We all know Erasmus is all about studying in a different country, partying a wee bit more than we should, and getting to know a bit more of the world. But let’s not ignore one other very important thing: THE FOOD. If you’re lucky enough to be studying in a gastronomically rich country, you know you’ll be leaving with a few extra kilos. Erasmus in Portugal will certainly do that to you, especially if you can’t control yourself every time you see a pastel de nata.
Click on our food map and check out the best dishes of each region in Portugal:
1. Papas de Sarrabulho — Minho
This one is for all you daredevils out there. Papas de Sarrabulho is originally from Minho, in the North of Portugal. Potatoes are cooked with pork blood, chicken, pork, ham, sausages, smoked sausage, cumin, lemon and bread or corn flour. Tasty. It’s a very strong dish, ideal for cold winter weather.
2. Feijoada à Transmontana — Trás-os-Montes
Feijoada à Transmontana is the Portuguese version of Chili, and it’s the most traditional style of Portuguese feijoada and the basis for all others, including the famous Brazilian one. This meaty dish is made with red kidney beans and originated in the Northern region of Portugal, in a time when meat was scarce and peasants used every single part of the pig.
3. Francesinha — Porto
This Portuguese sandwich was considered one of “12 Life-Changing Sandwiches You’ve Never Heard Of” by The Daily Meal. The current Francesinha is thought to have been invented in the 1960s by a Portuguese emigrant who tried to adapt the French croque monsieur to Portuguese taste. It’s a staple dish in Porto, and it classically includes bread, ham, linguiça, fresh sausage, steak or roast meat, and covered with melted cheese and a hot, secret sauce served with french fries.
4. Ovos Moles — Aveiro
Literally “flaccid eggs”, Ovos Moles is a local delicacy from Aveiro. It comes from the ancient convents of the city and is simply made of egg yolks and sugar. The sweet mix is poured into small maritime-inspired sugary molds like sea shells, fish or clams. Perfect for those of you with a sweet tooth.
5. Queijo da Serra — Beira Alta
A blessing for cheese aficionados, production of Queijo da Serra cheese has very rigorous rules to follow. It’s mostly produced during the winter months, and it has a maturation period that must last at least thirty days. It is a very rich cheese produced in the Serra da Estrela mountains with local sheep’s milk that live on wild herbs. It can either be eaten when it’s runny and buttery or ripened and firm.
6. Leitão da Bairrada — Beira Litoral
Leitão is the Portuguese word for suckling pig, a piglet in its first weeks. This wood oven spit-roasted pig is more commonly eaten on festive occasions, but it’s a staple dish from Bairrada. Every weekend, families flock to the region to have a bite of this crispy-skinned piglet.
7. Caldeirada de Peixe — Estremadura & Ribatejo
This savoury stew includes a variety of fish differing in texture and taste, such as mackerel, monkfish, and cod, and sometimes it may also have shellfish. It starts off with the most common Portuguese base: onions, garlic, tomatoes and parsley. Once you’re done eating all the fish, it’s the perfect dish to dip a fresh and crusty bread roll in.
8. Pastel de Belém — Great Lisbon
You’ve heard of the pastel de nata, but the Pastéis de Belém is where everyone flocks to — including The Guardian, which elected them as the 15th most tasty delicacy in the world. The current recipe began to be confected in 1837, following an ancient recipe from the Jerónimos Monastery located nearby. This egg tart pastry remains a secret recipe known to few, and is recreated every day by hand.
9. Choco Frito — Setúbal
Choco Frito, or fried cuttlefish, is Setúbal’s staple dish and the Portuguese version of fish and chips. It’s a very simple recipe — we’d even call it healthier fast food option — typically served with french fries, and it tastes even better when eaten by the seaside. Take the one-hour train ride from Campolide in Lisbon and spend a day getting to know Setúbal and munching this crispy dish.
10. Migas — Alentejo
Migas is usually enjoyed as a side dish. It is usually made with leftover bread from the Alentejo region in Southern Portugal, garlic, olive oil, and can include other ingredients such as pork meat, tomatoes, red pepper, and fresh coriander.
11. Dourada Grelhada — Algarve
The Algarve coastline is 200km long, so it’s natural that one of the region’s favourite dishes has a big fish as a centerpiece. There’s no simpler recipe than dourada grelhada, or grilled gilt-head bream in English. A couple of boiled potatoes and a simple lettuce and tomato salad is enough to enjoy one of Portugal’s most loved fish — freshly caught from the sea!
If you don’t have the chance to travel to all these regions while on your Erasmus in Lisbon or Porto, don’t worry; all of these delicacies can be found in both cities! A lot of people use Zomato to find new places to go for lunch, dinner or just a simple drink, and we’ve compiled a collection of the best Erasmus hotspots in both cities! Check out Lisbon and Porto.
And now check out 17 dishes you must try during your Erasmus in Spain!
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Have you tried any of these Portuguese dishes? Which ones are you up to trying? Let us know in the comments. And remember: if you need student accommodation, you’ll find the student home you’re looking for on Uniplaces. We have rooms in Lisbon and rooms in Porto!