Cheap Eats and Local Cuisine in Portugal
Portugal is not only known for its stunning landscapes and rich history but also for its mouthwatering cuisine. From fresh seafood to hearty stews, the country offers a wide array of flavors that will delight any food lover. The best part is that you don’t need to break the bank to enjoy delicious meals in Portugal. In this guide, we’ll take you on a culinary journey through cheap eats and local cuisine, allowing you to savor the authentic flavors of Portugal without straining your wallet.
- Pastel de Nata – The Iconic Portuguese Pastry:
No visit to Portugal is complete without trying the famous Pastel de Nata, a delicious custard tart with a crispy pastry shell. Found in bakeries and pastry shops all over the country, these sweet treats are not only affordable but also a staple of Portuguese cuisine. Pair a Pastel de Nata with a cup of coffee, and you’ll have a delightful and budget-friendly snack.
- Francesinha – The Portuguese Sandwich:
If you’re looking for a hearty and satisfying meal, look no further than the Francesinha. Originating from Porto, this sandwich is a meat lover’s dream. It consists of layers of cured meats, steak, and melted cheese, all smothered in a flavorful sauce. Although it may not be the healthiest option, it is undoubtedly a tasty and filling meal that won’t drain your wallet.
- Bacalhau – The Salted Codfish:
Bacalhau, or salted codfish, holds a special place in Portuguese cuisine. Despite being an expensive ingredient in other countries, Portugal offers a wide variety of affordable dishes made with Bacalhau. From Bacalhau à Brás (shredded codfish with eggs and potatoes) to Bacalhau com Natas (codfish gratin), you can enjoy the rich flavors of this staple without splurging.
- Petiscos – Portuguese Tapas:
For a taste of various Portuguese flavors without breaking the bank, indulge in Petiscos, the country’s version of tapas. Petiscos are small plates that can range from traditional dishes like grilled sardines or chorizo to more modern creations. You can find Petiscos in local tascas (taverns) or petisqueiras (tapas bars) where you can sample different flavors and share them with friends.
- Caldo Verde – Traditional Soup:
Caldo Verde, a traditional Portuguese soup, is not only delicious but also an economical choice. Made with potatoes, collard greens, and a slice of chouriço (Portuguese sausage), this hearty soup is perfect for chilly evenings. You can find Caldo Verde in local restaurants and even some street food stalls, making it an affordable and comforting option.
- Bifana – The Portuguese Pork Sandwich:
Bifana is a simple yet tasty pork sandwich that is a popular street food choice in Portugal. Thin slices of marinated pork are served on a crusty bread roll, making it a flavorful and budget-friendly option. You can add mustard or hot sauce to enhance the flavors, and it pairs well with a cold beer.
- Sardinhas Assadas – Grilled Sardines:
Being a coastal country, Portugal is famous for its fresh seafood. One affordable and delicious option is Sardinhas Assadas, or grilled sardines. During the summer months, you’ll find numerous street festivals and markets where you can enjoy freshly grilled sardines. Served with a slice of bread and a squeeze of lemon, this is a quintessential Portuguese dish that won’t empty your wallet.
- Prego – The Portuguese Steak Sandwich:
Another delightful sandwich option is the Prego, a Portuguese steak sandwich. Thinly sliced beef is marinated in garlic and spices, grilled, and served on a roll. The flavors of the tender meat combined with the savory marinade make for a satisfying meal that won’t break the bank.
- Açorda de Marisco – Seafood Bread Stew:
If you’re a fan of seafood, don’t miss the opportunity to try Açorda de Marisco, a flavorful seafood bread stew. Made with a combination of seafood such as shrimp, clams, and fish, and soaked bread, this dish is hearty and bursting with flavors. It’s an affordable way to indulge in Portugal’s bountiful seafood offerings.
- Chouriço Assado – Grilled Chouriço:
Last but not least, Chouriço Assado, or grilled chouriço, is a simple and delicious dish that can be found at local markets and food stalls. Chouriço, a smoked Portuguese sausage, is grilled until crispy and served on a slice of bread. The smoky flavors and crispy texture make it a satisfying and affordable snack.
Portugal’s culinary scene offers a delightful array of cheap eats and local cuisine that allows budget travelers to experience the country’s flavors without breaking the bank. From the iconic Pastel de Nata to hearty dishes like Francesinha and Bacalhau, there are plenty of affordable options to satisfy your taste buds. Whether you explore traditional soups, seafood delights, or savory sandwiches, you’ll find that Portuguese cuisine is a true reflection of the country’s rich culinary heritage. So, embrace the flavors, venture into local eateries, and indulge in the affordable gastronomic wonders that Portugal has to offer.