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Best Street Foods You Need to Try in Portugal

Best Street Foods You Need to Try in Portugal

by Kate Khom


People often forget about food, when discussing their visit to another country. They talk about things such as the culture, the landmarks, and famous tourist attractions, but hardly ever mention the .

That is a shame because often times the unique culture of a country is best shown in what they eat, what their food is like in general and how they eat it. Portugal’s street food is fairly unique and they make some great food overall.

For one thing, they tend to focus on portability as well as making sure the food is easy to digest. This leads to lots of natural ingredients or at least doing their best to focus on them.

Depending on what you need, you can find these street foods in:

  • Cafes and little restaurants made to accommodate on the go eaters.
  • Food trucks
  • Pop-up food places

Must Try Foods

These are by no means all of the foods you can get on the go in Portugal, but they are the ones I most recommend and think would be a real shame to miss:

     1. Castanhas Assadas

Castanhas Assadas

Translated as “roast chestnuts” these are a Portuguese delicacy not because of what they are, but how they are made. The emphasis is in choosing the best possible chestnuts as well as the best oven and salt to go along with it.

There are some sweet varieties of this, as a niche food, but we’ll be focusing on the salty, more common and palatable version.

To put it simply, the goal when preparing this portable dish is drawing out the best flavor of the chestnut’s “flesh”. That’s why there’s a process to making them.

Usually, you use open flame or even a specialized over and meticulously salt them at specific periods, to bring out the best possible flavor. Only a few people manage to nail this recipe outside of Portugal, and even they tend to think something is missing.

As a rule, this is seen as a snack or perhaps a light meal these days. Traditionally, they used to even be side dishes and replacements for bread, centuries ago.

     2. Bifana


This is a Portuguese staple of culinary delight, often used as a lighter lunch, with something else or as a snack food, even fast food on the go. The trick to bifana is that it’s not overwhelming, but it still fills you up and leaves you sated.

The bread needs to be light and crusty and the pork, after being sautéed, is seasoned with:

  • Spices- Usually something milder, to not ruin the flavor composition. Definitely nothing overtly spicy or bitter.
  • Garlic- Ideally, it’s been chopped and minced up to almost a paste. Using larger chunks is fine, but the best flavor combination occurs when you get it as small as possible.
  • White wine- Nothing expensive or too refined, simple white wines are the best.

Despite the fact it can be a bit on the greasy side, this isn’t a messy food. The regional differences tend to alter this, sometimes adding sauces or toppings that might make it harder to eat cleanly.

As an amusingly ironic twist, this sandwich, which has fairly high-quality ingredients, goes best with cheap, regular beer. It’s not a necessity, but most agree it enhances the taste.

     3. Bola de Berlim

Bola de Berlim

It would be a gross oversight to not mention something that you can eat for dessert, as the final example. And what better thing to mention than something that can be found in cafes and at street vendors all over Portugal, with some of them even selling this on the beach during summer.

Literally named a “Berlin Ball” these have been a part of Portuguese cuisine for ages. In fact, the tradition is that these be present at any larger event, as a dessert offering.

Sweet-fried dough is used to make these and they have no hole, just like the German version. They can be filled or sprinkled with:

  • Nothing at all- the traditional version
  • Creme- Slightly more modern and based on egg yolk, for more sweetness
  • Sugar- The only other thing allowed on a traditional bola

Definitely a dessert not to miss most would insist.

Final Word

Believe it or not, these are just the tip of the iceberg. The most well-known and traditional street foods of Portugal.

I hope your curiosity has been piqued and you plan to try them all and more when you get the chance.


Kate is passionate writer who likes sharing her thoughts and experience with the readers. Currently she works as real estate agent, you can check her website. She likes everything related to traveling and new countries.