Visitors to the Algarve are sometimes bewildered, not to mention repelled, by the strange translations that appear on many portuguese restaurant menus. Fish Rice just doesn’t sound very appetising, does it? There are many algarvian dishes that are absolutely delicious but whose names don’t translate well. So more often than not visitors will opt for the safer sounding option – and miss out on some memorable meals. Below are a few pointers for dishes you really ought to try at least once – you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised.
Camarão - Prawns – not too much of a mystery here. Served with garlic and piri-piri, eaten with your fingers and washed down with chilled vinho verde - an Algarve summer on a plate.
Arroz de Peixe – Fish rice. When well done this is one of the most delicious dishes you can have. A medley of fresh fish cooked with rice, tomatoes and peppers. Very importantly – it should be garnished with plenty of fresh coriander or fresh mint. The herbs give it that real Algarve taste.
Massada de Peixe – fish with pasta. Similar to the dish above, the massada de peixe uses pasta rather than rice, again with plenty of herbs. This dish should come with plenty of stock and can be eaten with a spoon.
Peixe do Dia – fish of the day. Grilled over charcoal, served with a salad – divine.
Feijoada de Buzinas – this translates as Bean stew with Whelks. Bean stews are common in Portuguese cooking – this version is the Algarve variant on the theme. Different types of beans are used in these dishes and the shellfish gives a distinctive flavour. You can also find Feijoada de Choco – Bean stew with Cuttlefish. A great winter dish is the Feijoada à Portuguesa – plenty of beans, cabbage, pork, bacon and sausages.
Caldeirada – a fish stew that is as simple as it is delicious. Potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and fresh fish cooked in white wine and, once again, garnished with plenty of herbs.
Cataplana – served in the distinctive copper dishes, this dish can be made with pork and clams (very Algarve) with fish, chicken or rabbit.
Lulas – squid and Choco – cuttle fish. In the Algarve squid is served in many different manners – but usually not as calamari. Baby squid fried in garlic, squid stuffed with rice and vegetables. Try the fried squid still with it’s ink – messy but delicious.
Not in need of translation but always tasty – chicken piri-piri, Portuguese steak and any of the very good pork dishes