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Top 10 food experiences on the Camino Portugués

01/06/2018

As a foodie, I not only very much enjoyed my camino experience from a spiritual perspective but also from a culinary one as I got to try different dishes from both the Portuguese and Spanish cuisine all along the way from Porto to Santiago de Compostela.

The following were my favourite ones, in the order that I ate them:

 

  1. Cachorro quente

You wouldn’t necessarily think of eating hot dogs when in Porto. But the one I tried at The Dog Casa dos Cachorros was really good. It was served in a thin baguette and embedded in melted cheese and a slightly spicy sauce. By the way, the Portuguese term cachorro quente (hot dog) sounded cruel to me at first as it literally translates into “hot puppy”.

 

  1. Pasteis de nata

These typical egg tart pastries are simply delicious. You’ll find them in almost any Portuguese bakery or café. As for myself, I just can’t get enough of them.  If you haven’t ever tried pasteis de nata, it’s time you do so.

 

  1. Francesinha

The Francesinha (Frenchie) is a sandwich that came into existence in the 1960s when someone tried to adapt the French croque-monsieur to the Portuguese cuisine. It consists of bread, different types of meat (ham, sausage, steak) and a mysterious beer sauce. The Francesinha is usually served with fries and an egg on top. It somehow reminded me of Québec’s famous Poutine, probably due to the gravy.

 

  1. Pilgrims menu

As a pilgrim on the camino you’ll have many opportunities to try one of the many pilgrims menus that are offered in restaurants along the way or in the villages you pass by. It’s like a menu of the day, generally consisting of some type of meat or fish, rice or potatoes and salad or vegetables. The pilgrims menu includes a drink and dessert / coffee and the prices vary between 6  – 10 €.

 

  1. Eggs, bacon and fries

After several days of walking the camino, I started craving proteins, especially pasta and eggs. When I reached Tui, the first town in Spain right across the Portuguese border, I chose eggs, bacon and fries for dinner and walked happily ever after.

 

  1. Montaditos

The Cervecería 100 Montaditos is a Spanish chain restaurant serving sandwiches and other snacks. You fill out a form indicating which montaditos (little sandwiches) you’d like to have and hand it to the cashier. Then, all you have to do is waiting until someone calls out your name (or fake name) and hands you the freshly prepared order. This is a good option to try several Spanish ingredients (such as Iberian ham and cheese selections) for competitive prices. Each montadito costs 1 – 2 €. This restaurant has chains in many larger Spanish towns and cities, including Pontevedra, which is a famous stopover on the camino.

 

  1. Tortilla española and pimientos de Padrón

Home-made food is simply the best, regardless of where you are in the world. Home-made food after a day of hiking is even better. At the Albergue Catro Canos, a pilgrim hostel which I previously mentioned here, I had Spanish tortilla and Padrón peppers for dinner which turned out to be a perfect choice. The tortilla is a mix of eggs and potatoes and the salt-topped green peppers are sometimes sweet, sometimes spicy. You never really know until you try them. Just as it is the case with experiences in life.

 

  1. Galician stew

I came upon another example of delicious home-made food on my second last day of hiking after reaching the Albergue La Calabaza del Peregrino in Teo-Faramello.  After a 31 km hike with pain in my Achilles heels, I was extremely exhausted and hungry. I ordered a Galician stew and it was so good I forgot everything about the pain, indulging myself with the warm mix of meat, potatoes and vegetables. The stew later became a conversation topic with a fellow pilgrim who had been at the hostel just one day before me and had ordered the exact same meal.

 

  1. Bocadillo

In Spain, a bocadillo is a sandwich whereas in Colombia the term depicts a kind of guava jelly dessert. Actually, the ending “-illo” / “-illa” indicates something rather small. So I was quite surprised by the size of the bocadillo I was served in Santiago. It was larger than a kebab. On top of that, it was accompanied by various tapas (appetizers) such as crisps, olives and even a small portion of stew. The bocadillo I ordered contained a steak, cheese and tomatoes and was quite tasty.

 

  1. Churros and hot chocolate

Churros are fried-dough pastries which may be dipped into thick hot chocolate or coffee. This is a Spanish classic which is often served for breakfast. When in Spain, make sure to try it. This may become your next guilty pleasure.

 

How about YOU? Which have been your top food experiences in Portugal and Spain, regardless of whether you tried them on the camino or elsewhere? Feel free to share your recommendations in the comment section. Your fellow foodies will appreciate it.  

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3 Comments
  1. Love your post. Glad you try pasteis de nata and Francesinha it’s really really good. It’s nice to see that you had a good time. Hope you enjoy. What did you think about Portugal? ☺

    • Muito obrigada, Irina! I really had a good time. I’ve been to Portugal three times so far (in Lisboa, Albufeira and Porto) and it’s always been special. So I think I’ll definitely be back at some point. 🙂

      • De nada 😉 Still much to see in this small country. But there are many adventures all around the world. Glad you like it. Have fun 😉

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