Is Portuguese Food as Good as the Portuguese Think It Is (Comments)

Author: Mark Pringle

Is Portuguese food as good as the Portuguese people say and think it is? The answer to that question is simple, yes…and no.

Let me explain. After I first moved to Portugal in the beginning of 2017, many of my Portuguese friends would ask me, “How do you like Portugal?” They always seemed to preface that question with, “Isn’t the Portuguese food fantastic?” I found it easy to answer their auxiliary question related to Portugal itself since I love the beauty of the country and its welcoming people. However, I would always avoid the question about food because it was too complicated of an answer.

Yes, the Portuguese food is very good. They have a niche and focus on that food extremely well. However, the nature of this country has created a somewhat interesting culinary environment. Almost every restaurant where I live, on the Silver Coast, is family owned and operated by Portuguese. Except for Portugal’s two major cities of Lisbon and Porto, this seems to be the norm for all of Portugal…Algarve excluded. Obviously, many of these restaurants prepare Portuguese food very well. The best-grilled chicken I’ve ever had is produced by a little restaurant in Bombarral. Some of the best fried fish I’ve eaten was at a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Peniche. So, the point is, the Portuguese are great cooks…of Portuguese food. Unfortunately, that’s all they cook. Additionally, every restaurant offers pretty much the same menu. Now, that’s fine if you like fish, chicken, pork, rice, and potatoes. Even the sobremesas (desserts) follow the same rule. The same 10 very tasty Portuguese desserts are in every restaurant or store. However, coming from a country where variety is the norm and that variety is excellent, being limited to just Portuguese food diminishes its quality and excellence over time. Being able to choose between Cajun, Indian, Thai, gluten-free, vegetarian, Japanese, Mediterranean, Chinese, Portuguese, Mexican, seafood, traditional American, Italian, Caribbean, and Soul food restaurants etc. enhances the individual greatness of each of those types of foods. Sadly, that variety does not exist in Portugal to the degree I'm used to. Yes, I’m sure Lisbon and Porto have variety, but those cities are the exception to the Portugal rule.

So, you see, the answer to the question, “Isn’t the Portuguese food fantastic?” isn’t a simple answer for me. Yes, the Portuguese do what they do very well. I just wish they would do it with more variety. 

About the Author: Mark Pringle

I'm just a guy who likes traveling, taking photos, and writing about my travels. I am not a writer by trade, so the main reason I write is to relive my travel experiences. Documenting vacations via photography and writing seems to add another layer to memory.