that I indulged in (er… maybe, I over indulged).
I can’t think of a single restaurant that I ate in where seafood wasn’t on the menu – everything from swordfish and snails, to crab, lobster and prawns. And, of course, salted cod, the national dish, which the Portuguese are said to have 365 recipes for; one for every day of the year!
Among the best dishes I enjoyed was ‘arroz de marisco’, or seafood rice. Not quite like paella, and more like a stew, the one I ordered was loaded with prawns, crabs, clams and lobster. The sauce is a broth with tomatoes and spices, such as garlic and paprika, topped off with cilantro or parsley garnish. It was a messy affair, breaking through the shelled fish in the sauce. I loved every minute of it.
Another one of my favorite dishes arrived in a gorgeous display, a simple dish of grilled prawn and squid topped with fresh lemon.
With so much incredible food, Portugal has a lot of options for those of us who are interested in gastro experiences. If you want to learn to cook like the Portuguese, your travel agent can help you book a tour where you can learn to cook and enjoy the beautiful sites.