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Dinner & Wine by Lusitano Portuguese Restaurant Singapore · Fascinating Introduction to Portuguese Cuisine

✍️ 25 Nov 2023. It's a very fruitful day for me today at the food & wine pairing, and sharing on Portuguese cuisine organised by the Portuguese embassy in Singapore.

We went home with a full stomach of wonderful Portuguese food and wine, and plenty of delicious food for thought.

It makes me hungry to try more Portuguese food and wine.

Our Portuguese food and wine pairing was prepared by chef Tiago Martins and his team from Lusitano Restaurant (located at City Gate, 371 Beach Road).

Renowned Portuguese culinary expert and prolific author M. Margarida Pereira-Muller presented the fascinating introduction to Portuguese cuisine.

The event was held at The Arts House. I hope they will have it every year 🤭 Food and culture enthusiasts must not miss this next year 🎗️

The area forming today's Portugal was settled by Celts (from west Europe) as well as Carthaginians (from north Africa), Greeks and Phoenicians (from east Mediterranean) from around 1200 BC.

The Lusitano tribe led by Viriatus resisted Roman expansion till he was killed by traitors in 139 BC. Lusitania became a province of the Roman Empire from 27 BC to 410 AD. Portugal was founded in 1143 on territory that was once Lusitania.

The technique of fish salting, for example, was one of the important legacies of Roman rule of Lusitania / Portugal.

Chef Tiago started us off with Roasted Capsicum and Sardine.

Paired with Cortinha Velha Alvarinho Extra Brut.

Second starter Codfish Cake.

I am new to salted codfish and I fell hard for it. I like its fine tender fibres and their gentle umami savoury flavour.

The codfish cake was paired with Venancio Costa Lima Rose Wine 2021.


Second main course of Shredded Codfish with Fries and Scrambled Egg. I love this dish. The dried codfish had a gentle savoury flavour which was complemented by sweetness from fries and egginess from the egg.

Dried salted codfish is the national dish of Portugal.

The Portuguese word for codfish as well as dried salted codfish is bacalhau. Bacalhau is a staple, an affordable source of protein, and is ubiquitous in Portuguese cuisine. Hence, bacalhau is nicknamed fiel amigo which means faithful friend.

Bacalhau first emerged in the 1500s when Portuguese fleets traversed the vast oceans across the world during the Age of Discovery, powered by wind and dried salted codfish. 

Some say there are 365 bacalhau dishes - one for each day of the year. Others say, there are 1001.

Chef Tiago paired the Shredded Codfish with Fries and Scrambled Egg with Manuel Correia Reserva Red Wine 2021.

Main course Octopus Rice or Arroz de Polvo.

Sweet umami savoury dish with flavours from rice, onion, octopus tentacle, etc.

Rice and rice dishes were brought to Portugal in the 8th century by Moorish settlers when the Iberian Peninsula (which includes Spain) was part of the Umayyad Empire.

Large scale rice cultivation in Portugal is a fairly recent development. The earliest documents on rice growing in Portugal go back only to the 18th century.

Arroz Doce means sweet rice in Portuguese. Today, the Portuguese eat 15 kilos of rice per person per year - the most rice per capita in the European Union.

The Octopus Rice was paired with Quinta de Lourosa Alvarinho White Wine 2020.

Third main course of Pork and Clams. We were fed very well 😀

Casa Ermelinda Leo d'Honor Red Wine 2015.

Dessert was what else..... but Portuguese egg tart.

My first thoughts were how does this taste compared to the Macau / Hong Kong / Singapore versions? 

The tart is relatively thick compared to say... those from Singapore's Tai Cheong. The pastry cup is the layered, flaky, puff pastry kind. The tart is baked till the top is browned and has burnt blotches. The moist creamy egg custard seemed to have vanilla added, I am not sure, and it is less eggy than the Asian counterparts. Chef also dusted the egg tarts with cinnamon powder. I love this creamy egg custard in the flaky crisp cup 😋

Venancio Costa Lima Moscatel Reserva 10 Years Dessert Wine.

At the end of all the eating, drinking and listening, we even had a quiz 😅

The winner had twice my score 😱 I have a lot, a lot to learn but I am revving to go eat, drink, and study Portuguese food and wine culture.

From left to right of photo - thank you José Costa (Deputy Head of Mission & Head of the Consular Section) from the Portuguese embassy for the marvellous event and invitation,  M. Margarida Pereira-Muller for the fascinating introduction to Portuguese cuisine, and chef Tiago Martins for the wonderfully delicious flavours of Portuguese food and wine.

This is just the beginning. Looking forward to explore and appreciate Portuguese cuisine more with chef Tiago Martins and his Lusitano Restaurant.

Written by Tony Boey on 26 Nov 2023

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