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This is the searchable online international food dictionary with 67,413 terms in 307 languages plus 42,027 plurals.

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The database behind this site was the loving creation of Suzy Oakes, who has since passed away. She is greatly missed. You can see her obituary in the Guardian

A cookbook, featuring Suzy's favourite recipies, is available. People who are interested should contact Mun Flint. Currently, the cost is £12.50 plus postage and packing. All proceeds go to the Suzy Oakes Trust for Mill Road.

Picture of cover of recipe book

Portuguese food and cuisine

Portugal occupies the western side of the Iberian Peninsula and is an Atlantic rather than a Mediterranean country. It has important fisheries and forests and is noted for the production of port wine which it exports along with sardines and cork from the cork oak. Most of the country enjoys a temperate climate with a moderately heavy rainfall. The Algarve in the extreme south has a sub-tropical climate with vegetation reminiscent of north Africa. Wheat, maize, beans vines and olives are grown in the valleys of the west of Portugal while the mountainous eastern part of the country produces more cork than anywhere else in the world. Resin from pines is also a significant export.

Its colonisation of the East Indies has shaped the cuisine of Portugal, with spices, in particular chillis, cumin and coriander (US: cilantro), being a regular addition to most dishes. The Moorish influence on the cuisine resulted in the use of almonds and figs in the cooking and they also introduced lemon and orange trees to the Algarve where they still flourish.

Most restaurants will display a menu and may have a dish of the day (prato do dia). Soup is a staple of the Portuguese meal with caldo verde, a cabbage soup from Minho with spiced sausage, being particularly well known. The thickened, starchy bread soups or açordas are another. Bacalhua, dried cod, is ubiquitous and is produced in a multitude of ways, some of which are really delicious. Fish is a huge component of the Portuguese cuisine, with many varieties of fish being used, Especially good is the caldeirada, in which several kinds of fish are stewed with onions, tomatoes, potatoes, spices and oil.

Grilled foods are popular, with grilled chicken (frango no churrasco) and sardines (sardinhas assadas) among the favourite. Pulses such as lentils and beans are used in soups and stews, especially the feijoada. Rice or potatoes accompany many dishes.

Everything I ever read about Portugese cuisine seems to include mention of the matança, though your chances, or appetite to see this event are in doubt. As with the Spanish and Italian matanza, the matança is a day on which the butchering of a pig takes place. The animal is promptly broken down into its parts, the blood used in making black pudding or blood sausage (morcela), and various parts of the animal not suitable for grilling or roasting made into spicy sausages such as chouriço (the Portuguese answer to chorizo) and linguiça. The head is used to make brawn cabeça. Nothing is wasted.

Portuguese cuisine is renowned for its sweets and pastries. Belem, famous for its tower and just to the west of, and a short tram ride from Lisbon, is also noted for the scrumptious, but spectacularly sweet, pastéis de Belem. Sintra provides its rival, queijada (de Sintra). For dessert, the two most commonly available puds are leite-crème, a sort of set egg custard, and arroz doce (rice pudding).

We recommend that you click on the region of interest under 'See places' below to help you to find out about local foods and dishes.

So far, I have made some 2,500 entries in Portuguese, but you can bet that the item you are searching for is not among them. If this is the case, please e-mail and I will try to respond with the information you need.

Portuguese food and cuisine
Poppies under the olives near Pinhão on the Douro

Ethnicity: Portuguese
Most frequent country: Portugal

See places: Madeira, Alentejo, Algarve, Alto Alentejo, Baixo Alentejo, Beira Alta, Beira Baixa, Beira Litoral, Douro Litoral, Estremadura, Minho, Ribatejo, Trás-os-Montes, Aveiro, Beja, Braga, Bragança, Castel Branco, Coimbra, Évora, Faro, Guarda, Leiria, Lisboa, Portalegre, Porto, Santarém, Setúbal, Viana do Caste, Vila Real, Viseu

See foods and dishes: açorda, aletria, arroz doce, cabeça, caldeirada, chouriço, feijoada, frango no churrasco, leite-creme, linguiça, morcela, pasteis de Belem, pudim flan, queijada, sardinhas assadas

Feel free to e-mail us if you have any comments, but be aware that the database is just being maintained, not updated.

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