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Just what is a Portuguese breakfast?

A milky coffee: a key component of any Portuguese breakfast

What’s a typical Portuguese breakfast? In Ireland and Britain, Breakfast is traditionally a fry. In Turkey, breakfast is an elaborate affair that includes olives, meat, cheese, bread, and fresh vegetables. But even though there are plenty of references on the internet to a Portuguese breakfast – and I’m not just referring to the dirty 2005 movie Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo – breakfast in Portugal isn’t really a big thing.

Browse the recipe sites and you’ll find recipes for Portuguese breakfast burritos, bread, and casseroles. None of these things are readily available in Portugal, however. Those are all takes on the Hawaiian Portuguese breakfast, which is made up of Portuguese sausage, eggs, and rice.

In Portugal, breakfast is often just a milky coffee and a buttered slice of toast. It’s not the most important meal of the day: that’s probably lunch. It’s often not always the most important meal before lunch either, which might be the 11 am lanche da manhã.

Breakfast in Portugal can take place at the café or at home, but it could involve toast at either. These days, more and more people eat a healthier breakfast that might involve muesli, yogurt, fresh fruit – similar to what you might find in any western country.

If you’re visiting Portugal, though, you probably want to do what the locals do rather than what’s best for your body. If that’s the case, here are a few things to think about when putting together your breakfast.


A typical breakfast involves coffee, or at least a hot drink of some kind. Although espressos are drunk throughout the day, a breakfast coffee is usually milky. Popular coffee types include a galão or meia de leite. (You can read all about coffee in Portugal here.)

meia de leite – with some hipster artwork

Some people don’t have coffee, and just have a big glass of milk or chocolate milk instead. Others might have tea. The majority, though, have a milky coffee of some kind.


Although there isn’t a typical or most common type of Portuguese breakfast, if there was one it would probably be toast with butter (torrada com manteiga). Some people have jam instead of butter, and many people order a little bread roll (pãozinho) instead of toast.

One way that Portugal differs from other countries is that people often have what most non-Portuguese people would class as a lunchtime sandwich for breakfast. This is a ham or sliced cheese sandwich, or both, and it usually comes in either a bread roll or a savoury Portuguese croissant. If it comes in sliced pan, it’s often toasted. (For lunch, Portuguese people rarely have a sandwich but have a sit-down meal instead.)

Sandwiches and toasted sandwiches aren’t only eaten for breakfast in Portugal. You can order them as a snack throughout the day at the café.


Some people, particularly those that live in large towns or cities, might have a pastry or slice of cake for breakfast. Most pastelarias have at least ten different cakes that you can choose from, so be sure to try something other than just a pastel de nata (or as well as).

Have you had breakfast in Portugal? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below. 

The post Just what is a Portuguese breakfast? appeared first on Portugalist.

This post first appeared on Portugalist, please read the originial post: here

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Just what is a Portuguese breakfast?


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