We got you tipsy on Thirsty Thursday, now let’s get some food in your belly. On Foodie Friday we’ll serve up a big portion of local fare from around the globe as our special way of tiding you over until you can get out and take a bite out of our delicious planet.
Porto, Portugal is known as the birthplace of port, the syrupy sweet wine best paired with desserts. However, the city is also home to a signature sandwich called francesinha, a thousand-calorie-plus dish that is so heavy it’s taken decades for it to move away from Northern Portugal.
As the story goes, the idea for the francesinha was cooked up by a French migrant who wanted to adapt the croque-monsieur to suit the Portuguese palate – hence the name “francesinha,” which roughly translates to “little French girl.” Said migrant accomplished his goal by loading the French staple with steak, ham, and sausage.
And then melting more cheese on top of it.
And then balancing the sandwich on a bed of fries.
And then dousing the whole thing in a piping hot sauce made with beer and tomatoes.
This epic take on the basic ham and cheese sandwich is a matter of pride for the residents of Porto, where the dish has remained a local delicacy and recipes for the signature red gravy have been kept under lock and key at every francesinha restaurant. And while you can find various francesinha recipes online, this is one dish that is best prepared by a local in the traditional setting. Luckily, several people have compiled lists of the best francesinha restaurants in Porto (like this one) so when you step off the plane you can head straight to a gut-busting taste test.
Thanks to globalization the francesinha has started popping up in Brazil, but it remains a true taste of Northern Portugal that should not be missed when visiting Porto. Unless, of course, you’re at risk for a heart attack. Then by all means, order a salad.
Photo courtesy of Ewan-M via Flickr (CC BY-SA 3.0)