Food habits from Portugal

All countries have their own eating habits (the English breakfast, for instance, is a classic). We are no different. Here are a few typical food habits from Portugal, which are still cross country habits:

a) coffee – the typical Portuguese drinks an average of 2 to 3 cups of coffee every single day. We drink it for all sorts of reasons: to wake up in the morning, with work colleagues, when talking to a friend over a café table, after lunch or dinner, because it is not fattening and fills an empty stomach, because it is good…;

b) we like to have our main meals with some bread – true, specially the older generation, still enjoy having their soup or main course with a little bit of bread (in the North, mostly with “broa”, a type of heavy, dark bread, made with different types of flour);

Food habits from Portugal

c) a beer with lupins – on a warm Summer afternoon, or when it is particularly hot, there is nothing better for a Portuguese than to sit with friends at a café or a terrace whilst drinking an ice-cold beer and picking salty lupins. It’s pure heaven!;

d) work lunches – whilst in most European countries lunches are quick and made up of a sandwich, a piece of fruit and a coca-cola, for instance, the average Portuguese still has a complete meal over lunch, even on work days. It includes soup, the main course, a dessert or a piece of fruit and a cup of coffee;

e) students – our students, and you will see a lot of them doing this in Coimbra, Porto and Lisbon, love to study at cafés. They ask for a coffee and a glass of water, if they do not have much money, and will sit there for hours reading their notebooks. More often than not they will be joined by other students and they will all carry on studying (or not);

f) “bolas de Berlim”, or Berliners, are a type of fried doughnut, which is extremely popular in many beaches around Lisbon and also in the Algarve. In the Summer, they are sold from a basket carried by men who criss-cross our beaches;

g) codfish – most Portuguese love codfish. We boast of having more than 1000 codfish recipes and all traditional Christmas dinners (on 24th December) will include it with baked potatoes, cabbage and the best possible olive oil;

h) early morning, at cafés, it is not unusual to see people eating cakes, such as custard tarts, with an expresso for breakfast! Not particularly healthy, we would say…

We could carry on… but it would take you too much time to read!