I have recently been on a weekend away with my mummy friends. A weekend city break to Lisbon. No kids, no husbands, just us gals and two whole days of freedom. Our only fixture for the weekend was a food tour in Lisbon with FoodieBookings. Other than that, the weekend was ours.
The secret food tour in Lisbon was scheduled for the Saturday lunchtime. After a leisurely breakfast, we set off to explore Lisbon as we made our way to meet Luciana our FoodieBookings tour guide.
Lisbon is a fantastic city. It’s been a revelation. Lisbon is not as beautiful as Paris. It’s not like Rome, dripping with history. But what Lisbon has is a vibrancy and it’s popping with creative energy.
Discovering hidden gems with the secret food tour in Lisbon
Lisbon is a city made for walking. The streets are narrow and winding, old-fashioned yellow trolley cars hurtle past as you attempt to negotiate the ankle-breaking cobbles. Don’t bother with heels in Lisbon, unless you want a trip to A&E.
We were continually distracted by cute boutiques selling vintage clothes, recycled jewellery, artworks and ceramics. And of course, the shop that sold nothing but plastic ducks.
With only twelve minutes left until we had to meet Luciana, we picked up our pace and power walked what seemed like a never-ending hill. Perhaps I missed the memo. But Lisbon is built on seven incredibly steep hills. So steep that steps have been cut into the pavement. And when your legs give way, there are funiculars to help your ascent.
Arriving a little late, hot, sweaty and out of breath, we were ready to be shown the secret foodie delights of Lisbon. And for the next three hours, we ate.
The secret food tour in Lisbon with Foodie Bookings
The first stop in the secret food tour in Lisbon was an indoor market. Not the now hugely famous Time Out food market, no, this market is for locals.
We started our foodie tour with a selection of delicious breads, olives, goats and sheeps cheese, smoked ham and fig and pumpkin jam.
Alongside this, we had the Portuguese snacks, rissois de camarao – shrimp patties, and lupin beans. Yup, the beans from the lupin plant which are eaten as a snack. And to drink, we sampled Portuguese green wine. Not green as in the colour, but green as in it is a young wine, with a slight fizz. Actually very nice and incredibly refreshing.
Next stop on the tour was to gobble pastel de natas from an award-winning bakery. Apparently, this was the three-times award-winner for the best pastel de nata in the universe. The pastel de nata I sampled was better than any I have tasted. Any other pastel de nata is now going to pale in comparison.
Pace yourself as you eat your way through the city
Little did we realise but we had another two eateries to visit.
We heaved ourselves across the Jardim da Parada to try some Portuguese pork dishes – croquettes from the cachaço (shoulder meat) and satay da Beatriz with the satay sauce. The vegetarian option was called açorda de tomate e coentros, a mix of bread, tomato and coriander combined together with a raw egg. A very traditional Portuguese side dish, and perhaps an acquired taste.
How was the Foodie Booking experience?
What I really enjoyed about the Foodie Booking experience was that I was able to discover a part of Lisbon I may not have got to see.
I got to try Portuguese food that would have passed me by. I’d never have thought to try lupin beans, chocolate covered olives or green wine.
I hadn’t appreciated that we were going to visit four places, and sample food and drink at each, otherwise, I would have paced myself. But funnily enough, I managed to find room for the clams.
But what made this tour special was our guide, Luciana. Luciana personalised the tour for us so there were enough vegetarian options at each eating stop. And because I am interested in buying Portuguese ceramics (I’ve got a thing for Portuguese cabbage pottery) and Luciana ended our tour at a ceramics shop.
As well as that, Luciana suggested a spot for Sunday brunch, again another place I may not have got to see.
The LX Factory is a hipster spot, a former fabric factory which has transformed itself into a cool spot to hang out with markets, restaurants, bars, it’s the true embodiment of Lisbon’s creative vibe.
If you are heading to Lisbon, then drop Luciana a line, and book yourself on to a foodie experience in Lisbon.
The Lisbon Secret Food Tour starts at 60 euros per person.