Food in Portugal notes

by on April 16, 2009 at 4:38 am in Food and Drink, Travels | Permalink

Many of you recommended the pasteis in Belem, so when we were picked up at the airport we were immediately whisked there: "We know already that you wish to go" was the explanation.   

The white asparagus is in season and they stack ham on top of many things, including trout.  No other cuisine can make the blend of rabbit and clam seem so natural.  A good rule of thumb here is to order game, beans, and any combination of ingredients which sounds like a mistake.  The biggest mistake here is to try to replicate the kind of seafood meal you might enjoy in the U.S.

If you prefer Michelin "two-fork restaurants" to their starred alternatives, Portugal is the eating country for you.  I haven't seen a single Chinese restaurant.  It is Lusaphone eating: for your foreign options, you can find Brazilian, Mozambiquean (good chicken), Cape Verdean, and excellent Goan.  French and Italian are rare.

If I had a thousand dissertations to research, one of them would be: "The historical interconnections between the Portuguese dessert and the Calcutta sweets shop."

The fact that I found this post interesting to write makes me fear that Western Europe is not yet an optimum currency area.

1 Pedro April 16, 2009 at 6:56 am

Not a single Chinese in all of Lisbon? You must have fallen into some wormhole, surely. I can think of a few off the top of my head and I’m not even from there. Granted, eating Chinese is less of a take-away/delivery thing than here in the UK (where it is omnipresent) but every little town in Portugal that I know of has a Chinese restaurant. If it’s warm enough, do try and go somewhere where they serve snails and have a plate of those with a cold beer. I personally dislike both, but people seem to enjoy them quite a bit.

2 MikeP April 16, 2009 at 7:18 am

I haven’t seen a single Chinese restaurant. It is Lusaphone eating…

Echoing Pedro… I have never been to Lisbon, but I have been to Macau.

Maybe there is some sort of colonial culinary probation? Macau will reach 10 years gone only on December 20.

3 Peter April 16, 2009 at 9:52 am

No other cuisine can make the blend of rabbit and clam seem so natural.

Somehow, I don’t foresee that sweeping the world by storm.

4 charlie April 16, 2009 at 10:00 am

agreed with abhi. zero connection between bengali sweets and portuguese deserts. Overly sweet, but that is a curse of the arabs….

5 Jose April 16, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Actually there were A LOT of Chinese restaurants in Lisbon until a few years ago – in 2006 an operation by the Health and Safety inspection closed a few of them. Then obsessive TV news coverage and a bit collective hysteria make most of the Chinese restaurants to go out of business ( there are still a few of couse )

Check the link for some “old” news about it here – if you understand Portuguese …

To “funny” facts :
1) Most of Chinese imigrants who used to own the restaurants “recicled” them in to Chinese shops.
2) The number of Japanese restaurants in Lisbon “exploded” since them…

6 Alejandro Guerrero April 16, 2009 at 12:36 pm

“The fact that I found this post interesting to write makes me fear that Western Europe is not yet an optimum currency area.”

I don’t get it. Are you implying that an integrated cuisine is a symptom of good economic integration?

7 Sanjeev April 16, 2009 at 4:15 pm

I once heard from a friend in Trondheim, Norway that there was a Chinese restaurant in that city before there was a McDonalds.

There HAS to be a Chinese place in Lisbon! 😉

8 xyz April 25, 2009 at 11:01 pm

We want brasilians and chinese out of our contry. Too many, too many problems.
The brasilians don’t want to work the crime rate is up big time, we portuguese don’t like them we despise them

9 porno izle December 4, 2010 at 8:16 am

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