In 1415 Porto gave all the City’s meat to “sponsor” the Portuguese Discoveries – a bad excuse to get the spices and all the fabulous ingredients from Africa, India and Brasil – and with cows stomachs and beans created a fabulous stew called Tripas à Moda do Porto. Porto is clearly inventive when it comes to food and one thing is clear, with less we make more!
It’s fairly common that when you are travelling in Spain you will be presented, somewhere in your journey, with Tapas. We can say the same for Italy, with their version called cicchetti, which are more or less the same but with a different name. Portugal has its own version called Petiscos. Basically the three names sum up the same thing with some variations, finger food that can be cold or warm, meat or fish, vegetables, deep fried, stewed or even raw with a dressing or small portions of bigger meals served in mini plates usually with a toothpick as forks.
Porto as a port city, always had a number of influences that created a wide variety of petiscos, that can be found, traditionally in Tascas, small bars, run by a family and where you eat, most of the times, at the aluminium coated counter.
Together with a small glass of wine you will enjoy the atmosphere together with locals, usually old guys talking about football and the latest gruesome daily news.
These kind of bar, can be found on every corner and street, and they get their supplies from the neighbouring grocery shops or the special shops located around Mercado do Bolhão called Mercearia Fina – the local delicatessen shops that sell the best products from all over Portugal.
Here you can find a wide range of smoked goods like sausages, ham, pork’s ears and feet; cheese, olives and olive oil, canned goods such as tuna, octopus, mackerel and of course sardines. Also wines from every region, including Port and dried fruits like raisins, plums, pear, and nuts – almonds, wallnuts etc. The fruits are very important as ingredients for one of the Christmas desserts – Bolo Rei.
Bread is also a big part of Portuguese food and in Porto you can find all the kinds from the different regions with a special preference on Trás-os-Montes region, like Vinhais, Mirandela, Padronelo, and of course we couldn’t forget the neighbour village of Avintes with its heavy and somehow sweet and moist Broa de Avintes – composed of half rye and half corn – a popular choice amongst restaurants.
With all this said, we are sure that we have the perfect ingredients, the perfect people, the perfect weather and the tradition to create good food. But, really, we don’t need to prove it, we just need people to taste it and be surprised with the quality, the variety and the HUGE portions that are served in every place in town.
Our house is your house, come in, the door is open.
Popular choices for petiscos include:
Rojões – sautée pork and then stewed slowly with cumin.
Moelas – chicken gizzards stewed in a tomato sauce (not chewy at all!);
Punheta de bacalhau – desalted cod with raw onions, chickpeas and olive oil;
Petingas – small sardines deep fried – don’t worry about the fishbones, so small that you won’t choke.
Pimentos do Padrón – we borrowed this from Galicia and now are already nationalized;
Peixinhos da horta – battered green beans deep fried – delicious;
Tábua de Queijos – an assortment of national cheese;
Tábua de enchidos – An assortment of smoked ham and sausages;
Chouriço assado – A smoked sausage usually flambée with local grappa.