There is no single word in English to translate ´petiscos´. You may see them in Portuguese restaurant menus as appetizers, snacks or as finger foods, but petiscos are so much more than that!
Petiscos are so significant in the Portuguese food culture, that it even exists the verb petiscar, which could mean ´to eat petiscos´. In fact, petiscar is going out with friends for food and drinks. It’s similar with hanging out, but here there’s food along the way. Actually, petiscar means having fun and sharing in a pretty tasty way!
At its most basic “petisco” is having a small bite but considering knowledge, tricks, and tips behind its preparation. This is because small bites pack a powerful punch when it comes to “petiscos”.
Petiscos: what are they?
Petiscos are some small, but shareable plates of traditional dishes that are normally cheaper than main courses and they are influenced by the region. For instance, petiscos in the Algarve region are different than those in Porto or Coimbra. Moreover, along the coast, petiscos are made more from seafood (so you can find steamed shellfish), while in the central and eastern areas of Portugal meals are more determined by the land (so cheeses and meats are common “snacks” around here).
Some petiscos recipes appear on many menus across Portugal
Petiscos are the perfect reason to share some time with your friends, when you are looking for some delicious dishes and for meals and conversations that last for several hours around the table.
Similar to tapas from Spain, the petiscos in Portugal are a great way to try several typical recipes. Most of the time, you can order various petiscos that you can share, while you enjoy a good Portuguese beer or a bottle of wine.
Photo: Typical Portuguese food. Francesinha.