the day ends, and you meet your lovely new host. a lovely dinner. 2 mattresses on the ground. you are so thankful to be able to participate in couchsurfing.
top left: confeitaria nacional. serving pastries since 1829.
top right: a guardanapo. literally napkin. basically a piece of sweet cake/bread with a layer of cream and then folded into half. yumm.
bottom left: an austriacos. something that has origins in austria. you’ve already forgotten all the details…
bottom right: scone simples. exactly what it sounds like. a scone, portuguese style.
but. on the way, you pause at a famous bakery in belem.
oh, it is worth it. absolutely worth getting off the train and stopping for a bit to grab lunch and a bite. but not for this specific pastry, which was very good in it’s own right, but for the next one.
the pastel de nata or pastéis de belém. it all started in 1837. you think you’ve had egg custard tarts before? you’re right. you only thought you did. even if these are a staple in taiwan/china and dim sum restaurants in america and so you’ve had at least over 100 in your life, what you taste here in belem is just incomparable. it’s that good. the dough – crunchy, flaky, buttery, but it’s not the normal puff pastry you were expecting. it’s something that words can’t describe, only a trip out to belém will suffice. and while this pastry is available everywhere in portugal, the birthplace is where it’s really at.
belém also has a huge unesco heritage monastery. and a tower. and all sorts of important things. but you kind of skip it because you need to make sure you have enough time to go to the beach… so while the historical sites are more important and what you really should have visited, the beach and pastries make you much happier.
you head back for some dinner.
and… it isn’t portuguese. you stray. it’s called tamarind. that’s right, it’s indian. you go in with no expectations. and you’re blown away. you’ve never had indian done this well, because what you usually have are the buffets… but here, the chef himself comes out and explains that he doesn’t like relying on tons of spices, he focuses instead on taste.
one more day in lisbon. then back to porto and back to la france.