Header image courtesy of @casa_lisboa (via Instagram)
It’s hardly news to point out that the Portuguese dining scene in Hong Kong is not nearly crowded as its next-door cousin in Macau, but that shouldn’t stop you from seeking out and indulging in the best of this underrepresented cuisine. With an emphasis on meat and seafood, vibrant spices, and copious amounts of garlic and olive oil, traditional Portuguese fare is first and foremost homey, epitomising rustic culinary excellence.
Further marked by fire and hearty flavours, the cuisine holds its own against the great culinary cultures of its neighbouring countries. From piri-piri chicken and seafood stews to flaky custard tarts, here are the best places to find Portuguese food in Hong Kong!
Between the wooden floor panels, navy blue furniture, and rustic, nautical décor, there is no mistaking that the cuisine served here belongs to the coastal capital of Lisbon. Since opening in 2010, Casa Lisboa has been consistently commended as a veritable destination for authentic Portuguese fare. Headed up by Chef Rodolfo Vicente from southern Portugal, the menu harks back to time-honoured traditional recipes perked up with subtle sparks of creativity.
Graze your way through small plates like codfish cakes ($145), garlic octopus ($185), and razor clams with lemon sauce ($168), before settling in for sumptuous mains like their signature slow-roasted suckling pig ($370) and Lisboa-style duck rice ($280). Wrap up your meal with the sweet and refreshing port wine drunken pear ($80), which tastes akin to a warm hug from the inside out.
Casa Lisboa, 2/F, Parekh House, 63 Wyndham Street, Central | (+852) 2905 1168
Perhaps one of the most recognisable and beloved staples of Portuguese cuisine is piri-piri chicken, a traditional grilled chicken dish basted with a fiery chilli sauce. The first restaurant in Hong Kong dedicated to piri-piri chicken, Flaming Frango’s exquisite take on the meaty Portuguese classic is worth a trip by itself.
Ensuring that every bite is unfailingly juicy and saturated with flavour, their chicken is soaked in a spicy herbal marinade for 24 hours before being grilled over an open flame to charred perfection. You can pick your preferred spice level and savour the poultry deliciousness on its own, or enjoy it in the form of burgers, wraps, and pita pockets!
Flaming Frango, Soho Central, 55 Elgin Street, Central | (+852) 2556 7555
Few places capture the soulful and homely essence of Portuguese cuisine better than Mike’s Chicken Comida de Portugal, where Portuguese owner and chef Michael Franco brings a slice of authentic Iberian coastal gastronomy to Hong Kong using family recipes that have been passed down through the generations.
Well-appointed yet relaxed, the interiors of the restaurant make for an inviting atmosphere to unwind with a glass of house-made sangria (starting from $65) and feast on the likes of piri-piri chicken ($198), salted cod fritters ($68), and braised oxtail ($195), and a Portuguese tapas platter (starting from $98), featuring a hearty spread of salted cod fritters, chorizo, calamari, and peixinhos da horta (fried green beans). A meal here cannot be complete without dessert, so do finish off with their award-winning Portuguese French toast ($68)!
Mike’s Chicken Comida de Portugal, Shop 167, L1 Mira Place Two, 118–130 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2392 3328
Set against a backdrop of sky-blue walls and tufted booths, this eatery in Times Square flaunts its culinary artistry in Macanese and Portuguese cuisine. Beyond the staples of duck rice ($148), roasted suckling pig ($198), and bacalhau cheese & potato balls ($78), you’ll also find interesting mash-ups like pork chop bun with chorizo & truffle cheese au gratin ($78) and Macanese squid balls with piri-piri sauce ($78).
If you need more convincing to make a visit, Café Terceira also doles out some of the tastiest Portuguese egg tarts ($14) in town, which come in both classic and adventurous flavours like orange, lemon, and coffee!
Café Terceira, Shop 1302, 13/F, Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay | (+852) 3101 9539
Not unlike the archipelago of islands that it’s named after, Azores has multiple branches spread across the city and is the only chain restaurant in Hong Kong focusing on Macanese-Portuguese fare. Coming from the same minds that brought us Café Terceira, you will find many of the same tasty signatures offered at its sister restaurant, starred alongside more contemporary offerings.
With new items regularly added to the menu, the choices are endless, but the must-tries are the roasted suckling pig with potato wedges ($198), African spring chicken with grilled vegetables & coconut piri-piri sauce ($158), and stir-fried clams with lemon, coriander & white wine ($128), served with garlic bread.
Whether you are looking to shop for authentic Portuguese foodstuffs or enjoy a sit-down meal, Vasco da Gama is at your service. This hidden gem in Sheung Wan is Hong Kong’s first original Portuguese shop, its interiors lined from floor to ceiling with cold cuts, wines, and cheeses all directly imported from Portugal.
But beyond just a grocery store, Vasco da Gama also has its own in-house chef preparing premium-quality Portuguese dishes, with a limited number of tables for dine-in customers. Meat-forward dishes like the codfish à brás or wine-marinated Iberian black pork steak are real specialities here, but their vegan-friendly spaghetti champignon mushroom with pesto sauce & white wine is no menu afterthought, either!
Vasco da Gama, Hua Qin International Building, Shop 2, 3 Lok Ku Road, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2915 6878
Note: Vasco da Gama is temporarily closed for renovation until September 2021.