What to eat and drink in Porto
Heya! What? She’s back already? Oh yes! You were not the only one who enjoyed our last catch up and as promised I bring you the second chapter of our Porto Chronicles.
Let me first take you to a conversation I had with a friend after my mini holiday:
Friend: How was Porto?
Me: loved it, thought I knew all about Portugal but Porto gave me a different flavour (yes! I just described an experience with a sensory impression of food, sue me.)
Friend: I really want to go to Portugal, but what if the food is horrible, I will be stuck in a foreign country HUNGRY (Laughs)
Don’t judge my friend. I have thought the same thing countless times and I am pretty sure it has crossed your mind. If you are the typical “me” who loves rice, well just know that going to Marrakech where rice is almost non existent could drive you mad. Thank God for #tastewithprinny. This post is going to give you a perfect picture of what food your taste buds could potentially be playing with in Porto and help make your decision to explore Porto easier.
Everyone in Porto starts their day with breakfast and if that means your day starts at 12pm, well you can’t miss the most important meal of the day. Okay! Calm down, this is not your typical English breakfast where eggs, bacon, sausages, baked beans and everything else gets tossed on a plate. No no no! In Portugal, your morning starts with pastries. Whoosh! In Porto, pastry shops open for business as early as 06:30 am.
The Portuguese in general love their pastries as I found out in Lisbon where you will find the best “pasties de nata” (a Portuguese pastry) at the famous pasties de Belem. Breakfast is simple, definitely not over the top. Portuguese pastries usually have ham and cheese fillings and on many occasions good old jam or butter. If you are anything like me and you must have eggs for breakfast then you can have an omelette. My first breakfast was a ham and cheese omelette folded in a soft baguette style bread, my sister had her’s with French fries and salad. I know, it looked like a lunch meal to me too.
The usual tea, coffee, fresh fruit juice also happen in Porto, but I must warn you that the Portuguese have a strange relationship with hot chocolate. The only one I found was too thick so I had to mix it with water to be able to swallow which as expected diluted my morning glory.
Lunch in Portugal comes earlier than you would expect. Why? Well if you are like me and you like your breakfast FULL, you will understand. The best thing about lunch in Porto is you can have whatever you want. From fresh sea food or local meat complemented by chips, baked potatoes or wait for it…..RICE! (Hallelujah!). Sounds boring? Don’t worry, there is something for everyone in Porto. If you are the adventurous type please go ahead and try the “Francesinhas” a regional delicacy which means little frenchie.
This Portuguese sandwich first made in Porto has fresh sausage like chipolata, steak or roast meat and covered with melted cheese and a hot thick tomato and beer sauce served with french fries. I guess, it’s time to make up for the light breakfast. You can’t leave Porto without trying it.
No I did not forget about the all famous Porto wine. It has been argued that Porto has the best wine in the world and I am still not sure who won the argument but I know that my wine tasting experience was BRILLIANT! Before going to Porto, a kind gentleman at the Portuguese consulate gave me a sound warning “that wine is so sweet, you won’t know when to stop”. He did not lie. My sister and I had our wine experience at Quevedo Port Wine.
What you need to know about that Douro Valley wine is that it is fortified wine and should be enjoyed in small pours and using a Port wine glass makes this easier to achieve. My favourite was the Rose, but be sure to try the tawnies, white and ruby. I also got the option to pair the wine with sausage and toast, chocolate or cheese. If you enjoy wine like I do, then fasten your seat belt for that WOW experience.
There are no fast rules about dinner, you can possibly eat anything. I had the “bacalhau” for my last dinner which is the Portuguese word for cod. But go crazy with salmon, fish, lobsters or for the meat lovers, pork, steak, chicken.
My favourite part too. You can expect everything from chocolate cake, to cheesecake to ice cream to tarts; basically just go crazy!
Verdict: There is nothing scary about food in Porto. Embrace the regional delicacies, be open minded and just try it. With love from Porto.