Next stop was Lisbon, Portugal! I was excited to visit Lisbon since it meant warmer weather even in December! Sure enough, the weather was beautiful. Getting from the airport to the city is also very easy by metro. We changed lines once and we were in the Baixa district. We got out of the metro and was at the Figueira Square. The Baixa district is the city center and actually relatively new as it was reconstructed after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. Today, they are known for their earthquake-resistant architecture. The city itself is actually one of the oldest in Western Europe
Transport is relatively simple in Lisbon. Other than the metro, trams seem to be the most useful transportation. We only used the metro to go to and from the airport. The rest of the time, we walked or took a tram. The city itself is quite small, so you can get around by walking or taking a tram. The only precaution for walking is that the streets can get very steep! That’s when you want to take a tram. Lisbon really reminded me of a European San Francisco. Cable cars, steep streets, and sunny weather! We stayed at the Hostel4U in the Baixa district, which I highly recommend. My mom was worried when I told her we were staying at a hostel, but I had booked a 3 bed private room, and she was so happy with it! We had individual single beds, a private bathroom, and individual lockers. Each morning, we would also get a complimentary breakfast buffet, which had the basic bread, ham, cheese, yogurt, fruits, and cereal. It even had a coffee machine that made lattes and cappuccinos. The total for one night in a 3 bed private room was only 49 euros, so definitely not bad since you also cut the breakfast costs. Extremely new and clean hostel!
Our hostel was located on Rua da Madalena, and I had asked the reception where to eat. He gave me three coupons to this restaurant 3 blocks down, saying we would get three drinks for free. Off we went, but we were surprised to see that the restaurant was completely empty. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant and I can’t seem to find it online either. Anyways, we went in since we were starving, and the man gave us an English menu. We went for two tourist set menus, and one main entree. The tourist set menus came with a salad, entree, dessert and a drink. After ordering, he placed a plate of Croquettes on our table. We were confused and thought they were complementary. I’ve had croquettes back in Barcelona, so I found these to be terrible compared to the ones in Spain. They were burnt and cold! And to top it off, they were added to our bill, and they weren’t cheap. Be aware!
Fish is highly consumed in Portugal. We were recommended the Cod Fish Rice, which was the best dish at this restaurant. Cod or bacalhau is the main type of fish that’s eaten in Portugal. Basically, it was like fried rice with shredded cod mixed with egg. It was so good!
My mom wanted to try the Portuguese Grilled Pork since it’s popular in Macau, and the cuisine in Macau really originates from Portugal. However, we were very disappointed in the pork. The pork was thin but so overcooked. It was tough and I felt like I was chewing on plastic. The fries were also sort of weird, although they looked fresh cut.
Lastly, we had the Curry Chicken with Rice, which was decent. Portuguese curry reminds me of the curry we get at HK-style cafes. My mom loves her Asian food, so I found that the flavours of Portuguese cuisine to be very acceptable for her, compared to other European cuisines, which may be strong in dairy.
For dessert, we had the choice of seasonal fruit or Creme Brulee. The seasonal fruit were literally cut up fruits that were in this mini fridge… I have no idea how fresh those were, so I went for the Creme Brulee. It was torched and I honestly thought it tasted disgusting… Didn’t finish it, but I was full from my meal already anyways. We even packed up some food for later. All in all, I wouldn’t recommend coming here. The service was decent even though we were the only diners and the man was pretty friendly. I couldn’t get over how he ripped us off on the croquettes though, but I hear this happens a lot in Europe anyways. Food was just average. We would soon find much better and cheaper food!