Porto is a coastal town. Fish and seafood are high on the menu. Bacalhau, or codfish, is probably the most popular fish in Portuguese cuisine, but oddly enough, these fish aren’t caught in Portuguese waters. For this salted delight, the fish have to be caught or imported from colder seas. Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá is a local favourite, made with salted cod, eggs, garlic and potatoes.
One of the foods you’re bound to see in Porto is tripe (cow’s stomach), which the locals prepare in a variety of ways. They like it so much that Tripeiros (tripe eaters) is their nickname. As the tale goes, the inhabitants of Porto gave their best beef to Henry the Navigator, ensuring his successful conquest of Ceuta and after Henry’s departure, they were only left with tripe. The Tripeiros love (although there are a few who aren’t so keen) Tripas à moda do Porto, or Tripe Porto Style, which is cooked with butter beans, fat, sausage and tripe, spiced with black pepper or cumin. Some guests to the city come to love it, while others think it’s awful. That’s for you to decide, if you dare.
Another local staple that will stay in your stomach for days is the Francesinha, or the ‘little French girl.’ Don’t worry, the natives haven’t gone cannibal. The Francesinha is a sandwich layered with fat and different kinds of meat, drowning in spicy gravy, served in a large bowl. Can you feel your arteries hardening yet?
Most of the traditional foods tend to be on the heavy side. Around Easter you can sink your chops into some Cabrito Assado (roasted lamb). There are plenty of cakes, egg pastries and sugary breads as well, like the Papos de Anjo to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Port Wine is synonymous with Porto. The production and export of this sweet libation has brought a lot of wealth to the region. Apart from Port wine, the Alto Douro also produces some fine reds and dry whites. You’ll find more than enough food to stuff your belly, and lots of drink to wash it down with. So, bom apetite!