Food and Drink in Portugal
Ask a Portuguese person what the best cuisine in the world is and invariably the answer will be Portuguese. Now, whilst personally I'm a fan of Portuguese food I think most people would have difficultly justifying this against the likes of French and Italian food. Most Portuguese cuisine is unaffected, often consisting of veg and two meat (as opposed to meat and 2 veg!) or the fish equivalent. Lashings of olive oil, garlic and salt are also the order of the day. However, gourmets need not despair! There are many, often unique, regional delicacies and the seafood and fish are often superb.
Whilst Portuguese food is often reassuringly conservative there are some quite exotic influences from the former colonies. Most notable amongst these are piri piri (small, fiery chilli peppers) often served with chicken, and cinnamon which is often used in desserts. This influence appears to have been mutual to some extent with the Vindaloo curry having its name derived from the Portuguese “vinha d’alhos”, meaning wine/vinegar and garlic.
Breakfast (pequeno almoco) is eaten anytime up until around 10am. Lunch (almoco) is served from around midday up until 3pm. Dinner (jantar) is quite late, although not as late as in Spain, at between 7.30pm to 10pm with many restaurants serving considerably later than this.