Time Out For An Octopus Hot Dog!

When Lori and I first started discussing our move to Portugal I had the idea that I wanted to immerse myself into the culture as much as possible. You know, get the full experience, and connect with Portuguese people and learn about their culture. A part of discovering the culture I was looking forward to was to try the food. I like to eat (understatement) and I love seafood. I knew that Portugal has depended on the bordering Atlantic Ocean to provide a steady supply of fish, shrimp, clams, and other types of seafood throughout its existence, so I was sure looking forward to trying some of the local recipes.

After moving here, I searched for authentic Portuguese dishes and found that cod is a main ingredient in many recipes. I also found that grilled sardines are a common delicacy. Among the other sea creatures consumed in Portugal, there is one I hadn’t considered, and that is octopus. I noticed that octopus in some form or another was on the menu of many restaurants. Putting that in the back of my mind and towards the bottom of my bucket list I have tried more traditional seafood offerings, especially cod (bacalhau) since arriving.

Lori and I were visiting Lisbon recently and one of our favorite places to eat is the Time Out Market. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it is one of the major attractions in Lisbon for foodies because it has about 36 kitchens and kiosks with offerings from the best chefs and restaurants in Portugal, including some Michelin star chefs, under one roof.

As we made our way around the perimeter and looked at the menus, I saw an offering of an octopus hot dog at Sea Me At The Market restaurant. Whoa, now that got my attention. Of all the ways to eat octopus I never imagined it as a hot dog. My curiosity piqued, I walked up to the stall and looked to see if they were preparing one. Sure enough the cooks were busy churning out the hot dogs as fast as they could make them. The dish consists of a regular hot dog bun with a grilled octopus tentacle lying in the middle of a bed of arugula and slice of tomato, with a creamy white sauce drizzled across the top. Good enough for me! I decided to try one.

After putting my order in and getting my notification puck I sat down at a table nearby and there just happened to be a couple of young men from New York sitting across from me preparing to eat their octopus hot dogs. I asked them if they had eaten them before and they said no but were excited to have the chance to try it. They each had a pint of the local draft beer, Super Bock, to drink with their meal, which is my go to beer since I have been in Portugal (more on beverage preferences in another post). After the first bite into their hot dogs they were quite pleased with the taste and proceeded to consume them at as leisurely of a pace as a hungry young man can go.

When my puck started flashing blue lights and vibrating on the table I felt a surge of excitement for my new adventure in food. I picked my order up and there lie what would be my first taste of octopus, oddly enough prepared as a hot dog. As I looked it over I noticed a bonus, not one, but two tentacles on my hot dog. Yippee!

I took my seat at the table and Lori, who had been waiting for a dish from another restaurant showed up with two drinks, a Super Bock for me and a Sangria for her (she has become quite the Sangria fan since discovering it recently as a common beverage offering in Portugal).

My hot dog was set on a small white platter with some regular potato chips strewn alongside. I took my first bite of the hot dog and the octopus was still hot from the grill, mild in flavor and fairly tender, not rubbery at all, which is what I kind of expected. The sauce was mild with a slight smoky, almost chipotle, taste and complemented the flavor of the octopus well. All in all, coupled with the beer, it was a very good meal and I enjoyed it enough to try octopus again in other recipes.

As a matter of fact, Lori and I have planned a trip to Santa Luzia, a quaint little town about a 40-minute walk from our apartment in Tavira, known as the octopus capital of Portugal. Please join us on my next Heygo tour as we walk along the boardwalk exploring the small town of Santa Luzia before stopping in at Casa Do Polvo, Tasquinha (Tavern Octopus House) where I will be trying one of their signature octopus dishes.


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