I Tried So You Don’t Have To

I try 2

An ongoing series about food and drink items in Portugal that may seem unusual to the American palette, or cultural experiences in Portugal that you might want an experienced expat to weigh in on first.

Spoiler alert: you should try most of them.

Recent Posts:

  • Americans, Portuguese, and Tripe: The “Fifth Quarter” (and Final Frontier?) of Meat
    If you were a spoiled, er, middle-class child raised in the late twentieth-century United States, you probably contorted your face in disgust at least once as your grandpa waxed ecstatic about liver and onions.  Fast forward to adulthood, and that same “you” may still scoff at grandpa’s favorite meal but … Read more
  • Lampreia (Sea Lamprey)
    What makes a food a delicacy? According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, it’s “something pleasing to eat that is considered rare or luxurious.”  For The New York Times, it’s often when foods once eaten only by the poor become attractive to the wealthy because those foods are now rare.  In Portugal, a … Read more
  • Online Shopping in Portugal
    Years ago, a friend of mine here once said to me that he didn’t think online shopping was ever going to take off in Portugal.  He seemed to believe that the Portuguese culture and temperament were fundamentally incompatible with the whole enterprise of e-commerce.  Ever the American optimist for whom … Read more
  • Doces Fálicos (Phallic Sweets)
    If you’re in the market for a day trip from Porto, about 50 minutes northeast of Porto lies the medieval village of Amarante, nestled in the Tâmega river valley. Before you start wondering about what to see in Amarante, let me sum it up for you: its principal tourist attractions … Read more
  • Bolo Rei (King’s Cake)
    When the holiday season rolls around, the Portuguese bolo-rei cake starts making an appearance, and different variations on the theme pop up throughout Europe as well. (In New Orleans, too, for Mardi Gras.) These “king’s cakes” as they’re called in English are generally spiced, come in a ring shape, and contain … Read more
  • Caracóis (Snails)
    The small land snails eaten throughout the Mediterranean, known as caracóis in Portugal, are a great introduction into the flavors and culture of southern Portugal.  Enjoyed primarily in Lisbon, the Alentejo, and the Algarve – less so in the north, but you can still find them in Porto – the … Read more
  • Driving (and Parking) in Portugal
    Much like people who wonder whether learning to speak Portuguese is “easy” or “hard” (to which I answer: neither, it’s all in your head), people often ask about driving in Portugal and whether driving is “easy” or “hard” and if drivers are “good” or “bad.” And the answer is: all … Read more
  • Percebes (Gooseneck Barnacles)
    I still remember the first time I had percebes in Portugal, but the first time I had percebes period was in Spain, where they are also eaten, and also called percebes.  (Don’t let this fool you into thinking that Portugal and Spain are the same country, as I have pointed … Read more
  • Portugal Sardines? Yes, Please
    There’s an old refrain that you should never order fish on Monday because, historically, fishing boats didn’t go out to sea on Sundays, so fish served Monday is two days old.  But times – and refrigeration techniques — have changed.  Even Anthony Bourdain eventually gave fish on Mondays the green … Read more

Copying of An American in Portugal site content has been disabled.