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Did you know? - Portuguese cuisine influence on the rest of the world

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Did you know? - Portuguese cuisine influence on the rest of the world


Written by  Staff Writer
Wednesday, 02 August 2017 02:11

Portugal formerly had a large empire and the cuisine has been influenced in both directions. The Persian orange, grown widely in southern Europe since the 11th century, was bitter. Portuguese traders brought sweet oranges from India to Europe in the 15th century.

Some South East Indo-European tongues name orange after Portugal, which was formerly its main source of imports. Examples are Bulgarian portokal , Greek  portokali, Persian porteghal, and Romanian portocală.

Also in South Italian dialects (Neapolitan), orange is named portogallo  or purtualle, literally "the Portuguese ones". Related names can also be found in other languages: Turkish Portakal, Arabic al-burtuqal, Amharic birtukan, and Georgian phortokhali.

From Asia Portuguese imported spices, like cinnamon, now liberally used in its traditional desserts. Also the Portuguese "canja", a chicken soup made with rice and a popular food therapy for the sick, shares similarities with the Asian congee, used in the same way, suggesting it may have come from the East.

Tea was made fashionable in Britain in the 1660s after the marriage of King Charles II to the Portuguese  princess Catherine of Braganza, who brought her liking for tea, originally from the colony of Macau, to the court.

A Portuguese influence is strongly evident in Brazilian cuisine, which features its own versions of Portuguese dishes such as feijoada  and caldeirada (fish stew). Other Portuguese influences can be tasted in the Indian province of Goa, where Goan cuisine dishes such as vindaloo show the pairing of vinegar and garlic, and also Macanese cuisine.

In 1543 Portuguese trade ships reached Japan and introduced refined sugar, valued there as a luxury good. Japanese lords enjoyed Portuguese confectionery so much it was remodeled in the now traditional Japanese kompeito candy, kasutera sponge cake, keiran somen  version of Portuguese "Fios de ovos" (also popular in Thai cuisine under the named "Kanom Foy Tong"), creating the Nanban-gashi, or "New-Style Wagashi". During this Nanban trade period, Tempura was introduced to Japan by early Portuguese missionaries.

All over the world, Portuguese immigrants influenced the cuisine of their new "homelands" like Hawaii and parts of New England. Portuguese sweet bread or pão doce, malassadas, bean soup (sopa de feijão), and sausages (linguiça, chouriço) are eaten regularly in the Hawaiian islands by families of all ethnicities.

In Australia, variants of 'Portuguese style' chicken, sold principally in fast food outlets, have become extremely popular in the last two decades. In South Africa “Portuguese style” chicken gave birth to the “Nandos” chicken brand – as a taste of Portugal.


All over the world, there are many "Portuguese style" offerings include conventional chicken dishes, as well as a variety of burgers. It would appear that in some cases, such as 'Portuguese chicken sandwiches', the dishes offered bear only a loose connection to Portuguese cuisine and the connection is made simply as a marketing technique.



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