The two biggest influences on Portugal’s cuisine are the Atlantic Ocean to its west and south, and Spain to its east. With more than 500 miles of coastline, the small country is a major seafood destination. Traditional Portuguese food is filled with dishes of the sea, from street food to family-size entrees. Sardinhas assadas, or grilled sardines, are a popular grab-and-go snack at festivals. It is said there are hundreds of ways to prepare bacalhau (cod fish), including stews, fritters, and Bacalhau à Brás, a dish made with eggs, potatoes, olives, and onions. Cataplana de Marisco is truly a feast of a seafood dish, combining all types of seafood imaginable — prawns, clams, fish, mussels — with another Portuguese staple, pork.
Porco Preto and Chouriço
Both Spain and Portugal are known for their Iberico pork, a beloved meat that comes from black Iberian pigs. In Portugal, this specialty of the Alentejo region is called porco preto (literally “black pig”). Another type of pork meat the two neighboring nations have in common is chorizo sausage, called chouriço in Portugal. The main difference between Spanish chorizo sausage and Portuguese chouriço is that the former is very paprika-heavy, while the latter puts more emphasis on garlic and pepper. Chouriço is also flavored with Portuguese wine.
Did you know...
Beef, beans, and stews make up a large part of the Portuguese diet as well, and even in a meat-centric cuisine like this, there is one Portuguese vegetable dish that has been incredibly influential on world cuisine. Ready to have your mind blown? Peixinhos da horta is a fried vegetable dish that literally translates to “little fish of the garden.” This technique for battering and deep frying veggies is actually the basis for Japanese tempura! Portuguese explorers introduced the concept to the Japanese in the 16th century, and the Japanese loved it so much that they made it their own.
Where can I buy Portuguese food?
At Supermarket Italy, you can find Portuguese seafood like sardines, tuna fish, and mackerel. Our online international grocery store also offers other Portuguese imports, such as sea salt, olive oil, cheese and honey.