Sunday, 2 June 2013

Food in Portugal: Fruits, Seafood and Lisboa's Pasteis de Belem

I was on a brief weekender in Portugal, and as always, food was something I looked forward to. Here are my food experiences in Sintra and Lisboa, Portugal

These was our first buys in Portugal. Truth: we bought this on our way to the hotel, we just had to buy some because of the cheap prices! We bought a kilo each of cherries and apricots,which the seller said was small peaches, lol, but a friend pointed out that those were apricots. A kilo of cherries was only 4€, a kilo of apricot was 1.5€. And these are really sweet fruits!

Grilled Squid and Shrimp. Doesn't sound interesting, no? But look what was served in a restaurant in Sintra when I ordered grilled squid and shrimp:

Olives, bread, butter, tuna pate and ham for appetizers, a gigantic platter of squid and prawns for me, and a complementary shot of Portugal's port wine

This was the best and biggest single dish of seafood I've eaten in one sitting. So. fresh. So. good.

The squid was simply salted and grilled. Yet it was also the juiciest, sweetest piece of squid I've ever tried. That's coming from someone who loves squid like crazy. The whole meal, including a bottle of still water was less than 20€.

Egg tarts, that famous Portuguese pastry made famous by a shop in Macau. If you know Lord Stowe's Bakery, then you know what I'm talking about.

Who doesn't love egg tarts? Buttery, flakey crust, a milky, creamy filling balanced with a slightly bitter caramelized top. In Lisboa, there are sooo many shops offering egg tarts (Pasteis de Nata), but most people flock to only one pastaleria, Pasteis de Belem.

Today, I dropped by Pasteis de Belem and braved the lines to get my fill of their famous tarts. To be fair, although the lines are long, they are also fast moving. I ordered 6 pasteis de bata (1.05€ each) and two vegetable spring rolls (1,25€ each). Sorry, the spring rolls are now gone without a trace. Yep, I scarfed them down once I got them. I. was. very. hungry.

The egg tarts are packed in a beautiful blue and white tube with packets of cinnamon and sugar (in case you still need some sweetness!)

I also bought a big, saucer sized cake with nata topping from a Brazilian bakery I passed by while roaming around Lisboa's Rua do Comercio.

To be honest, I liked this one better than the egg tarts because it's not really sweet and the base is very light, akin to a very very fluffy and thick pancake. But that's just me. If you love eggtarts, then trying Pasteis de Belem when you're in Portugal is a must.

I therefore conclude(haha!) that if there's one thing that was consistently great in Portugal, it's the food! No bad food experience during my short three day stay.

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