When I stumbled across cheap plane tickets to Lisbon, I was like HOLD UP. HOLD UP A SECOND. Are they not the forefathers of the magnificence that is the Macanese egg tart?! Yes! I’M GOING ON AN ADVENTURE!
And not just any adventure. We went on a food adventure (the best kind of adventure). The day after we arrived in the City of Seven Hills we met up with the lovely Ruthy and Marcio of Treasures of Lisboa, who took us on an awesome four hour trip through the city eating all the things. We walked and ate and learned so much in the Cais do Sodré area we had to come back on our own later to really take it all in. I won’t tell you everything about the tour because you should try it for yourself, but here are some highlights! (Plus: discount code for the tour down below!)
Lisbon breakfast is delicious diabetes
Ruthy and Marcio (henceforth known as R&M not because I’m lazy but because it sounds super cool) started the food tour with a nice bit of history about Portugal, after which we had breakfast in a local pastelaria, or pastry shop. We got three different traditional sweet pastries to try – the breakfast of choice in Lisbon, coupled with a good espresso.
All the pastries were delicious and made me wonder how on earth the Portuguese are not fat. Actually, I found out why during my trip: it’s walking up and down all the freaking hills every day.
I loved the fluffy coconut bun in particular because it tastes like the love child of two of my favourite Chinese pastries: the pineapple bun and Hong Kong style coconut tart. Interesting to come across familiar flavours in unfamiliar places!
Pastéis de nata!
Remember the pastry chef rolling out dough a few posts back? This is what he was making. Piles and piles of pastéis de nata. Best eaten sprinkled with cinnamon! We got to try these as part of an awesome food tour with @treasuresoflisboa! Read about it #ontheblog and try the food tour yourself with a 10% VIP discount using the code DDE10 😋😎
After the sweet breakfast R&M took us out for dessert at their favourite pastéis de nata bakery. AND IT WAS AWESOME. The bakery is basically an open kitchen where they roll the dough and stuff right in front of you. I’ve never seen that much butter in one place in my life. It’s normal to have a quick breakfast standing at the counter in Lisbon, and we had our after-breakfast dessert standing at the counter watching the pastry chefs make countless pastéis de nata. I’ll talk about these famous Portuguese egg tarts later, but they were so good. So good.
Quiet streets and hilltop views
Walking from one cafe to the next pastelaria to the next restaurant, Ruthy told us so much about the city, its history and the culture. For example, there’s a tragic history behind the beautiful tiles you see all over the city. The food tour took us through quiet little streets with orange trees and a little known hilltop view over the city. When you’re walking down those quiet streets with the pink and yellow houses and vibrant Tardis blue doors, you forget you’re actually in a big city. Why can’t we have pink houses in The Netherlands?!
To my joy, R&M would not stop making us eat, which in hindsight is exactly what to expect on a food tour. Another classic are these little pastéis de bacalhau, or salt cod fritters. They’re a mix of codfish, eggs, parsley and onion. And you know what? They taste so Chinese. Not Chinese restaurant Chinese, but Chinese homecooking. I guess salted fish tastes like salted fish wherever you are.
We went on to have much more little bites, including Portuguese ham, sardines and some really good cheese, but throughout the tour we also got to try local liqueurs and wines. Frank did anyway – I don’t drink, I just like to smell the wines. Instead I found out that the Portuguese have really good fresh orange juice that I ended up drinking every day on our trip. Ruthy was worried that the pear juice packet she gave me was too childish, but joke’s on her – I still watch Pokémon sipping Capri-Sun at home.
We ended the food tour with a full, happy belly and I can’t thank Ruthy and Marcio enough for taking us through the city they clearly love very much. If you ever decide to visit Lisbon (and you should, because look at those colours!) and you want to go on a food adventure like this, Treasures of Lisboa offers two tours: one in the famous Alfama district and this one in the beautiful Chiado district.
Because Frank and I both loved the tour and are convinced you would love it too, we’re partnering up with Treasures of Lisboa to give you a 10% VIP discount using the code DDE10. So go and treat yourself to an awesome food adventure!