Portugal, now one of our favorite countries to visit in Europe, has some incredible seafood delicacies. One of which my kids will never forget!
Percebes, pronounced PER-CE-BES and also known as Goose Barnacles, are crustaceans that live and grow on rocks in the Atlantic ocean. Widely consumed in Portugal as well as Spain, we were excited to be able to try these expensive little creatures for the first time. We were told the best place to eat goose barnacles was in Portugal.
During our private tour with Selection Tours, we stopped at a wonderful family-owned and managed restaurant in Almocageme called Adraga Restaurante. The owner, Jorge, had a table already set up for us with the most beautiful views of the ocean. As we sat and ordered our fresh seafood for the day, along came a plate of percebes!
Percebes are considered a delicacy in this part of Europe. Divers make dangerous expeditions to scrape the shells off the sides of cliffs that plunge deep into the sea bed. The ones we ate in Sintra, overlooking the ocean left us wanting more…we got our wish in Lisbon, where we ate at the popular Cervejaria Pinoquio, with its entrance aquarium loaded with live fish and crabs. They’re best steamed and served piping hot table-side; there’s an aroma of the sea as the plate is placed in front of you. Briny like lobsters.
Snap off the neck and a spray of ocean hits your chest and drips down your hand and your shirt. You need a bib and a finger bowl with this dish. A traveler’s stick of Tide wouldn’t hurt either.
Barnacles are exotic and their appearance takes some getting used to, no doubt about it. Just like the first time you plunge into escargots. Or, pig’s ears for that matter. I told my best friend about my experience and she said, “Wow, that’s something!”
And, they’re definitely something to talk about at my next dinner party, but I don’t think I’ll try the ones in Long Beach.