This post was originally written for my old travel blog Dream Explore Wander on 1 August 2013.
When people come to the small city of Porto in Portugal, most expect a unique gastronomic experience. For that matter they are definitely in the right city. Located near the sea, Porto offers a wide range culinary delights that will spoil you rotten. With so many cafes and restaurants, all boasting to bring the best Portuguese food, I sometimes feel overwhelmed and it’s easy to land in an over-priced restaurant with only standard quality meal.
I was of course over the moon when I found out about Taste Porto Food Tours run by a local, André. There is nothing I love more than knowing a city guided by a local who knows the city best. Even better with André is that he knows where all the amazing places to eat that us newcomers wouldn’t know.
In Porto, to find authentic Portuguese food, you will have to go directly to its talented locals. Beyond the beautifully-tiled churches and gorgeous narrow alleys, you will start to smell onions being fried and the aroma of sardines filling your nose, making your mouth water. There are so many different kind of cuisines in Portugal and I find the cuisines to be different than that of other parts of western Europe remembering the different culture influences. More spices are used, more flavours are combined – the Portuguese are ones that are brave with taste and are not afraid to spice up their meal.
When I met André, the weather was cool, oddly cloudy for a summer day in Portugal. Nevertheless, his friendliness overcame the clouds and the typical welcoming face of a Portuguese could be seen from him. His excitement of the food we were about to taste got me drooling even before we went to our first stop. I couldn’t wait to eat my way through Porto!
The tour included several stops, all has its own uniqueness. The tour started with a crunchy savoury and sweet pastry, I thought I died and went to pastry haven. Recovering from my pastry haven moment, André took us around parts of the town that I have yet to discovered, explaining interesting history and sharing us some of his favourite spots in town. The next place was a quaint little restaurant in a narrow cobblestone street who served us the best burger with juicy meat mixed with amazing herbs and sparkling red wine. It was divine. The staff there was so friendly, they even let me play their piano!
After tasting the pastry and burger, I thought things couldn’t get any better. In the next stop we tasted sardines, a favourite in Porto, and also a delicious sausage, alheira, made from a mixed of different meat, such as rabbit and duck, wrapped in pig’s intestines. I was hesitant at first but the new flavour touched my tongue and I loved it. Red and rose wine were also served, can I get more spoiled than this?
Before heading to see one of the most beautiful views of Porto, André gave us a sugar push with an eclair. I am a big fan of eclairs, and I have to say that it was one of the best eclairs with soft cream and sweet chocolate. I couldn’t be more happier than that.
After seeing the most stunning view of Porto, I was showed a small shop who sells local Portuguese food. One of my favourites was the chouriço eaten with corn bread. So good.
At the end of the tour, I felt like I know the local’s secret places to eat. And not only that, I also felt like I made some friends. It’s easy to make friends with the Portuguese, they are the most friendly people I know and their hospitality is so genuine, I feel instantly like at home.
If you’re in Porto, I definitely recommend this Taste Porto Food Tours. André knows Porto very well, he knows the best place to enjoy true Portuguese food and he will introduce to some of the nicest people I know.
Hopefully you will be able to experience Porto and fall in love in the most extraordinaire way like I did.
I was a guest of Taste Porto Food Tours however all opinions are my own.