Do you eat to travel or travel to eat? There's no question for me—I definitely and happily fall into the latter category! Food is beautiful, brings people together in joyful settings, and tells us about a society's culture.

Here's some of what eating and drinking your way through Portugal involves.

 
 

 
 

pastries

Windows of pastelarias throughout Portugal are filled with lavish displays of delectables pastries, and the traditional pastéis de Belém (or pastéis de nata), a rich egg custard tart, is found nearly everywhere. They are simply delish—rich and creamy—and it became our mission to locate the best one. That, of course, required lots of tasting and comparing—such a hardship!

 
 
 
 

PORTUGUESE EGG CUSTARD TARTS
by Melissa Clark
New York Times Cooking

  • 14 ounces all-butter puff pastry, thawed if frozen
  • 1 cup/200 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup plus 6 tablespoons/330 milliliters whole milk
  • ½ cup/65 grams all-purpose flour
  • 6 large egg yolks
  •  Ground cinnamon, for serving

Full baking instructions at New York Times Cooking.

 
 

 
 

meat + fish

Meat-lovers and fish-lovers, rejoice! You'll love the abundance of grilled fish and meat in Portugal!

Naturally, because Portugal is a coastal country, fresh fish is abundant. Sea bass, sardines, octopus, and stuffed squid dishes are popular. But codfish, or bacalhau, outshines them all. Many have referred to this dried cod as a national obsession. It's often served as a fried potato/cod croquet called a pastel de bacalhau. Rick Steves says: "Imagine, the national dish of Portugal is cod and it’s never fresh—only salty and imported from Norway. This—a national dish that is imported from far away—must be unique in the world. Like Portugal itself."

Conditions in Portugal are ideal for raising the black Alentejano pig, which naturally has more fat in its meat and tastes especially succulent. Menus are filled with all sorts tasty pork dishes. 

 
 
 
 
 

sampling croquetes at time out market, lisbon

PORTUGUESE SALT COD FRITTERS
by David Leite
Leite's Culinaria

  • 10 ounces salted cod, preferably thick pieces
  • 14 ounces russet potatoes, unpeeled
  • 1 small onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 large eggs
  • Vegetable or canola oil, for frying

Full cooking instructions at Leite's Culinaria.

 
 

 
 

port + wine

What would Portugal be without port or the local wines ? 

 
 

learning about port on a free afternoon in—where else—porto

 

a final sampling of deliciousness