Portugal is about more than just bread and wine (but the bread and wine are fantastic)

In my country Portugal, you can eat and drink quite well at a very reasonable price! As all my friends know I love good food and I'm always opened to try out new Restaurantes and enjoy different menues from the various regions There are multitudes of local restaurants to choose from, even in the tiniest villages; and it doesn’t even matter which one you pick, as they all virtually meet the same expectations in quality, price, service and selection. Portuguese food doesn’t have the same high profile as other European cuisines, with menus usually relying on a traditional repertoire of grilled fish and meat, hearty stews and casseroles, and the ubiquitous salted cod (bacalhau), nearly all served with the same trio of accompaniments – rice, potatoes and salad.There are, of course, blindingly good exceptions to the norm in every town, crispy suckling pig from the local grill house, sardines straight from the fishing boat and slapped on the barbecue, a slow-cooked ragout of wild boar in a country tavern, and these are the kind of simple, earthy dishes that Portugal excels in. Most restaurants are also extremely good value, while Portuguese wine enjoys a growing worldwide reputation – if you’re not yet familiar with them, you’ll soon come to relish a refreshing glass of vinho verde on a hot day, or a gutsy Alentejo red with your grilled meat.

This makes it challenging to have a less than stellar dining experience, which is probably why the Portuguese, and I, eat out so often. However, there are certain cultural tendencies in the local restaurant scene that remain unknown to the average tourist; and a simple miscommunication in one of these mores could quickly sour a dining experience. Therefore, I would like give some important tips to all future visitors of Portugal, in hopes that they will experience nothing less than a great meal out! Deciding what to eat can be hard if you don’t speak the language, don’t understand the menus and can’t ask questions. It’ s usually easier to opt for the simple option of something grilled with salad and chips, than risk trying something else that might turn out to be something you really can’t stomach. In tourist areas, like the Algarve or the city centre of Lisbon and Porto, you will find some translated menus, but the translations are often slightly off or comically wrong. While this is amusing at first, it can soon become just plain irritating.

Leitão (Suckling Pig) is the most important gastronomic tradition in  Bairrada (Bairrada is a Portuguese wine region located in the Beira Litoral Province. It is located close to the Atlantic which ocean currents have a moderating effect on the climate. The boundaries of Bairrada includes the municipalities of Anadia, Cantanhede, Mealhada and Oliveira do Bairro.)