Piri Piri: Can you take the heat?

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It appears that the people of foodie world have discovered a new destination. Portugal! Are you making plans for summer vacation? If so, you might want to consider Lisbon. It’s hot, hot, hot! Speaking of hot, the first Portuguese food item you’ll probably fall in love with (like me) is the piri piri sauce. It has a spicy chilli flavor, and it’s also made of olive oil, garlic and lemon juice or vinegar.

Piri piri is a great example of the history of Portuguese cuisine. The condiment takes its name from the incendiary piri-piri pepper, which grows in the former Portuguese colonies of Africa. That’s how Portuguese food differs from other European cuisines. It mixes influences from Africa, Far East, the New World and the Eastern Indies. Indeed, Portuguese food is the original fusion cuisine.

_piripiri hchef2Seafood shines in Portugal. One of my favourite dishes is Sardinhas, grilled fresh sardines with olive oil, garlic, lemon and herbs. So simple, so delicious. Salted cod, Bacalhau, is a must-try when visiting Europe’s Westernmost country. As is the rice and seafood dish Arroz de Marisco, and the mixed grill of skewered shellfish, Perelhada. Mussels are also fantastic. Oh, and of course: prawns with piri piri sauce!

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For a sweet tooth there’s nothing better than the legendary Portuguese custard tart Pastéis de nata. We’re lucky to get them nowadays also in the UAE, as they are becoming as popular as brownies and cakes in bakeries and cafés.

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Travel fever yet? Happy planning!

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