Why is Porto so popular? We all praise the French and the Italians for their culinary genius, but what about the Portuguese? There’s much less noise about what Portugal has to offer, and boy does it have a lot to offer. The foodie scene is definitely a factor in the city’s growing popularity. So, if you find yourself hungry in Porto, here is the best food to try and where to find it.
1. Devour a Cachorrinho (Hot Dog)
We’re all familiar with the American hot dog but this Porto version is next level yum. Toasted bread with sausage, melted cheese and a spicy sauce inside, it’s the ideal afternoon or early evening snack. Don’t forget to order a nice cold glass of Super Bock beer because after all you are on holiday and it is the perfect accompaniment. One of the most popular places to try cachorrinhos is Cervejaria Gazela. This is a great local hotspot to hang out as well as being a place with quick and friendly service.
2. Pig out on the Francesinha (The Ultimate Porto Sandwich)
Firstly, Francesinha translates to ‘little French girl, it’s safe to say there’s nothing at all ‘little’ about this sandwich. Secondly, approach with caution! This meat-monster sandwich consists of two thick slices of bread, filled with sausage, ham and beef. It’s covered in melted cheese, topped with a fried egg, smothered in a spicy tomato and beer sauce. Thirdly, don’t forget the French fries because they are great for dipping, and there you have it, the ultimate sandwich. The Francesinha even made AOL Travel and Short List magazine top 10 Best Sandwiches in the World. The two best places to try one of the best Francesinhas in Porto are Lado B or Santa Francesinha. At Lado B, there’s a vegetarian version of the sandwich too, made with smoked tofu, soy sausage, vegetable sausage, cheese (optional), and vegetable sauce.
3. Porto’s Piri Piri Chicken is where it’s at
No, I’m not talking about a cheeky Nando’s, piri piri chicken is a popular dish in Portugal with every person claiming their mother or grandmother’s piri piri is the best. Served with side salad or French fries, it’s a simple dish. The best place to try piri piri chicken is Pedro dos Frangos, a traditional churrascaria (BBQ grill) which has been feeding the residents of Porto for decades.
4. Tantalise your tastebuds with the Terylene Sandwich (Roasted Pork Sandwich)
Made with complete tender love and care, this isn’t just any pork sandwich. With rustic bread, tender pork (which has been slow cooked for 24 hours) and a slice of smoked ham, it’s simple, yet utterly delicious. Some say it’s the best sandwich in Porto (sorry, Francesinha super fans). Flores dos Congregados is the best place to try the Terylene sandwich, one of the oldest restaurants in Porto and a family owned business that has spanned three generations.
5. Satisfy that sweet tooth with Pudim do Abade de Priscos (Portuguese Dessert)
Let’s end this list with a Portuguese favourite. The perfect sweet treat to have at the end of a meal is Pudim do Abade de Priscos. It’s a rich crème caramel pudding created in the 19th century by Father Manuel Joaquim Machado Rebelo, the Abbot of Priscos. The best place to try Pudim do Abade de Priscos is Mostra Nacional. Monstra Nacional is chic little sweet shop with gorgeous Portuguese ceramics. Don’t forget to try Singeverga which is a liqueur made by the Benedictine monks. It’s smooth, floral and the perfect partner for dessert.
Still hungry and wondering why Porto is so popular? Here’s a highly recommended food tour
Lastly, If you are passionate about food, I can highly recommend the Downtown Food Tour organised by Taste of Porto. Our guide Maria was very passionate about food and Porto’s culinary scene. She gave us great restaurant recommendations for our stay in Porto and even offered tips for our onward journey to Coimbra and Lisbon. If you go on this food tour you will be able to check off the Terylene sandwich and Pudim do Abade de Priscos from this list.
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