Forgive my lack of blogging, but I’ve been on something of a whirlwind European Tour. Istanbul, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Barcelona; they've all been eye-opening and heaps of fun, and of course, have involved lots of amazing eats. For me, there was nothing more exotic than eating baklava in Istanbul or encountering real tapas for the first time in Barcelona, and I’ll try to post on some of those experiences soon. But to be honest, I’m most excited about eating in my current destination, Portugal, and want to try to blog about it while I'm here.
I’ve fantasized about visiting Portugal for a while now, and since my last trip to Macau, specifically, its food. I’ve been in Porto a couple days now and just as I suspected, the food hasn’t been as sophisticated as Spanish food or as exotic as Turkish, but somehow it feels just right.
Portuguese appears to be a real meat-and-potatoes kind of cuisine, as exemplified by one of my first meals, frango no churrasco, Portuguese-style grilled chicken. The restaurant, Pedro Dos Frangos, was recommended by the nice lady at the tourist information office, and was typical of most of the restaurants I’ve encountered here so far; delightfully old school, mostly masculine and with a buzzing dining counter (the man next to me ate his entire meal - chicken soup, a ginormous slice of pudim molotov and an espresso with a shot of booze - standing up).
I sat at the long stainless steel counter and ordered a half chicken, which was skewered and grilled over coals:
The bird was crispy and well seasoned, although I reckon it could have done with some brining (a must for chicken dishes, I’m now convinced – see here for details). The traditional accompaniment is deep-fried potatoes and the traditional topping is molho de piri-piri, olive oil steeped with dried chilies. It was a pleasure to finally get to sample these dishes on their home turf, particularly since I'd tried making them previously (I'd say we came pretty close). The meal was coupled with a couple glasses of cheap and very drinkable vinho regional, and dessert was chunks of soft, buttery queijo flamengo and marmelade, quince paste:
It was heaps of fun, and I found a lot in common with dining in Thailand: the lack of pretension, friendly restaurateurs, the full-flavouredness and the low prices.
Am looking forward to more meals in this country.
Pedro Dos Frangos Rua do Bonjardim, Porto 222 008 522 Lunch & dinner
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