I was walking in downtown Lisbon not that long ago and the most amazing thing happened! As I approached Praça da Figueira I saw an enormous tent. And in that tent was food. So. Much. Food.
It was practically lunch time, so the Mercado da Baixa, as it’s called, was a serendipitous discovery. I barely knew which way to turn: everywhere I looked there was delicious food. The huge, oven-baked breads, fruit liqueurs and juices, jams, honey, cured meats and a huge variety of cheese were all simply too tempting for a foodie like me.
Naturally, I caved. I ordered a delicious presunto (a type of Portuguese “parma ham”) and queijo da serra (a strong, spreadable cheese from the mountains) sandwich on artisanal bread. This rich, appetizing sandwich tasted like, well, Portugal. I say this because these flavors are quintessentially Portuguese. They’re some of the flavors I miss the most when I’m abroad and the ones that I can’t get enough of when I go back. If I had this sandwich every day, it wouldn’t be too much.
I loved that once I had my sandwich and drink, I could just sit outside (there are indoor seats too) in a beautiful location, taking in the sunshine. With a statue of King João I to your right, the castle to your left, and delicious food in your hands (and belly), you can’t help but contemplate how wonderful your life is at that moment. If you happen to stumble upon the Mercado da Baixa, do yourself a favor and go inside.