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Jun 11, 2010 02:51 AM

Lisbon restaurants incorporating ex-colonial tastes?

I know there are Cape Verdean, or Goan, or Angolan or Brazilian restaurants in Lisbon, but I was also wondering if there are any interesting places that are integrating some of the flavors of these ex-colonies into their cuisine. Furthermore I was wondering how prevalent dishes from these places are at ordinary Portuguese restaurants: for example in New York I have sometimes seen curry dishes at Portuguese restaurants, and I was wondering if this was also common in Portugal.

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  1. Interesting question! The dish that springs to mind is "chicken piri-piri" which is a staple dish now all over Portugal, but originates in Angola. I think the whole of the Portuguese cuisine has been influenced over the centuries by their travels and ex-empire. Take the custom of stirring your coffea with a stick of cinamon... I think you can find this influence in most dishes and every restaurant you walk in, through the spices and the marinades. Did you know for example that the chili pepper is a native plant from South America and was brought to Europe, India and Africa by Portuguese traders?

    2 Replies
    1. re: monchique

      Thanks for the response, monchique. Very interesting info. One question: what about restaurants that are more self-consciously incorporating flavors of the diaspora, not things like piri-piri or cinnamon that have long been a part of Portuguese cuisine, but newer flavors that haven't been a part of the cuisine for so long?

      1. re: tjdnewyork

        Sorry I had missunderstood your question. I have not yet found a restaurant that mixed the flavours of Portuguese "traditional" with other cuisines of the ex-colonies. No "fusion" cuisine that I ever encountered. Curry is not really a Portuguese favorite, and strangely enough neither are Chinese or Japanese cuisines in spite of the old ties... Maybe Vinhotinto will have an opinion!

    2. I live a good part of the year in Lisbon and have the fortunate opportunity to commute to Brazil, the USA, and other parts of the globe (Europe and Africa) on a regular basis.

      While I understand your question, I have to agree with Monchique. Portuguese diners and chefs are indeed "cosmopolitan" (due to the history of the Portuguese Empire and experience of emigration), but they tend to refrain from using the "ingredient of the month" as might happen in North America or London. One might argue that Portuguese cuisine is indeed the most globally diverse of the European cuisines.

      I have very strong ties to the Cape Verdean and PALOP (Countries of the Official Portuguese Language of Africa) communities in Portugal, and still cannot think of any restaurants that reflect the North American or fusion models. Yet , if your are looking for Cape Verdean, Angolan, or food from Goa, let me know. I know many of these places...

      I must admit that I have been thinking quite a bit about Lusophone food and the role that the Diaspora has played withing the menus and tastes in the metropolis. I would enjoy continuing the conversation.

      3 Replies
      1. re: vinhotinto75

        Thanks for that info, both of you. We are headed to Lisbon soon and I've been searching out some of those ethnic restaurants, both because Lisbon seems like it offers an unusual array of other cuisines and also because we spent some time in Cape Verde and would like to try some Cape Verdean food again and hear some mourna. I have another Lisbon question that I guess I should ask in a separate post because it's kind of unrelated. If you have a chance to take a look at that it would be much appreciated.

        1. re: tjdnewyork

          Let me know if you would like a list of Cape Verdean places. One place that is worth going to is Casa da Morna in Alcântara. One of the owners, Tito Paris, is an INCREDIBLE musician and often plays here when he is not on tour and such. The food and wine is also very good.

          Checking the website below, it seems like he plays on Thursday's (quinta feira).

          Boa Viagem!

          1. re: vinhotinto75

            Great, thanks, know his music--will check the place out.