In case you haven’t read it, this article is a follow-up on my previous article called “Portuguese fast-food: Francesinha“.
The name might not say much to you, but it identifies a very specific meat cut. It’s sort of a steak (“bife” in Portuguese), thinly cut from the leg of the pork. Do not confuse with the other two sorts of pork steak: “bife” is usually the thickest one and seldom used for pork, and “febra” is not quite as thin as the “bifana”.
But, away with etymology, the cut just doesn’t cut it in describing the juicy sandwiches that usually make up a “bifana”. The meat is prepared in a rich sauce, usually spicy, and is stuck into a bread roll, dipped or even sunk into the same sauce. If cooked properly, it melts into your mouth and leaves you with a symphony of flavours.
In Porto you can find the best specimens in “Conga“, a hotspot for a late meal (till 2 am on weekends).
But, towards the south, you will also find them to be originally claimed in Venda-Novas, which run a fierce competition with the ones in Montemor-o-Novo. Most of them are literally served by the national road, which makes for a perfect pit stop with a quick meal. As with “leitão“ in Bairrada, everyone has their favourite, but they all seem to please their guests 😉