Tasting Lisbon: Portuguese Seafood to Savour

Is older really wiser?  When it comes to Portugal it is!  With Lisbon being the oldest city in Western Europe – it even predates Rome by a few hundred years – the Portuguese have long-perfected their culinary art. Being in such close proximity to the water, seafood is definitely where it’s at here!  After our legs got tired from trekking the hills of this old city, we stopped to indulge in 3 of the region’s most flavourful coastal dishes at what better place than Lisbon’s oldest tavern, Cervejaria Trindade.

Bacalhau à Brás

Lisbon is the best place to taste the national dish of bacalhau, especially bacalhau à brás. This dish originates from the Bairro Alto quarter right in the heart of Lisbon’s old town so you know it is as authentic as it gets in this city! It’s salted cod that’s been shredded with strips of fried potatoes, scrambled eggs, black olives, sliced onions, and garlic.One of the reasons for the popularity of bacalhau was because the catholic church historically forbade meat-eating. The Portuguese were also the first Europeans to fish for cod off the coast of Newfoundland in the 16th century. Before the invention of the refrigerator, they needed to find a way to preserve their catch until they got home. Salt seemed to do the trick!Today, salted cod fish is so popular that the Portuguese have 365 different ways of cooking this dish, one for each day of the year! On our mere one-week trip to Lisbon it was a bit hard to try our hand at all 365 recipes but this one definitely takes the cake.

 

Bacalhau à Brás

 

Arroz de Marisco

Being a foodie, I always have a hard time deciding what to eat, mainly because I want to try everything all at once! Luckily for us food-obsessed people, the Portuguese’s answer to this is the seafood rice dish. It’s served as a caldeirada or fish stew, so there’s lots of room to throw in lobster, crab, shrimp, oysters, mussels, clams, and anything else they can find. With saffron, turmeric, curry, coriander, hot chilli peppers, and garlic (lots of it) your tastebuds won’t know what’s coming. Somehow I wonder how they got the rice in there to begin with.

Arroz de Marisco

 

Açorda de Gambas

A typical Portuguese dish is mashed up day-old Portuguese bread with white wine, olive oil, garlic, coriander, prawns, and a raw cracked egg stirred in just before it’s served. Açorda is a bread-based stew which goes back to the Moorish occupation in the 7th century and is still popular for lunch or dinner time. In fact, you can taste the Moors’ influence throughout much of Portugal from Lisbon down to the Algarve in the south.

 

Açorda de Gambas

 

Lisbon is nothing short of one of the most memorable foodie experiences you may ever have! If you have the chance, eat with a local. They can show you the traditional and truly authentic side of Portugual. Or you can always invite me to eat with you!

Cervejaria Trindade, rua Nova da Trindade 20

 

Blue-tiled decor from the former monastery is the backdrop of the historical tavern.

 

How to get here:  Cervejaria Trindade is located in the Bairro Alto neighbourhood on the narrow cobblestoned rua Nova da Trindade 20. The former monastery dates back to 1836 (the historical blue-tiled walls still remain) and on sunny days you can dine in the bright courtyard which used to be the monastery’s dining hall.  Metro: Rossio or Baxia-Chiado.

Budget:  While Lisbon is generally budget-friendly, at Cervejaria Trindade 20 euros gets you super generous portions and a 3-course meal. Now that’s a steal!


 

Cristina

A Canadian journalist turned blogger, Cristina traded in the conventional 9-5 to live life by her own terms. Her passion for local travel and experiences has taken her to more than 25 countries and 50 different cities. She\\’s currently planning her next chapter of volunteer travel around the world.

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