The story of the must-try Portuguese "Francesinha"

Chrisa Lepida | Live the World

September 19, 2022

If you have ever traveled to Portugal, it is highly probable that while looking for some food suggestions, you read (literally in every menu) , or heard about their “must-try” local delicacy, the Francesinha.

For the ones already familiar with this plate, I’d like to clarify that the Francesinha is not a plate that the Portuguese eat all day long, and of course it’s not recommended as a daily habit (you’ll understand why, keep reading!).

The literally translated “little Frenchie”, has its origins in the 50’s and 60’s, when during Portugal’s dictatorship millions of Portuguese people migrated to France. Many years later and when they were sent home, influenced by the french culture, the Portuguese took the croque monsieur to their hearts.

Daniel David da Silva, who had worked for several years in Belgium and France, invented the francesinha as an alternative to the croque-monsieur. It is said that he named it like this, because of his huge admiration for the liberal French women, the most “spicy” of his time.

So what does that famous Francesinha include?

Well, don’t get scared, I’m not gonna lie to you, it’s heavy.…

In a few words it’s a toasted bread layered with pork, smoked sausage, bacon, beefsteak and topped with a fried egg and cheese. Yes, all of those together. At the same time it is served with fries and a local spicy sauce usually made of tomato, beer and spices.

This plate can be found all over Porto, where it’s actually a cultural thing, and it costs more or less 6 to 7 euros. Even if you don’t manage to finish it, well, trust me, it’s worth trying it!


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