Porto and its Extraordinary Food (Part 2)

Caldo Verde

When visiting Porto, we always try to discover new restaurants and new recipes  We are mostly interested of course in the local cuisine and the changes and improvements that famous chefs brings to the most well known traditional recipes. One of our favorite dishes to experience again and again is Caldo Verde. So this part of Portugal is the right place for us to go to, as one can always find Caldo Verde in the Porto and Minho menus. This soup, made with potatoes, julienned cabbage and a sprinkle of olive oil, and served with broa, is mentioned in several of Camilo Castelo Branco’s books as a morning food. it is usually served at the beginning of a meal or as a late supper due to its simplicity and lightness. We would not recommend another place to experience this wonderful dish than in the restaurants of Porto and Minho.

Tripas à moda do Porto

The dish after which the Porto people are named has a long story. In Porto, we were told that the most popular version of the story, that also has more historical evidence, has its origin in the great adventure of the Discoveries. We always loved history so learning about this was really a great delight for us. Porto-born Prince Henry needed meat to supply the caravels leaving to conquer Ceuta and asked his people to help him victual the vessels. 

The people of Porto came forward and immediately filled the wooden barrels with salted meat, keeping only the tripe, which was then cooked in a thick stew with sausages and fat meat, and eaten with big slices of dark bread. Later on, the same man who had been responsible for the provision of the caravels, discovered new worlds, thus introducing a new ingredient – the butter bean. The dish became part of the history of a city, which is characterized not only by this juicy recipe, with the flavor of cumin and black pepper, seasoned with homemade sausages and fat chicken, but also by an altruistic gesture in a decisive moment of the Portuguese nation


Although this is considered to be the evening dish in Porto, the city’s late night or fast food choice, we have discovered that Francesinha has become very popular with the tourists and it is now served at any time of the day by most restaurants. Local guides also help with that, as they recommended to everybody as the best sandwich in the world. We were not convinced and wouldn't go that far. Still, one has to try it at least once to what's all the fuss about. As for it's origins, a Portuguese emigrant in France introduced the recipe in the 60's as an innovative croque-monsieur. The quantity and diversity of the ingredients, seasoned with a hot seafood sauce, meet the needs of the Porto people, who like strong and heavy flavored foods. It is, therefore, an inventive hot filling dish for youthful occasions.