After our big sightseeing day yesterday, Hubs and I were at a loss as to what to see. There was so much to see yet, we did not feel the mood, our time being constrained by flights Hubs had to catch. Hubs and I are very fortunate. We have both seen so much of Europe that it is okay if we skip the odd cathedral. Without wanting to offend historians, seen fifty, pretty much seen them all. The main sights I might have chosen to visit was the Jeronimos Monastery and a modern art museum (name escapes me but showcases the art collection of a Pirtuguese billionaire) in Belem. But we weren’t in the mood for a revisit to Belem 15 km away. Instead we opted for an atmospheric walking tour of our own.
I think this had been prompted by our dinner last night. As we went in search of food, wandering around the backstreets of Chiado, we came across this open air dining option lined along the passageways, like a village dinner. With lights hung in a zig zag manner and laundry hanging even higher, noise and drinking and laughter filled the air. There were many English voices to be heard and tourist faces to Ben seen. But what the heck, it was atmospheric and it reminded me of a village wedding meal I had as a child, where community came together to celebrate.
One thing I learnt about meals in Portugal is that the little starters that they bring to the table are not free. The bread, butter, tuna paste, cheese etc. we ate some and it adds a lot to the bill. Though charged separately, a bit of butter is €1, a bit of bread is €1 etc. Before you know it, a very tiny portion has cost you as much as a starter and is much less satisfying. A tourist trap, you can refuse the starters in the table. They will leave it there for a very long time to entice you to eat it.
So having checked our hotel, we wandered around. At around 11 am, Lisbon was pretty quiet. Clearly it’s residents are church going folks. Or, recovering from the night before. Whatever it is, Hubs and I wandered around pretty aimlessly. We stumbled upon a pasteleira and decided to try something new. Yum, so many things to eat, so little time.
We were curious and settled on the spikey yellow thing in the picture. Yes, that stalactite looking thing. Apparently it is made of creamed egg yolks with sugar, dipped in sugar syrup and coated with icing sugar. Get the picture? Anyway, it cost us a whopping €4.80 which I thought was very expensive but I guess they charge by weight. And yes, all that sugar weight adds up.
I bit into the thinner end of the dessert. That was a silly move. It meant I just ate into a lot of sugar and no egg. Anyway, finally went for the chunky bit. It was nice though very rich. I felt that I should be having black Chinese tea with this dessert to wash it down. The taste reminded me of Chinese moon cake with duck egg yoke. Nice in a small portion, this pastry is clearly meant to be shared by more than 2 people.
We ended up in the Time Out food market for a leisurely lunch. We were told of this place by our tuk tuk driver. It’s a great place to hang out. Once a market area, a section has been redeveloped into a high end food court. You get to try loads of foods from well know restaurants in Lisbon. It’s like a one stop shop. Mind you it does get expensive eating lots of small dishes but it’s well worth the experience. Hubs and I were there for a few hours working our way from cold starters to hit mains. It was fun to people-watch. The crowd moved in about 1.30 pm, and heaps of tourists and locals alike moved about the place looking for food and wine. Ah, the wine. I love it how it is so freely available in every shop and a wine bar to boot. And relatively cheap, too. There was a lively atmosphere of chatting and laughing and people enjoying life.