Go on a culinary journey to Portugal with this list of dishes you should definitely try if you plan to visit the Algarve region. Portuguese cuisine is unique, and so are the specialities of Faro that we've picked for your delight.
Faro has a lot to offer, and especially if you are a foodie, this city will interest you. Portuguese dishes are unique, but let's talk about the food in Faro first. So, let's say you've rented a car in Faro and are now exploring the city. It's time to eat, have a snack or petiscos or take your loved ones out for dinner. Like its cousin Spain, Portugal offers all kinds of culinary delights that you should not miss. Spanish and Portuguese cuisine is under the influence of the Mediterranean. Especially in Faro, there are endless dishes with all kinds of seafood - from mussels to fish to octopus and lobsters. Faro's specialties are Xarém com Conquilhas, Carne de Porco Alentejana, Arroz de Lingueirao, Raia de Alhada and Petiscos; and believe it or not, they are all delicious and all contain seafood in one way or another. Faro should be called the city of seafood.
Whether staying in Faro or just passing through, this is an exciting place for all gastronomic lovers. However, Portugal would be a pleasant surprise if you thought of Spain as your ultimate destination to enjoy all the culinary delights. Here are five dishes from Faro that we tried for you, and we recommend you follow our steps. These traditional dishes should be on your list when you are in Faro!
Top 5 Faro dishes you must try when you're in Portugal:
Xarém com Conquilhas
First on our Faro foodie list is Xarem com conquilhas. It is a typical Faro dish, known for its rich flavour and spicy aroma. The dish - prepared with cornmeal and seafood - combines different textures and flavours such as garlic, lemon slices, olive oil, cilantro and, of course, baby clams or conquilhas. In 2011, this dish was declared one of the 21 Wonders of the World of Portuguese Gastronomy. It goes very well with beer or wine.
Carne de Porco Alentejana
When in Faro and exploring the food and gastronomic masterpieces, you will quickly discover that the Portuguese are crazy about seafood. They even mix seafood with pork like their cousins, the Spanish. Carne de Porco Alentejana is their classic dish. The recipe calls for marinated pork, which they sear, mix with shellfish, and then cook it all together. There are many different ways to prepare the marinade, but generally, they use paprika, garlic, cilantro, pepper and white wine. After the meat is tender and the flavours are in full bloom, potatoes are added to slowly cook in the sauce and add the finishing touch to the dish. The final product is a sensational blend of flavours.
Arroz de Lingueirao
Arroz de Lingueirao is another wonder from Portugal Gastronomy in 2011. Another wonder with, yes, seafood. This time it is mixed with rice. Clams are everywhere on the coast, so the Portuguese said to themselves, hey, this time we'll combine them with rice, tomatoes, chilli, garlic, olive oil and white wine. And they did it; this exceptionally creamy risotto will make you want to rent a car and drive back to Faro, trust us. We tried it at home, but Faro's chefs know their stuff.
Raia de Alhada
Do you like ray fish? Its meat is used in many fancy restaurants worldwide, but it's also a key ingredient in this Faro food. Raia de Alhada is fried skate fish with lots of garlic and olive oil. It's usually served with sliced potatoes or cooked vegetables, and it could easily be our favourite faro dish.
Petiscos - Portuguese tapas
Let's get back to the basics. We're all familiar with Spanish tapas. Well, petiscos are a Spanish version of that. There's not much difference between them, but it would be a shame if you didn't try both. So, if you're in Faro, do as the Portuguese do - order petiscos! You usually order petiscos as a side dish with your beer or wine, or you can try them as an appetizer. You can try many different petiscos. One of our favourites was Pica-Pau with pork, sausage and cheese. But there are also moelas - chicken gizzard stew, pataniscas - cod with onions in a cake and the octopus salad with lots of olive oil and parsley. Bon appetite!