Portugal,  Portugal,  Restaurant Visit/Review,  Travel

Bites in Lisbon/Sintra, Portugal

I just spent the weekend in Portugal, and I have to tell you… The rumors are true! The Portuguese sure know how to do pastries… Walk into any local pastelaría (pastry shop) in Lisbon and you will find yourself surrounded by a mountain of pastries. Sweet or savory, bite-sized or the size of your head, you are bound to find something that appetizes you. Just a few tasty suggestions:

  • Pastéis de Nata or Pastéis de Belém (traditional pastry made with flaky crust, custard filling and bruléed top… click here for a pic… so popular that now Brazil’s fast food chain Habib’s actually has their own version on the menu)
  • apple-stuffed pastry (not too sweet, just right)
  • empanada-type pastry with shrimp & creamy filling
  • puff pastry squares baked with ham (fiambre) and cheese (queijo) inside
  • fish fritters (made with whitefish & herbs… hard to explain, but delicious)
  • croquetes (made with seasoned ground beef and chouriço (chorizo in Esp)
  • roll stuffed with sliced chouriço (delicious choice for breakfast)
  • roll/bread with chunks of chouriço baked right in

On a completely unrelated note, Lisbon is also home to some amazing Asian food. Restaurant Ton Xin (Av. Brasilia – Edificio Espelho de Agua) is on the water, between Ponte 25 (bridge) and La Torre de Belém. They have three parts to the restaurant: 1. You can enjoy a sit-down meal of Chinese food. 2. Sit-down meal of Japanese food. 3. The WOK. I recommend the WOK. It’s all-you-can-eat, and the food is fabulous. They have cooked-to-order wok food, a hot Chinese food bar, cold food bar, sushi bar, and dessert bar. For the wok food, you select your own ingredients from a buffet-style line-up, choose your sauce, and the wok chef cooks it for you in a number of minutes. They have seven sauces to choose from… Try the Gon Bao sauce if you enjoy make-you-cry spicyness or if you are congested, or try the Thailand sauce, which is fantastic. They have less-hot sauces, like sweet-and-sour or garlic, and they even have a curry sauce. All in all, it is inexpensive (13.90€) and worth the trip out to the shore. As it says in their brochure, “If you want to taste the really Chinese food, came and visit us.”

If you are in the mood for food from the other side of Asia, check out Bengal Tandoori on Rua Pendôa 11 in Sintra. It’s got a sort of bizarre combination of Indian and Italian food, but it works if you have friends with different tastes. As far as Italian goes, the spaghetti/rigatoni con carne is recommended. As far as Indian goes, check out the chicken tikka masala (very saucy, not like others that we’ve had, but very delicious), the malai kofta (specialty of the house — veggie patties sort of like falafel with a creamy and spiced sauce), veg soup (that’s really what it’s called, and it’s good), and the paneer naan (flatbread stuffed with homemade cheese and cilantro). Avoid the tap water.

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