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Porto Food Tour

Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal’s rugged and lively second city, is made to order for a food tour. Following a local foodie guide, we visit a half-dozen artisan shops and fill up on Portuguese taste treats — trendy tins of seafood, fluffy sausage bread, smoked ham, octopus salad, stewed chicken gizzards, and vinho verde.

Complete Video Script

In Portugal, the city of Porto's traditional market manages to survive in spite of competition from modern shopping malls. This is a great place to wander, especially in the morning, to take in the sights, sounds, and smells of real-world Porto.

For the best understanding of the local food scene, we're taking a food tour.

Andre: Welcome to Taste Porto Food Tour's Vintage Food Tour. My name is Andre. I'm going to be your tour guide today, trying to show you the best of Porto's gastronomy, sprinkling it with a bit of history, architecture, and culture.

Food tours are popular throughout Europe for travelers who want to learn about the culture through its cuisine. With Andre as our guide, we'll enjoy a series of tasty stops. First up, the seafood section, and Portugal's most famous fish, the sardine.

Andre: Okay. The main difference between a tiny and a fully grown one. As you can see, tiny one, you can eat from head to tail after you fry it, which I love — skin to bone, don't waste anything there. Okay? This is the mama. Fat content is crucial. If you want a good sardine, it has to be like this because the fat content will keep all of the flavors in when you grill them. Look at those eyes, shiny and bright. They're going to be delicious.

Next, we head to a shop with every type of seafood imaginable but served only in tin cans. All artfully displayed.

Andre: This shop over here is owned by the Portuguese Association of the Can Industry. Here, you'll find over 19 brands with over 300 different products from sardines to codfish, sea bass, sea [?], tuna fish, eels, lamprey, octopus, squid, mussels. It's fish, it's in a can, they got it. Today, you're going to sample here two of my favorite ones. First of all, this one over here. This, in Portuguese, we call it pica. It's actually a tiny needle fish. It's less fatty than a sardine. It has been canned with olive oil and chili peppers and to go along with it, mackerel in tomato sauce. To hydrate yourself also, a glass of vinho verde. At last, wine. Once again, as I taught you a while ago: Anosa.
Group: Anosa.

Who knew? Vinho verde is the perfect match for picas with chili peppers and mackarel. Next, we walk a few blocks to one of the oldest shops in the market area.

Andre: Welcome to Mercearia do Bolhão. This shop opened in 1896, back then working as a grocery store, cafe, and bakery. The wealthiest families of Porto came over here for a cup of coffee or a cup of tea before heading to the market. If you look around you, you'll see wine, spices, coffee beans, cheese, ham, codfish, fruit, vegetables, and even bread that is delivered here daily. For you today, this is folar. Folar is wheat and olive oil bread with bacon and sausage baked in. It's fluffy, savory, and sweet, fantastic combination. Light bread that actually was delivered here this morning.

So light, I think I'll have one more piece.

Andre: Actually, this is one of my favorite neighborhoods.

Nearby, in the medieval part of town, we try some Porto pub grub.

Andre: Welcome to Tasca. This is a farm-to-table tavern in which you'll find here products just like smoked ham. This smoked ham leg’s aged for 24 months made out of special breed of pork called Bísaro, which only exists in the north of the country. You can have it already pre-sliced for you as well. You can find a lot more stuff in taverns like this. For instance, the octopus salad with a lot of olive oil, green and red bell peppers, delicious, fresh. Here, one of my favorites. Stewed chicken gizzards and tomato sauce and chili pepper. So, they're really hot, as I say. And, to go along with all of this, you're going to drink sparkling rosé vinho verde. So, light and bubbly to help it go down and to keep your palate wide awake. So, bom apetite. Enjoy.

An interesting variety of simple foods well prepared, and with refreshing local wine. That's what food tours are all about. Food tours. They're happening all over Europe. It's a great way to get to know the culture, have a lot of fun, get some exercise, and have a meal at the same time.