Cooking Portugal

Cooking Portugal

Sardines, 6 things your need to know

Portuguese sardines? Grilled? Festivities? Canned? Some of the questions you will find in this article that makes Portugal and Portuguese the major consumer of sardines worldwide.

Portugal has more than 900 km of coastline with the Atlantic Ocean and strongly connects with water. From the Age of Discoveries till now, the Portuguese love to be near water for several motives.

Gastronomy, white sandy beaches, amazing sights and of course the amazing weather all year. Each beach will have a bar or restaurant licensed and they have the responsibility to fave a life safeguard. Anyway, you will find sardines in specific months (at least fresh) even on the interior, due to the dimension of the country.
Grilled Sardines, Portugal

1. Where to eat grilled sardines?

You will be able to eat grilled sardines almost in every restaurant (except vegetarians, vegans, or specialized in meat). It is common for the typical Portuguese restaurant to have this option on the menu.

2. Why are sardines a big deal in Portugal?

Besides the Portuguese coastline and Portuguese traditions, locals are the highest consumers of fresh fish, you will find it on the major festivities of the main cities: Lisbon and Porto. Saint Anthony is Lisbon´s patron saint and festivities took place in June.

Some of the streets in the Portuguese capital are close and the major spots are Alfama, Graça, Mouraria, Martim, and Castle. During one of Saint Anthony’s expeditions he was not converting people, so he started to speak to the fish. According to the legend the fish listened to his sermon and he had the perception that it was a sign of God. Nowadays, grilled sardines with a slice of bread are the stars of these festivities.

3. Are there people that don´t like sardines?

Yes! There are people that prefer to eat some grilled meat or just because of the fish bones. However, we believe that they are in small number. During the last years, there were also some restrictions for fisherman, reducing the season that the species could grow. Restrictions were to reduce from 15 days to 1 month (depending on the year) of the fishing season.

4. Is there any way to eat sardines?

Yes! Portugal has a huge industry of fish canned. The major canned fish is tuna, however, you will find also sardines, horse mackerel, cuttlefish, among other options. You will find canned fish in any supermarket but also houses specialized on menus besides tapas concepts.

5. What are the best months to eat sardines in Portugal?

Sardines are similar to oysters in what relates to the season. Think on months without R and you eat for sure fresh sardines in Portugal. The months are May, June, July, August. Ordering besides this months you will get frozen sardines, with less quality.

6. What to drink with sardines?

You should drink something fresh, we highly advise you white wine fresh or beer if you prefer. If you don’t drink wine or beer, ask for water.

In conclusion, sardines and grilled sardines are huge things in Portugal. During the season you will get some fat, juicy and flavorful taste of this amazing fish. Taste them grilled or canned, but always taste the flavors during your trip to Portugal.

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