Portugal’s coastal capital city is just as famous for its delicious street feet as its historical Roman fortress, St. George’s Castle, with its fortified stone walls, protective moat, and defence features. Whether sunbathing on pristine beaches located on the outskirts of Lisbon, wandering the cobblestoned streets admiring historical architecture, or visiting museums, street food stalls abound. Visitors can enjoy indulging their senses with grilled sardines, savoury pork and steak sandwiches, delicious custard tarts, and fluffy custard-filled doughnuts during their sojourn in Lisbon. Please refer to the list of the best street food you must try in Lisbon so as not to miss out on any of these flavourful delicacies.
1. Grilled sardines
While taking in the city’s historic architecture such as Praca do Commercio with its marble archways and spacious square lined with shops and restaurants, take time to sample one of Lisbon’s favourite culinary dishes, grilled sardines. Enjoy this salty delicacy usually served alongside a side salad and potatoes at most Lisbon restaurants during your visit. If possible, make certain to plan a visit to Lisbon in June to indulge in the month-long celebration of Lisbon Sardine Festival where booths of delicious grilled sardines can be found scattered throughout the city. Make certain to sample the grilled fish on cornbread which soaks up the fish flavour and oils to create a flavourful side to be enjoyed with a glass of white wine.
2. Bifana (pork sandwich)
Just as no trip to Lisbon would be complete without a ride on famed trolley Tram 28 along the cobblestone streets, visitors share an innate need to try a bifana. Bifana consists of a Portuguese bread roll topped with thin cutlets of marinated pork which have been seasoned with garlic, spices, olive oil, and white wine. The meat is marinated in the juices overnight to mix the flavours before boiling. Then it is served in a roll with sauteed onions. This is the perfect snack to satisfy your hunger before embarking on a journey to Roman-built St. George’s castle to admire the dry moat encircling the fortress, the thick brick walls, and canons used to protect medieval Lisbon from invading forces.
3. Petiscos (snack)
Petiscos is a snacking platter or appetizer usually enjoyed alongside a cold beer by the Portuguese. During May through September, the popular appetizer to indulge in at the bar is a large plate full of escargot. After admiring the sea life at Oceanarium, stroll over to a nearby restaurant to enjoy a plate of croquetas which are deep-fried cod nuggets combined with potato, eggs, parsley, and onion. Not to be missed on a hot summer day is the refreshing Salada De Polvo which is a salad comprised of octopus that has been marinated in olive oil and vinegar. It is served alongside fresh tomato, onion, and chopped herbs.
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4. Pão com Chouriço (pork sausage sandwich)
Before starting your adventure to explore the royal gardens at the Palace of the Marquises of Fronteira, make certain to pick up a savoury Pão com Chouriço. The pork sausage found in this delicious sandwich is comparable to chorizo and provides a rich and spicy flavour. These popular sausage-stuffed sandwiches are served hot out of the oven and are best-enjoyed when eaten immediately.
5. Pastel de nata (custard tart dusted with cinnamon)
After strolling through the lanes of fresh fruit and vegetables at Lisbon’s famous Mercado da Ribeira, stop by one of its stalls to indulge in delicious custard tarts. Pastel de nata refers to custard tarts in flaky pastry dusted with cinnamon. These delicious pastries are found throughout Lisbon’s bakeries and restaurants and can be enjoyed as a snack or a light dessert. Start your day of sightseeing with a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice accompanied by one of these creamy custard tarts.
6. Hot dog
Unlike American and Canadian hot dogs where you simply pile on relish, mustard, ketchup, or Cheez Whiz, the Portuguese combine many fresh ingredients to create a health-conscious speciality. This unique version of a hot dog consists of a bun filled with lettuce, corn, carrots, chips, ketchup, mayonnaise, and a sausage that is held in tight by ham and cheese slices. Since there are so many toppings, a regular hot dog bun would never suffice. To accommodate all ingredients comfortably a ciabatta, kaiser, or Portuguese bun is used.
7. Prego (steak sandwich)
Stop by the market for a sumptuous steak sandwich en route your trip to Queluz National Palace to explore its fountains, neoclassical architecture, luxe furnishings, and spectacular gardens. This delicious sandwich is created by marinating skirt steak overnight and frying it the next day. After slathering the soft flour-dusted roll with garlic, and butter infused with parsley leaves, thin slices of steak are placed on the roll to soak up the au jus. This popular mouth-watering street delicacy can be found throughout Lisbon’s markets and restaurants.
8. Bola de Berlim (custard filled doughnut)
As you start your day to explore the exhibits teeming with exotic animals at Lisbon Zoo. Stop in at one of the local bakeries to pick up some fluffy Bola de Berlim. These airy doughnuts are made of sweet dough and are filled with a custard filling. These delicious, fluffy doughnuts featured in many of Lisbon’s bakeries are finished off with a dusting of icing sugar and are best enjoyed hot. If these are anything like Waikiki’s famous Leonard’s custard-filled malasadas (Portuguese doughnuts), you must be certain to indulge in a number of them since it’s impossible to eat just one.
9. Salgados (salty deep-fried snacks)
After wandering through many of Lisbon’s notable museums, finish the day off by savouring some salgados at one of the city’s dining establishments. For seafood lovers, Rissol de Camaro will be a sumptuous deep-fried treat filled with shrimp. Those familiar with Indian cuisine will most likely enjoy sampling the Chamuças which are similar to samosas and are stuffed with meat or chicken. Croquettes are similar to thick deep-fried pancake filled with tuna, octopus, or bacalhau alongside onion and parsley best enjoyed as an appetizer, snack, or a light meal.
10. Castanhas (roasted chestnuts)
As visitors stroll through the cobblestone streets of Lisbon admiring its numerous landmarks and historical sites, they will come across many smoky carts selling roasted chestnuts. This salty snack is roasted in mineral coal and plenty of salt to unlock the nuts to release the special salty and sweet flavour and to keep them warm. Although this snack is quite salty, the nuts possess properties that provide many medical benefits as in helping to reduce blood pressure, reducing stress, and improving brain function.
Savour Lisbon's street delicacies
While riding the trolleys up and down the hilly capital of Lisbon, one cannot fail to notice the stands and food carts selling street food alongside pastel-hued historical structures. Bifanas, pregos, and hot dogs are ideal hearty sandwich choices for a grab-n-go meal before exploring the numerous attractions, golden sand beaches, and hilltop neighbourhoods of Lisbon. Before departing the beautiful coastal city of Lisbon, make certain to indulge in a custard-filled doughnut or some of the various tapas-style pesticos or salgados along with a cold beer.
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